An incredible variety of trees, amazing mountain vistas, and beautiful wildflowers draw millions of visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains each year. While hiking, biking, horseback riding, and scenic drives are great ways to enjoy the views, the best way to see everything the Smokies has to offer is by air. From above, a 360-degree view is unbeatable, and the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway gives guests just that!
The Journey Begins
Heading from downtown on a regular basis, the Aerial Tramway in Gatlinburg, TN, is one of the largest aerial tramways in America, soaring over 11,000 feet high. It features two 120-passenger counterbalanced cable cars that take passengers (3,000+ daily!) on a 2.1-mile ride up to Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area. Year-round, guests of all ages can take in the breathtaking sights of the Smokies through the large glass windows.
- Spring harbors wandering wildlife and bright flowers.
- Summer showcases lush green trees and bright blue skies.
- Winter provides sparkling icicles and fresh snow.
- Autumn brings changing leaves in vivid hues of orange, yellow, and red.
Psst! Before boarding, consider popping into Tramway Gifts for a browse of Smoky Mountain souvenirs.
What Awaits at the Top?
At the end of this fun — and safe — ride for kids and adults of all ages, guests can dive into all the exciting Ober attractions! Ice skate indoors, visit the Wildlife Encounter, ski and snowboard in winter, zoom down the alpine slide, escape the Amaze’n Maze, and ride the classic carousel. There are also lots of great shops, like O’Bears Playhouse and Ski Mountain Sports, as well as places to grab a bite to eat inside, including Seasons of Ober and The Loft Lounge. No matter what time of year, there’s something for everyone to do, see, hear, smell, and taste! With such a variety of options (we’ve only named a handful), it’s especially great for entertaining and feeding groups (see below for group rates).
A Few Things to Remember
- The Aerial Tramway launches from the intersection of the Parkway and LeConte Street.
- The adventure lasts 10 minutes, so take tons of photos while you can!
- Early birds get the seats…as there are few. Late lovers stand.
- Should you miss your intended ride, wait 20 minutes for the next departure.
- Strollers are welcome but must be folded prior to boarding.
- Yes, the tram cars are handicap accessible.
- Holidays are pretty crowded, so prepare for a 2+ hour wait (plan for delays).
Ticket Info + Op Hours | 2019
Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online or at the ticket booth (sales end ½ hour before closing). Round-trip tickets are $14 for adults (senior, military, and AAA discounts available) and $11.50 for children ages 5 – 11. Children under 4 ride FREE! Group rates? Yes, simply fill out their group proposal request online to possibly knock the price down to $12 for adults and $10.50 for kiddos!
Hours of Operation (subject to change with weather)
- Monday – Thursday | 9:40 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday | 7:45 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
- Sunday | 7:45 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
History of the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
For the first 10 years of the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Resort's existence, skiers wound their way to the top of Mt. Harrison by car. Then, in 1972, resort officials began thinking of ways to make the trip safer and more enjoyable. Construction began in September 1972, and on August 5, 1973, the Aerial Tramway was completed and ready for use.
Ober Gatlinburg celebrated the Aerial Tramway's 34th anniversary on August 5, 2007, just a few months after officials announced that old cars would be replaced with new, more modern cars. The $1 million project, which featured high-grade aluminum alloy tram cars and carrier arms, was completed (designed, engineered, and constructed) by CWA Constructions in Olten, Switzerland. CWA is the largest manufacturer of gondolas and ropeway cabins in the world. The tram cars were purchased through Doppelmayr CTEC of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The dimensions of the new vehicles were the same as the old, so Ober Gatlinburg was able to use the same loading docks and towers. One major improvement: the new cars have 15% more glass viewing area. The changes were made in phases, with upgrades including new brakes and more advanced computer systems in 2001, and with the new cars in 2007. April 24, 2007, marked the switching of the first new car, and on Saturday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m., the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway reopened. Since its opening, the Aerial Tramway has transported 18+ million guests along the beautiful 2.1 mile up to Ober Gatlinburg.
More Gatlinburg Fun
Ober Gatlinburg is one of the top attractions in the area, but there are plenty of other things to do in downtown Gatlinburg, TN. And don’t forget to check out all the great events happening throughout the year!
- See more 360-degree views at the Gatlinburg Space Needle.
- Explore 800+ miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- Browse The Village Shops and Great Smoky Arts & Craft Community for souvenirs.
- Play laser tag, miniature golf, and arcade games.
- Visit 7 Ripley’s attractions, including the aquarium and haunted mansion.
There are also more wonderful places to soak in stunning Smoky Mountain views, including at scenic overlooks on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, from the top of Mt. LeConte, on a drive in Cades Cove, or at Clingmans Dome — standing at a staggering 6,600+ feet. Whether you’re looking for rushing waterfalls, peaceful streams, playful (from a distance!) black bears, vivid wildflowers, or tree-studded mountains, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the views in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Cabins for YOU
Take the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway and play at Ober all day, then head back to your cabin rental to relax and recharge. Finding a place to call home in the Smokies probably ranks at the top of your vacay to-do list. With Cabins for YOU, the process is easy as pie with 350+ cabin rental options in Gatlinburg and nearby Pigeon Forge plus a personal Vacation Specialist to help narrow your search!
Our 1-2 bedroom cabins are perfect for honeymoons, anniversaries, and romantic weekends with heart-shaped indoor jetted tubs and bubbly hot tubs outdoors. Check out our spacious 3-5 bedroom cabins with games, cool outdoor spaces, and amenities to keep everyone happy on fun family getaways. Planning a retreat or reunion? Our large-group lodges boast bunk beds, great living spaces where family and friends can gather, games for days in the cabin, full kitchens, and even some perks — like private indoor pools and home theaters! Start planning today.