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Aerial Tramway

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Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway: Combining Form And Function to Create the Most Beautiful Methods of Smoky Mountain Transit Imaginable
Staff Score:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Both an attraction and a practical means of transport, the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway offers one of the best views of the Smoky Mountains. This beautiful ride proves that sometimes, the journey is even better than the destination.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Ready to take in the Smoky Mountains from a whole new vantage point? Hop on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, which will conveniently take you to Ober Gatlinburg for even more fun. Along the way, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the mountains and the charming town of Gatlinburg.

Ober’s tram holds a long and impressive history as a Smoky Mountains staple. The tram was first proposed in 1972 as a safer and more convenient means of helping visitors reach the popular ski area. Completed in 1973, the tramway opened to great fanfare. Since then, it has transported millions of people between Ober and Gatlinburg — and it has served as a beloved tradition for several generations of outdoors enthusiasts.

The scenery visible from the tramway is astounding, of course, but that’s just one of many reasons why this attraction is worth checking out. It’s as practical as it is beautiful, bringing visitors to the adventure park at Ober for a memorable experience. Once you’ve arrived, you can enjoy a full day’s worth of activities, including everything from wall climbing and tubing to animal encounters. At the end of a jam-packed day, you’ll enjoy the view yet again as you make your return trip.

Your tramway experience begins conveniently in Gatlinburg’s downtown area, where you and several other visitors will be guided into the tram. Cars take off approximately every twenty minutes, although quickly-filling cars sometimes force visitors to wait far longer.

Once you’ve made your way to the front of the line and onto your car, you’ll notice plenty of standing room and nowhere to sit. This is a point of contention for some, but plenty of straps are available to help you maintain your balance. This enclosed mode of transportation appeals most to those who are afraid of heights and typically avoid chairlift-style conveyances. Thankfully, Ober’s friendly staff members know how to set concerned visitors at ease.

Not everybody fears heights, of course, but some feel mildly uncomfortable when crammed into the tramway’s cars during busy periods. With each car capable of accommodating up to 120 passengers, the ride can feel tight at times. This is especially true during peak hours or special events.

The ride is generally stable, but the tram may swing slightly from time to time. This is perfectly normal and should not be cause for concern. Many visitors actually appreciate this motion, as it gives them a taste of the thrills that are to come when they reach the top.

No matter how you feel about heights and crowds, you’ll appreciate the lovely views on your way up or down. Each season holds a different type of beauty, but the scenery is particularly impressive when autumn colors strike. The journey extends over two miles, so you’ll have plenty of time to take it all in.

Whether you regard Ober’s aerial tram as a means to an end or a journey worth taking in its own right, you’ll love this stunning ride. Take in the beauty of Gatlinburg from a new perspective — you won’t regret it.

Insider Tips

As previously mentioned, the aerial tramway sees major crowds during holidays and on some weekends. At times, the wait for a car may close in on two hours. Plan accordingly if you prefer to avoid delays.

Occasionally, weather concerns force Ober’s staff members to delay or even close the tram. In such situations, shuttles are typically offered to help those already at the top return to Gatlinburg.