Outside of skiing, snow tubing has become one of the most popular winter activities and is a great way to enjoy being outdoors and enjoying the crisp, fresh air that accompanies the change in seasons.
The Great Smoky Mountains has plenty to offer here, with snow pack for much of the winter and beautiful scenery for a wintery wonderland. And Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the gateway to the Smokies, being located right at the entrance to the national park and spoiled with natural beauty.
In this post, we’ll take you through some of the best snow tubing spots near Gatlinburg. They offer a variety of options, from more thrilling adventures to just good old fashioned fun with you and your family.
If you’ve got little ones in tow, check out my guide to Gatlinburg Attractions for Toddlers.
Snow Tubing Outfitters Near Gatlinburg
Ober Gatlinburg is a snow resort located on Ober Mountain just outside of downtown Gatlinburg. During the winter, you can take part in tons of ice and snow activities.
The resort boasts a large tubing park with multiple lanes, so you can race your friends and family down the hill. And the best part? You don’t have to walk back up the hill – a magic carpet lift will take you back to the top.
Photo: Ober Gatlinburg
Before heading to Oder Gatlinburg for some tubing, be sure to check their website for hours and pricing. They offer both day and night tubing, so you can choose the time that works best for you. And if you’re looking for even more winter fun, consider trying skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating at the resort.
Outside of tubing, Ober offers tons of other activities all year round, including ice skating, mountain biking, an alpine slide, and a rock wall. They also have a carousel for the little ones, so there is truly something for the whole family here.
Pigeon Forge Snow is a great place to snow tube in the area. Billed as America’s first indoor snow park, Pigeon Forge snow tubing gives you the opportunity to go snow tubing year round. You can enjoy winter activities even in the summer. But don’t worry about the cold – it’s always a balmy 60-70 degrees inside!
There is a hillside of snow tubing hills and a huge Snow Play area, perfect for racing down the slopes, building snowmen, and having some wintry excitement. They use their own snow here, completely pure and natural and created from only water using a patented process.
No reservations are needed, so you can just walk in, grab your snow tubing tickets, and start having fun. If you’ve got small children wanting to try it out, you can watch them for free. Or if you want to jump in on the. snowy fun, then the entire family can enjoy riding together.
If you’re looking for a thrilling snow tubing experience, check out Rowdy Bear Ridge. This park offers a variety of adrenaline-pumping activities, including a snow tubing hill over 500 feet in length and with a 70 foot drop. Don’t think of it as solely a winter activity either – the snow tubing at this park is open year round!
Because this tubing course is more intense than Pigeon Forge Snow, kids here need to a be older before they can participate. The height restriction here is a minimum of 48″ to ride alone or 40″ tall with an adult, so Rowdy Bear is best for families with bigger kids and teens. After some tubing, be sure to stop by their Sugar Bears Café and Creamery for some ice cream, hot chocolate, and sweet little treats.
Reservations are required here, so be sure to book yours in advance. You can check with the box office on a walk in basis, but the park is in high demand so typically all the lanes are booked out.
In addition to tubing, Rowdy Bear Ridge offers tons of other activities, including a snow coaster, axe throwing, and a playground for the kids.
Moonshine Mountain is in Hendersonville, North Carolina, which is a little under 2 hours from Gatlinburg. It’s a really fun place to take the family and offers more relaxed snow tubing than Rowdy Bear. Their minimum height requirement is just 36 inches, so people of all ages can enjoy riding here.
Moonshine Mountain has multiple lanes and makes their own snow. Snow tubing sessions are two hours here, so you’ve got plenty of time to get in some good snow tubing action.
After some tubing, you can grab lunch at their food truck, which has classic Southern BBQ, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Drinks and sides are available, too.
This park does not take reservations and is first-come, first served, so get here early to be sure you get a spot on the mountain. They are typically open only on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, but open extra days during the holidays, so it’s best to check their calendar before going.
If you love snow tubing and are heading to North Carolina, you may also enjoy some of the Best Snow and River Tubing Spots in Boone, NC.
Zip N Slip is also in North Carolina. It is located in Mars Hill, in the mountains about a 2-hour drive from Gatlinburg. So if you live in the Gatlinburg area it makes for a great day or weekend trip. Their snow hill is open to anyone aged 3 and up, so bring the whole family! Tickets start at just around $20, so it’s a very reasonable price.
This place offers plenty of spacious tubing lanes and magic carpet conveyors will take you back up to the top again. They are open seasonally and rely on real snow, so they are only open for the winter season.
If you want to go here, though, you need to get a reservation. They say on their website they have been booked out every day and turned away an average of 200 people per day, so you are very unlikely to be able to go tubing if you don’t have a reservation.
Cataloochee Ski Area is in Maggie Valley, NC, which is only about 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Gatlinburg. It is a beautiful, world-class ski resort complete with their own man-made snow, ski lessons, and lifts. Their slopes are perfect for skiers of all experience levels, from beginners up to black diamond trails that challenge the most experienced.
In addition to skiing, Cataloochee has a really cool snow tubing area called Tube World. They open as soon as they can make snow, and while the exact date may vary they strive to be open by Thanksgiving Day. It has lots of lanes and a magic carpet conveyor belt to take you back to the top of the mountain.
Snow tubing sessions are 1 hour and 45 minutes here, and you must be at least 42″ tall to ride. Unfortunately, there aren’t places for family to watch and there isn’t an area for kids under 42″, so this isn’t really the most family-friendly tubing spots in the area. Still, if you are going only with people who can tube Cataloochee is a ton of fun.
Note that Tube World has a different address than the ski resort, so be sure you plug the right address in your phone when you go. Tube World is located at: 4821 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC.
The Bottom Line
If you’re in the Gatlinburg area and looking for some good snow tubing, you’ve got some awesome places to choose from. Some resorts in the area offer indoor snow tubing you can enjoy year-round, others offer seasonal fun you can enjoy during a winter vacation, and all are a great way to make memories with your friends and family.
If you’re reading this and snow tubing is out of season, you may want to check out my posts on Tubing in Blue Ridge and on Whitewater Rafting in the Smokies. Both of them offer a lot of info on kayaking, rafting, and tubing outfitters so you can get some river time in!