Gatlinburg is a mountain resort city in Sevier County, Tennessee, United States. The city is a popular vacation resort, as it rests on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along U.S. Route 441. For centuries, Cherokee hunters used a footpath known as the Indian Gap Trail to access the abundant game. These were in the forests and coves of the Smokies. Various 18th century European and early American hunters and fur trappers probably traversed or camped in Gatlinburg. It was Edgefield, South Carolina native William Ogle who first decided to permanently settle in the area.
With the help of the Cherokee, Ogle cut, hewed, and notched logs in the flats. He returned home to Edgefield to retrieve his family. Shortly after his arrival in Edgefield, however, a malaria epidemic swept the low country, and Ogle succumbed. His widow, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle moved the family to Virginia, where she had relatives. Martha Ogle and her brother, and the rest of the family made their way to what is now Gatlinburg.
In the 1880s, the invention of the band saw and the logging railroad led to a boom in the lumber industry. Extensive logging in the early 1900s led to increased calls by conservationists for federal action. And in 1911 Congress passed the Weeks Act to allow for the purchase of land for national forests. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was opened in 1934. This changed Gatlinburg radically.
Gatlinburg is an important tourism destination in Tennessee, with many man-made attractions. During the Christmas season the entire downtown area is decorated with lights for the Winterfest Celebration. Obtaining a marriage license in Tennessee, Gatlinburg is popular, hence it’s a destination for weddings and honeymoon vacations.
Essential travel information and Gatlinburg tips for your visit
- March is an ideal time to visit because it was warm enough to do things.
- The trees are not in full bloom so you can see further down and around the Smokies.
- Locals are friendly and extremely hospitable.
- Do pack your kids favourite blankets and pillows for a Gatlinburg vacation without stress.
- Don’t bring an entire wardrobe, you are on vacation.
- Don’t pack in unnecessary things, all the cabins at Gatlinburg are well furnished and equipped.
- The best attractions here are the aquarium, museums and the Ober Gatlinburg/sky lift.
- The Ripley’s museum is worth a visit.
- The Smokies are wonderful for hiking and trekking.
Gatlinburg Trip Planner
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