Best Time and Place to See Snow in Tennessee

If you’re planning a winter getaway to the Volunteer State, you may be looking for the best places to find snow in Tennessee? Although most of the southern states typically don’t see a ton of snow during the winter months, East Tennessee often receives a decent amount of snowfall.

The area around the Tennessee Smoky Mountains provides your best chance for seeing and enjoying real snow during the colder months of the year. If you’re looking to experience snow activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snow tubing, Tennessee offers plenty of popular spots that the whole family will love!

In the post below, we will discuss the best places to see snow in Tennessee along with the most common times to see snowfall during the year.

Best Places to See Snow in Tennessee

While Tennessee is sometimes hit by winter storms during the colder months of the year, the state tends to enjoy fairly mild winters. With high temperatures during the day rarely dropping below freezing, visitors are often able to spend time outdoors even during the winter months.

Even though places located in higher elevations may see significant snowfall during this time of the year, the majority of Tennessee doesn’t regularly get a ton of snow. Visitors searching for a place to see snow in Tennessee often travel to the Smokies in the eastern side of the state.

snow in Tennessee mountains

Families spending time in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Knoxville often get to experience snow during their winter trip. This is particularly true if they are traveling during the months of January or February.

Even if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate by serving up real snow on your vacation, many of the places below are able to create their own snow. This way, you can still enjoy all the winter activities on your list with sacrificing any of the fun!

These are our top picks (in no particular order) for the best places to enjoy snow in Tennessee:

1. Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is open year-round and features plenty of fun things to do with kids of all ages. During the winter season, Ober Gatlinburg turns into a winter wonderland complete with snow activities.

Visitors can enjoy cold weather fun like skiing, ice skating, snow tubing, and more! Ober Gatlinburg even features a terrain park for the more adventurous guests and a snow play area for its younger visitors.

snow tubing runs

Since Ober Gatlinburg sits in the lower elevation of downtown Gatlinburg, it tends to see about 9 inches of real snow fall each year. This snow typically falls in the months of January and February. (Although, December and the beginning of March have been known to receive snow as well.)

If you are planning a visit to the Gatlinburg area during a dry winter season, rest assured that Ober Gatlinburg will still provide lots of snow activities since they have their own SnowMagic snow machine! For more ideas on winter activities in Gatlinburg, you can check out this post!

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you’re searching for real snow in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area, you’ll want to check out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since this popular spot sits at a higher elevation, it sees around 60 inches of annual snowfall.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

That’s significantly more than the surrounding areas at lower elevations. Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will enjoy fewer crowds during the winter months as hiking is less popular this time of year.

If you’re planning to stop at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, make sure to check the official website for road closures due to icy conditions. Otherwise, enjoy the serene atmosphere of the park while experiencing the Alum Cave Trail, Cades Cove, and other scenic spots.

3. Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snow Park

If your travels take you to Pigeon Forge, TN, you can enjoy a day full of fun snow activities at Rowdy Bear Smoky Mountain Amusement Park. Open year-round, Rowdy Bear becomes a snow park during the cold, winter months. It offers lots of fun things to do for the whole family, including snow tubing, an avalanche snow coaster, a playground, plus more kid-friendly attractions.

snowboard and ski lift with text overlay Places to see Snow Tennessee

Rowdy Bear Smoky Mountain Snow Park is just over a ten-minute drive to the Dollywood Theme Park. This makes it a great stop for families planning a trip to the Dollywood Christmas Festival.

4. Gaylord Opryland

So far, we have covered several options for places to see snow in East Tennessee. But did you know that Nashville offers its very own winter wonderland at the Gaylord Opryland Resort?

people ice skating

Running from mid-November through the new year, the Opryland Hotel celebrates its annual Christmas event. Guests can enjoy extravagant Christmas lights, a themed ICE! Attraction, a character breakfast, photos with Santa, and carriage rides among other holiday activities.

This Opryland Christmas event also features snow activities like ice tubing, ice bumper cars, ice skating, and ice-skating shows that run through the month of February. Find more Nashville Christmas Events here!

5. Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is a popular tourist spot near Chattanooga, Tennessee where visitors can enjoy attractions like Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway, and Rock City Gardens. Although the mountain itself doesn’t see a lot of snowfall, Rock City hosts an annual Christmas event with lots of light displays and entertainment.

