5 Things You Can Expect from the Weather During Winter in the Smoky Mountains

A beautiful winter scene in Gatlinburg.

When you take a trip during winter in the Smoky Mountains, you should be aware of some of the conditions in East Tennessee. At no point should any of these factors put a chill to your enjoyment. The sights of snow-capped mountains and beautiful displays of holiday lights will far exceed anything the weather will throw at you. Here are 5 things you should prepare yourself for on your vacation during this time.

1. Day to Day Temperature Changes

woman holding coffee mug in front of fire

When it comes to Tennessee weather, the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. In the winter, it becomes even more so. November will see an average temperature just north of 60 degrees, while the next few months will drop to the lower 50s for an average high; low temperatures at night will be around the freezing mark. That’s not to say 2 consecutive days won’t see a shift of about 30 degrees, so plan on packing accordingly and pay attention to the forecast.

2. Road Closures

When you visit the Smoky Mountains in the winter, keep an eye out for road closures during inclement weather. If you know a little about the hilly nature of ​Clingmans Dome Road​, and the incline, decline, and tree-filled aspects of the ​Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail​, you’ll understand why these roads close during the cold season. Also, be wary of conditions that can close Newfound Gap Road — the major highway that bisects the park.

3. Occasional Snow

The Bearadise cabin in Gatlinburg in the winter.

If you’re staying in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, at best, you can expect to just see 2 or 3 inches of snow in any given month during winter. Chances are pretty good that you’ll see at least a flurry of activity, if you’re staying for a week. Once again, make sure you keep close tabs on the weather. You’ll find travel rather easy to navigate here, unless there’s a big snow or ice storm.

4. Higher Totals in High Elevations

What makes the weather during winter in the Smoky Mountains a big draw for tourists is the extreme likelihood of seeing them snow-capped. The colors of green, red, orange, and yellow are fantastic views in the summer and fall months, but seeing the pure white peaks is a sight we recommend to our guests as well. While you may not see snowfall in town, it’s almost a sure thing in elevations a mile above sea level!

5. It Won’t Ever Spoil the Fun

A girl snow tubing down a slope with her friends.

Despite the cold weather, it’ll always be a good time to visit the tourist areas of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. That also means it’s business as usual for most shops that rely on tourism to stay open. It’s amazing the warmth your body creates when your surrounded by the sensational sights and good feelings that come with a trip to East Tennessee in the winter!

We hope we’ve convinced you that a winter trip in the Smoky Mountains is a magical experience. ​Book your cabin​ to see how special it’ll become by staying with us!