See the Great Smokies by air via the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
Departing from downtown Gatlinburg, the tram ascends Mount Harrison, covering 2.1 miles to bring you to the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area. From the tram, you’ll see the Smokies rolling in every direction, a view that is especially spectacular in the fall when the leaves paint the landscape brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow.
One of America’s largest aerial tramways, it can fit 120 passengers in each of the two cars that operate. There’s a 20-minute wait in between each car departure.
But it wasn’t always so easy to get up to the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area. Before 1973, dedicated skiers had to drive a twisty, snowy road to the top of Mount Harrison. Today, the tram makes it an easy ride to the ski area. Once there, winter enthusiasts can ski, snowboard and ice skate on an indoor rink (open year round) at the ski area. Depending on the weather, you also can go on the 5.5-minute Ski Mountain Coaster ride. And those who’d rather not recreate in the chilly weather can shop and eat in the ski village.
There’s also a carousel, water raft rides, kiddie rides, an arcade center and more for those ready for some fun entertainment.
You also can see wildlife, including some furry native inhabitants of the area. At Ober Gatlinburg’s Wildlife Center, visitors can see river otters, birds of prey, bobcats and a family of bears (when they are not hibernating for winter). Bear parents Minnie and B.J. have two 4-year-olds: Holly and Chief.
1001 Parkway Tramway, Gatlinburg, Tenn.