Lookout Mountain

This is perfect for the families looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit. In addition, visitors to downtown Chattanooga can enjoy winter activities like ice skating at the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel.

6. Appalachian Trail

If you’re looking for the spot with the most annual snowfall in Tennessee, you’ll want to check out the Appalachian Trail. This trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and is a popular spot for experienced hikers during warmer months of the year.

Appalachian Trail in Tennessee

It is estimated that the highest peaks of the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee receive around 100 inches of snowfall year. Since this can be a dangerous hike during the winter months, hikers on the Appalachian Trail should be fully prepared for the severe elements.

More Places to Find Snow in the South

As listed above, Tennessee offers many great opportunities to see snow and experience winter activities. If you’re willing to travel just outside of the state, you can add additional winter spots to your vacation list. Below, we will include our top picks for places to find snow in the south (outside of Tennessee).

Cataloochee Ski Area

Located in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, Cataloochee Ski Area is just a short drive from the Tennessee border. This popular winter destination sits in the Blue Ridge Mountains and boasts around 11 inches of annual snowfall. The Cataloochee Ski Area offers plenty of snow activities for the whole family, including snow tubing and skiing.

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Also located in neighboring North Carolina, Appalachian Ski Mountain sits in the town of Blowing Rock. This family-friendly ski resort is just a short drive from the Tennessee border and offers beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors to Appalachian Ski Mountain can enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and more!

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is located in Mars Hill, NC just north of Asheville. This ski resort offers slopes for visitors at every level and even provides a ski school.

snow skiing

In addition to skiing, guests can also choose to enjoy snowboarding, snowtubing, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. This resort sits in a beautiful spot in the scenic mountains of North Carolina.

Beech Mountain Resort

Beech Mountain Ski Resort is located in Beech Mountain, North Carolina just outside the Tennessee border. Visitors to this ski resort can enjoy a terrain park and activities like skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, and more.

two people in ski clothes with snow boards

These snow activities typically open in late November and run through the beginning of March. Guests can also rent equipment at Beech Mountain Resort as well as sign up for ski lessons.

Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain is located in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. During the winter months, Stone Mountain turns into a winter wonderland known as Snow Mountain. With fun winter activities like snow tubing, Snow Mountain is a great place to visit with the whole family.

snow falling in woods

Visitors should also check out Stone Mountain during its annual Christmas event. Featuring a light show, Santa sightings, carolers, Christmas parade, Polar Express experience, and more, Stone Mountain Christmas is fun for all ages.

In addition, parents will love Stone Mountain’s New Year’s Celebration as the park rings in the new year at 9:00 pm, complete with fireworks and a snowfall.

Places to Stay

If you’re wondering where to stay while you enjoy the snow in Tennessee, we have several suggestions depending on the area you visit. Families planning a visit to the Nashville area can book a room at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and stay right in the center of the action. This massive hotel features indoor gardens, numerous restaurants, spacious rooms, and family friendly entertainment.

dollywood dreammore resort hotel
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

Visitors to the eastern Tennessee towns of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg will want to check out Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. This hotel provides family-friendly suites, several restaurants, an indoor pool, arcade, and special kids’ activities.

If you’re looking for even more space and amenities on your Smoky Mountain vacation, we highly recommend using the VRBO website to rent a log cabin or a luxury mountain home.

Depending on your accommodation needs and budget, you can find vacation rentals of all sizes in the East Tennessee area. Many of these include indoor pools, hot tubs, game rooms, and mountain views.

Final Thoughts on Where to See Snow in Tennessee

Tennessee is the perfect spot for a vacation during all seasons of the year. The Smoky Mountains are especially beautiful during the fall months, but winter offers a whole different level of fun.

snow skis with text overlay Find Snow Tennessee

Active families will love the many opportunities for skiing, snow tubing, and ice skating in the Tennessee snow. All the places on our list above offer super exciting opportunities to enjoy the winter weather.

Even though January and February are the best times to find snow in Tennessee, visitors can often enjoy winter activities in December as well! We hope you enjoy your Tennessee Winter Wonderland vacation!

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