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Is the Aerial Tramway the Best Way to Get to Ober Gatlinburg from Down Town?

You've probably seen the huge green and white cable car leaving or arriving to and from downtown Gatlinburg TN. It looks like something out of an Austrian scene in a James Bond film. Often called the "gondola lift", the Aerial Tramway represents one of two ways to get up the mountain to Ober Gatlinburg. The other is by car.

The Aerial Tramway starts from a station at Parkway and LeConte Street and leads up to Ober Gatlinburg, a ski area and amusement park at the top of Mt. Harrison. It was built in the early 1970s to alleviate the dangerous trip along the snow-covered road used by skiers. After opening in 1973, it became one of the largest aerial tramways in the United States.  It is more than 11,000 feet in length (two miles) and the new tram cars - manufactured in Switzerland in 2006 - hold 120 passengers each.

Rates are $12 round trip for adults and $9.50 for children 5 - 11. Free for children ages 4 and under.  You'll also pay $5 - $7 for parking downtown.

Impressive in appearance, the Aerial Tramway gets good marks while Ober Gatlinburg doesn't. According to, the amusement park and ski area has a 3.5 out of 5 rating. So, you may want to investigate further why you're interested in the attraction.

Reviews, however seem to be generally excellent for the ride on the tramway, saying it's worth the money. There are some comments about the level of crowds in the tram cars. It can be a tight squeeze on high-traffic days. But, if you have an hour and $12 (per person) to spare and the crowds are minimal, consider a quick round trip to take in the views. 

The other way to get to the top of Ober Gatlinburg is by car, along that road mentioned earlier.  These days, it is scraped and salted during winter months. But, since most tourist traffic happens in the summer, it's always free from weather hazards. But, expect to pay the parking fee of $5 once up top.

So, in review a couple would surly want to pay the parking and tram fee for this relaxing ride up. That's about $30.  A family with three or four children on a budget may want to just drive up. That's if your main goal is to get up to Ober Gatlinburg.  Otherwise, why come all the way to Gatlinburg and drive up the boring mountain road just to save a few bucks? The Aerial Tramway is an experience in and of itself and should not be missed.

Hours of Operation

Monday - Thursday: 9:30am to 6:20pm

Friday - Saturday: 7:30am to 10:40pm

Sunday: 7:30am to 6:20pm

Aerial Tramway Ober Gatlinburg
1001 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Tel: 865-436-5423

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No experience in the Smoky Mountains should be without a few nights stay in a cabin. And, Gatlinburg has plenty of them. Select from a variety of sizes, amenities and locations. Find a cozy, rustic, or luxury cabin rental in Gatlinburg here.

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There are thousands of hotel and motel rooms in Gatlinburg. Problem is they all fill up fast. Book early for the best rooms and locations. From in-town and off the street to budget and semi luxury. Select a room with a fireplace or creek-side balcony.



Finding food is as simple as walking down town.  Plenty of restaurants line Gatlinburg's main strip. Eat BBQ, steak, Italian, Mexican, and more. Check out the coffee shops, deli's and breweries. Family dining in our Southern restaurants.


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A walk around the main strip in town will probably be your first introduction to this unique mountain village. After that, the sky is the limit. Gatlinburg offers so many things to do. Hike the Smokies, visit a brewery, shop the galleries and malls... dining, arts and crafts, picnics...

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From Ripley's museums, a mountain coaster, and hillbilly golf to Ober Gatlinburg, the space needle, and zip lines. Gatlinburg has it all! If playing is your thing, you won't be disappointed. So, grab your family, grab your plastic, and get ready to have some fun, fun, fun!



Looking for that romantic wedding in an enchanted forest? You've come to the right place. Gatlinburg has several wedding chapels, and a number of honeymoon cabins. Sky lift, Chapel at the Park, Space Needle, Creek Bridge, and Gazebo are all Gatlinburg wedding options.