Gatlinburg History & Info
- As the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg provides the majority of lodging, food and additional recreation for over 10 million visitors each year, making it the most visited National Park in the US. Gatlinburg's popularity is also due to the fact that more than 70 million people live within 400 miles of the city, and the alpine villages' popularity carries over to groups of all ages.
- Bountiful folklore regarding the early settlers of White Oak Flats, now known as Gatlinburg and the National Park, weaves an unparalleled yarn of mountain life and times from hundreds of years ago.
- Just after the turn of the century, logging began, and by 1934, almost 65% of the forest was logged
- Railroads sprang up to carry the lumber out of the area, and about 1200 farms in the Park helped feed the loggers.
- What started out as a small farming community on the banks of the Little Pigeon River, at the foot of the Smokies, Gatlinburg has grown into Tennessee's Premier Resort City.
- Gatlinburg is a popular mountain resort stretching for more than 2 miles along the banks of the Little Pigeon River at the foot of Mount Le Conte.
Dogwood trees line the main street, which leads to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- Gatlinburg offers accommodations to suit everyone's taste and budget.
- There are more than 90 hotels and motels; 600 chalets, condominiums, and cabins; 75 rental companies; seven bed-and-breakfast establishments; and 5 private campgrounds.
- Make your reservations well in advance especially if you are planning on visiting in the summer or fall foliage seasons.
- Gatlinburg has become an important handicraft center for the Southern US. In the 400 plus gift and specialty shops, you will find hand-crafted leather goods, wood carvings, baskets, quilts, jams and jellies, homemade fudge and candies, jewelry, custom glassware and furniture, antiques, pottery, and other local crafts.
- The Great Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Community, 3 miles east of downtown, (U.S. 321-N), began as a craft show in 1937 and now includes more than 80 craft shops. At a number of shops, visitors can watch as craftsmen display outstanding skills in weaving, pottery, broom-making, woodworking and furniture-making.
- Replicas of late 19th-century trolleys carry passengers in and around Gatlinburg from April to Thanksgiving with lighter winter schedules. Getting around town and the Arts & Craft center by the trolley is so easy and convenient. Leave your car parked at the hotel and ride the trolley.
- More than 80 restaurants serve up everything from prime rib, seafood, and pasta to pizza, hamburgers, and deli sandwiches.
You will also find plenty of good southern cooking: country ham and red-eye gravy, southern fried chicken, fresh mountain trout,
biscuits and gravy, and freshly baked bread and cobbler.
- You'll find plenty to do in Gatlinburg! The world's largest aerial passenger tramway traverses the mountainside from downtown
up to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Recreation Park. Play miniature golf at Old Gatlinburg Golf & Games, the
most unusual course in the area. Set amid trees and flowers, each hole tells a story of the history of this area.
- Ride the glass-enclosed elevator 342 feet above Gatlinburg at the Space Needle and Arcade, or explore the Gatlinburg Mysterious Mansion, which is filled with
false panels, rotating walls, and sinking floors. You can enjoy a musical comedy, a Gay Nine-ties review, at Sweet Fanny Adams Theater and Music Hall, or explore Ripley's Believe It or Not and Guinness World Record museums.
- Visitors can also enjoy music festivals, numerous art galleries, and a variety of recreational activities, including fishing, golf, horseback riding, miniature golf,and white-water rafting.
Ober Gatlinburg features year-round activities, including an alpine slide, an ice-skating arena, and downhill snow skiing.
- Christmas is a special time in Gatlinburg. A winter crispness fills the air, crafts and gift shops deck their halls, and carolers serenade
visitors and townsfolk alike. Holiday events include a square dance, Yule log burnings, craft shows, and the Christmas Parade of Lights.
- Winterfest, a three-and-a-half-month countywide celebration, features hundreds of events including Gatlinburg's Smoky Mountain Lights.
From mid-November through February, the town becomes a winter wonderland when chandeliers of more than two million lights drape across
the parkway on the main street and a 28-foot bell tower is set in the center of town.
- The mountain heritage of Gatlinburg is celebrated with displayed log cabins and automated bears that wave to visitors as they enter town.
- The event has been named the number-one festival in the South and a Top 100 event in North America by the American Bus Association.
- Gatlinburg celebrates love in February with Smoky Mountain Romance. Each year, more than 20,000 couples get married in Gatlinburg,
the "Honeymoon Capital of the South". Gatlinburg, and the surrounding area, makes a perfect location for your special day. Your fairy-tale wedding and honeymoon, can become a reality in the Smokies.
- The annual Mountains of Chocolate festival is a chocolate lover's dream come true and the proceeds benefit Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have helped preserve our most precious resource, and the native forests, wildlife and flowers and fauna. Learn how to become a member or a volunteer!
- Incorporated in 1945, today Gatlinburg boasts a population of approximately 3,500 year round residents. According to the department of tourism, Gatlinburg covers a 10.35 mile radius (6,623 acres).
- Directions are given according to the ten red lights in the downtown area, which runs almost 3 miles in length.
- Sevier County is a dry county, with the exception of the city of Gatlinburg, which was grand-fathered in. Within the city limits of Gatlinburg, you will find award-winning wines at the Smoky Mountain Winery, alcoholic drinks are available at most restaurants. Local grocery stores and convenience stores carry beer, and package stores are allowed to operate within the city limits.