One of the most widely recognized Gatlinburg Tennessee attractions is Ober Gatlinburg. It is situated above the bustle of the parkway and can be reached two ways. You can ride the Swiss-engineered tramway up the 2.2 miles to get there, or you can drive the distance on Ski Mountain road, then park in the large free parking area. Enter the tramway office on the Parkway near stoplight #9. The tramway ride provides an awesome 360-degree view in the newly remodeled tramcars, and runs all year round. It is a truly wonderful example of an engineering marvel, and the ride conductor recites many interesting facts about its construction, completion and maintenance. You almost feel as if you are floating above the clouds, and on some days, you actually are.
In winter, Ober Gatlinburg boasts eight ski trails ranging in difficulty. The majestic mountain views and beautifully maintained slopes provide a wonderful skiing experience. Professional instructors are available during certain times and dates to provide skiing and snowboarding lessons for beginners, or anyone interested. You may rent ski or snowboarding equipment as well as purchase season passes and gift certificates. Although snowfall and temperature variations can sometimes be sporadic in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg has numerous snow machines that are able to keep the perfect powder conditions needed for the winter sports enthusiasts that frequent the slopes. Group rates are also available.
All during the year, Ober Gatlinburg provides a unique and fun experience for families or individuals. Ice skate on the large indoor ice rink located in the center of the Lodge, or window shop. The shopping area includes specialty shops, area information, and souvenir stores. By riding the South’s longest scenic chairlift, you can swiftly slide down the mountain on one of the two over 1800′ long Alpine slides. There are many waterslides, snack bars, and “kiddie” rides, as well as playgrounds and picnic tables. This Gatlinburg attraction also features arcades, a miniature golf course, and a large maze, where the fun is in getting lost! You may purchase tickets individually or a day pass that includes unlimited access to these attractions.
Anyone can enjoy a safe wildlife encounter at the Ober Gatlinburg animal habitats. You can view black bears and many other animals native to the Great Smoky Mountains. Watch river otters swim and play in the underwater area, see raccoons, skunks, and other nocturnal creatures as well. Some of these animals do hibernate; therefore, they cannot be seen during the winter months.
Ober Gatlinburg has plenty of places that offer delicious food and treats for re-fueling after hours of fun. Sit by the fire and enjoy a view of the mountains or the ski slopes in the Ober Gatlinburg Restaurant and Lounge. This casual dining restaurant offers a full menu, a children’s menu, and a fully stocked bar. There are also quick stop eateries that provide hamburgers, sandwiches, pizza, and snack items as well as yummy homemade fudge and ice cream located in the Lodge area.
Ober Gatlinburg is a super fun way for the entire family to spend time in the Smokies!
Author Mike Olsen