The winter season brings cooler temperatures and the magic of the holidays. If you are heading to Pigeon Forge or The surrounding areas for your holiday vacation, There are plenty of things to do! We have made a small guide with the most popular things to do at Dollywood and the surrounding area.

What Can You Find at Dollywood In The Winter

Dollywood at winter time is something out of a Christmas movie, especially at night.
It’s also a time for the park’s most beloved event: Smoky Mountain Christmas. Here are just a few things you will find at Dollywood during their winter celebration besides all of your favorite rides.

Enchanting Atmosphere

During the winter season, Dollywood is filled with holiday spirit!. They have a 50 foot Christmas tree, decorations and holiday cheer everywhere you look.

Over Six Million Holiday Lights

The heart of Smoky Mountain Christmas is the mesmerizing light display of over 6 million dazzling lights that fill the park. It turns Dollywood into a winter wonderland!.

Award Winning Holiday Shows

Dollywood has heartwarming holiday shows and performances during the winter season that can only be enjoyed during this time of year, like “Christmas in the Smokies” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. These shows are amazing and can be enjoyed together with the entire family.

If you want to learn everything about Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas,

Click HERE to read our post!

Exploring Nearby Seasonal Events

There are plenty of local events to choose from in the Smoky Mountains to keep you in the Holiday Spirit. Here are a few;

SkyLand’s Festival Of Lights

From November 3 to February 18, 2024 (6-9 pm)


SkyLand’s Festival of Lights at The Ranch has a mesmerizing display of over half a million lights! This light festival features beautiful displays, illuminated tunnels, a scenic chairlift ride to The Ranch, Western and traditional-themed light structures, including a 75’ Santa’s “Moo”ving Sleigh Ride, Rodeo at The Ranch, and more. Snap photos in front of Antler Falls, and enjoy seasonal treats and activities.


Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled ticket time to allow for check-in. Given the event’s popularity, be prepared for potentially longer wait times.

The Island Tree Lighting & Winterfest Show

The magic begins on Saturday, November 18, 2024, at 5 pm where special guests Paula Deen and Santa Claus will help flip the ceremonial switch and formally kick off the holiday season!


Join the Festivities at The Island in Pigeon Forge, where millions of lights and a captivating Winterfest Show await, plus live music and more!. Santa Claus arrives at 5 pm for photos with the little ones, and at 6 pm, the Winterfest Show kicks off. The show features the Island’s fountain choreographed with three 40-foot high LED Christmas Trees. The Winterfest Show will continue to play every evening at 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm through Friday, January 5, 2024.


Arrive early to find Parking and for the best viewing spots.

Gatlinburg Christmas Parade

December 1, 2024, at 7:30 pm

Tree Lighting Ceremony:

City officials will host a grand illumination ceremony of the Gatlinburg Christmas Tree at 7:25 pm on the Parkway Plaza at Traffic Light #3.


Gatlinburg’s Annual Fantasy of Lights Parade starts at Baskins Creek Bypass on East Parkway and travels through Gatlinburg, concluding at traffic light #10.The parade has marching bands, giant balloons, dancers, Santa Claus and more!.


This is a very popular event so be sure to arrive extra early.

New Year’s Celebration At The Island

Sunday, December 31, 2024, from 10 am to midnight


Bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one with a bang at The Island in Pigeon Forge. Enjoy a FREE concert featuring headliner Stephen Goff and The Royals. The Island’s New Year’s Eve Celebration will also include midnight fireworks with the soundtrack simulcast on Knoxville ratio station WIVK 107.7.

Beyond Holiday Activities Nearby

Winter Fun at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg has so many fun things to do in every season!
Here are 2 of our favorite things to do as a family there;

Ice Skating

Show off your most impressive skating moves at Ober Gatlinburg’s Ice Skating rink! This 140 X 75-foot rink is the centerpiece of Ober’s indoor mall and is open year-round.

Regardless of the weather outside, you can always strap on a pair of skates and enjoy some winter fun!

Ober’s rink is great for skaters of all ages and levels. If you are just starting and need extra help, They have a handrail that goes all around the rink’s perimeter.

Snow Tubing:

During the winter season, Ober Gatlinburg also offers snow tubing fun for the entire family! Sessions are 90 minutes long. The Tubing Hill is 350 feet long with a 50 foot total drop and they have a  “Magic Carpet” (outdoor escalator) that takes you back to the top of the hill after each run.

Kiddos must be at least age 6 years old & 42″ tall to ride alone. Kids Ages 3 – 5 must ride with an adult 18 years or older. Ages 2 & under or pregnant mamas can’t go tubing.

You can check out all of their activities/rates here.

Family Adventures at Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark

This adventure park is home to some exciting rides like the Tubing Hill, Outdoor Axe Throwing, and Avalanche Snow Coaster

Snow Tubing Hill

Grab your family and friends to go have some fun Snow Tubing!
Tubing sessions are 90 minutes long and the lanes are over 500’ in length with a 70’ drop and they have two Magic Carpet Conveyors back to the top of the hill.
You Must be at least 48″ tall to ride alone and Kiddos must be 40″ tall to ride with an adult over the age of 18. Pregnant Mamas can’t go tubing.

Avalanche Snow Coaster

Strap in for an awesome ride and ride through the hills!
You control the speed on this coaster, Pull the handle back to speed up, or push the handle forward to slow down. You must be 51″ tall to ride alone and Kiddos 40″ tall have to ride with an adult. Max weight per cart is 440lbs.

Outdoor Axe Throwing

See how good your aim is with an Axe Throwing activity!
Their trained staff will be there to assist you the whole time and teach your own to properly throw your axe. Must be 10 years and older to participate.

How Is The Weather in the Winter?

 Here’s an overview of the typical weather during these months:


The average temperatures in December Range from
a high of 52°F (11°C) to a low of 29°F (-2°C).


January can be very chilly, with average temperatures
ranging from 49°F (9°C) during the day to 26°F (-3°C) at night.


In February, the average temperatures are between
53°F (12°C) during the day and 29°F (-2°C) at night.

Keep in mind, these are just averages. Always double check the weather before your trip.

Packing Tips and Essentials for The Colder Months

Layered Clothing

Consider packing clothes that can be layered for your winter visit as the weather can get chilly, especially if you’re not used to cold temperatures.
That way, you can take off layers and put them back if needed.

Winter Jacket

Investing in a good winter jacket is essential. The Smoky Mountains can be cold, and a reliable winter jacket ensures you stay warm and cozy during your visit.

Tech-Friendly Gloves

Don’t forget to pack tech-friendly gloves to keep your hands warm while you use your phone. I’ve been in situations where I didn’t have them, and it was inconvenient to remove my gloves every time I wanted to take a picture or use my phone.


Handwarmers provide a boost of warmth, keeping your hands toasty, especially when you’re spending extended periods outdoors.

Power Bank

 Electronic device batteries tend to drain faster in the cold. By Having a power bank you can quickly recharge any device on the go.

Umbrella or Poncho

It’s always a good idea to carry a small, portable umbrella or a waterproof poncho just in case you get unexpected rain. 

Enjoy and make beautiful memories and new traditions together, have fun!

Did you visit Dollywood during their Winter Wonderland festival or any other activity in the area? Share your experience with us in the comments!

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