Gatlinburg Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Winter Family Vacations
Credit

Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getting Around Gatlinburg

The best way to get around Gatlinburg is on foot and by trolley. The city of Gatlinburg is easily walkable and the inexpensive trolley that operates 365 days a year offers service to nearby attractions. However, you'll need a car to take advantage of the scenic driving loops or to access areas of the national park that aren't within walking distance. McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, is about 40 miles west of Gatlinburg and offers several rental car options. Taxi, shuttle or limo service to and from the airport will be pricey because of the distance. Uber does service the airport, but a ride to Gatlinburg will likely be pricey.  

On Foot Downtown Gatlinburg is designed for pedestrians with a parkway that runs from end-to-end and a charming River Walk along the Little Pigeon River. You can also access the national park trails from three points in the downtown area along Highway 441.
Trolley

The Gatlinburg Trolley operates 365 days a year and offers seven color-coded routes with more than 100 stops throughout the city and surrounding areas, including the national park and nearby town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The trolley runs daily from 8:30 a.m. to midnight May through October. During the winter from November through February, the trolley runs from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. In March and April, the trolley operates from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fares range from 50 cents to $2, depending on the route. You can also buy an unlimited access pass that allows you to hop on and off the Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow and Green Trolley routes for $2. Passes can be purchased at city welcome centers, as well as at city hall and the Mass Transit Center, plus several Gatlinburg lodging facilities. During peak summer months from mid-June to mid-August, the trolley offers a free parkway route that runs the length of the Downtown Parkway from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Car

If you plan to fully explore the national park, enjoy the scenic drives and visit the surrounding area, you'll need to bring or rent your own set of wheels. There is one car rental agency in nearby Sevierville, Tennessee (about 14 miles north of Gatlinburg), but your best bet is to book a car at McGhee Tyson Airport. While there are parking garages and decks in the city, during peak seasons (summer and the month of October) and on weekends, available spaces can be limited in the city and on popular park routes like Cades Cove and the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.

Taxi

Although you'll mostly likely use the trolley system for getting around downtown and the immediate area, you may need to rely on one of the local taxi companies if you're visiting during the winter season when the trolley has a limited schedule or for late-night dining and entertainment. Plan to call ahead for a taxi as it may be difficult to flag one down on the street.

 

Explore More of Gatlinburg

Recommended

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019

The 16 Best Seattle Tours

Explore the Emerald City's natural beauty and urban offerings with these guided excursions.

Lyn MettlerJune 12, 2019

The 24 Best London Tours

Whether it's your first time in London or you're a repeat visitor, you'll experience a side of the city you've never seen with these tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJune 6, 2019

The 21 Best Paris Tours

Enhance your visit to the City of Love with one of these top tours.

Claire LawtonJune 5, 2019

The 20 Best New York City Tours

These guided tours help make the most of your time in the Big Apple.

John RodwanJune 4, 2019

The 24 Best Rome Tours

Enjoy the efficiency of an organized tour led by experts who bring Rome's history to life.

Kyle McCarthyMay 31, 2019

The 8 Best Savannah Ghost Tours

Prove you're not afraid of the dark by taking one of these terrifying tours.

Gwen PratesiMay 31, 2019