Although winter is one of the best times to visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge—the snow-capped peaks and festive downtown streets are sure to impress—the winter weather can often mean slow-moving traffic and dangerous road conditions. The steep mountain roads, if covered in ice, can prove slippery and somewhat scary. But no need to change your plans. Simply play it safe with these 5 tips for surviving winter traffic in the Smokies, and you and your family will have a pleasant winter getaway even with the snow and ice.
- 5. Keep emergency supplies in your trunk.
Winter weather can turn on a dime. You never know when and where you might get stuck. Keep a flashlight and batteries, windshield ice scraper, first-aid kit, and extra blankets on hand so you can stay safe no matter what happens. Also, if you are staying at one of our cabins on the mountains, you may want to consider driving an all-terrain vehicle and/or a vehicle with snow chains. Call our reservation specialists for more information—we are here to help make your stay as trouble-free and enjoyable as possible!
- 4. Pack non-perishable snacks.
When you’re stuck in unexpected traffic or have to take the long way back to your cabin, the last thing you want is to drive around with a car full of hungry people! Keep snacks on hand to curb the between-meal munchies. Some possibilities for snack items include nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, crackers, protein bars, and peanut butter. These snacks will also come in handy if you decide to get out for a spur-of-the-moment hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Don’t forget to store several water bottles as well—at least one for every person in your vehicle.
- 3. Take the trolley when you can.
The Gatlinburg trolley system is the fifth-largest mass transit system in Tennessee. Established in 1980, the trolley system now services 50 miles in and around Gatlinburg. You can pick up a free map of the trolley system at any of the Gatlinburg Welcome Centers. Ride an unlimited amount of times for only $2 per day, and then you can enjoy the sites without having to hassle with navigating unfamiliar streets and terrain!
- 2. Check road/weather conditions before you leave.
Websites like the National Park Service’s site for the Great Smoky Mountains post up-to-date road and facility closures each day. You can also call (865) 436-1200 for updated road and weather information. Be sure to check these closures before you head out so you can save yourself the headache of getting stuck or lost on an alternate route.
- 1. Take it slow.
The best tip for surviving winter weather and winter traffic is to simply be patient and take it slow! Icy patches can catch you off guard if you are cruising too quickly. So, instead of rushing, throw it in first gear, take your time enjoying the beautiful scenery, and have a safe and pleasant stay during your Smoky Mountain vacation!