The Smoky Mountains area is a hugely popular winter destination. Lots of folks come here in hopes of seeing snow, but some are sad to discover that actual snow in the Smoky Mountains can be as unpredictable as monoliths in 2020.
But the good news is, even if it’s a warm, 70-degree day in December, you can still find places to enjoy snow tubing in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and surrounding areas.
Here are the best places to go snow tubing in the Smokies:
1. Pigeon Forge Snow
Pigeon Forge Snow is one of America’s first indoor snow parks. The chilly building has a wall of artificial snow with several lanes where guests can tube their little hearts out.
No matter what the weather is doing outside, it’s safe to plan a day of snow tubing at Pigeon Forge Snow.
Pigeon Forge Snow offers real snow – that promises no usage of chemicals – that never melts away.
Tubing at Pigeon Forge Snow is available to folks of all ages, and no reservations are required. Tubers have to be at least 38 inches tall and 3 years old. However, anyone can enjoy their play area, regardless of age or height.
Be sure to bring at least a light jacket since it will be cool inside.
And even though this snow is real, please don’t eat any. (Seriously, that is one of the few rules).
One hour of tubing will set you back about $21.99, and 30 minutes of free play is $7.99. Combo packages are available for $26.99 for both activities.
For more information and hours of operation, visit their website.
2. Ober Gatlinburg
For years, Ober Gatlinburg has been one of the main attractions in the Gatlinburg area, but in recent years, modern attractions have brought some competition.
However in the winter months, Ober still shines as one of Tennessee’s top winter destinations.
Not only does Ober Gatlinburg offer the only outdoor snow tubing experience in the area, they are also Tennessee’s only ski and snowboard destination.
Unlike Pigeon Forge Snow, tubing at Ober Gatlinburg is seasonal.
The snow tubing season begins around the end of November and operates daily through Easter.
If you wish to go tubing at Ober Gatlinburg, it’s highly recommended that you buy your tickets in advance. Sessions tend to sell out, especially during holidays and weekends.
Ages 5 and up cost $30 on weekdays and non-holidays, and $35 for weekend and holiday periods. Ages 3 and 4 are free with an adult admission.
And yes, they have a magic carpet that takes you back up to the top of the hill so that no climbing is involved during your adventure.
Other popular winter activities at Ober Gatlinburg include:
- Cubbies Snow Zone ($8 per person, or free with a ski area ticket)
- Ice Skating ($8 per person)
- Ice bumper cars ($8 per person)
- Skiing and snowboarding ($40-70 per person, depending on peak periods. This price does not include rentals or lessons)
For more information, visit them online.
3. Rowdy Bear Ridge*
There’s an asterisk on this one because this might be cheating a little.
There’s no snow.
However, I’m including it on the list because it definitely deserves an honorable mention. On the off-chance that the other guys become overly crowded during peak seasons, Rowdy Bear Ridge may just scratch the tubing itch.
Even though there’s no white fluffy stuff, you can still don your coat and have a blast going down the mountain at speeds up to 35 mph.
The slopes at Rowdy Bear are more than 500 feet in length and have a 70-foot drop. The outdoor tubing hill operates day and night and runs about $16.99 for a half-hour and $21.99 for the full hour.
For more information, visit them online.
4. Tube World at Cataloochee Ski Area (NC)
If you’re willing to venture across the state line, Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, N.C. offers tubing with groomed slopes that are specifically designed for inner tubes.
Tube World is roughly an hour to an hour and a half drive from the Gatlinburg area, but it also offers skiing and snowboarding.
Tube World is not yet open for the season, but it is scheduled to open on Dec. 18, 2020. Be sure to check their website for any updates or schedule changes.
Have YOU been tubing during your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains? Let us know in the comments!