The winter months are an exciting time in Tennessee. You'll find ample reasons to plan a winter getaway to the state. Here are just a few ideas on how to make some snowy memories:
Tennessee's largest city-owned park is in Kingsport. Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium is a 3,550-acre nature preserve that includes wolves, bobcats, reptiles and raptors. More than 25 hiking trails cover most of the park; so take a stroll around the lake or trek up to the fire tower. However you spend your day at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, you can be sure there will be plenty of winter magic to discover.
Explore 24,000 acres of wilderness made of hiking, biking and horse riding trails at Frozen Head State Park in Wartburg, about 46 miles from Knoxville. The peak of the Cumberland Mountains at 3,324 ft. is covered in ice and snow in the winter months. Perfect for that always-coveted Instagram photo op.
Explore 10 miles of hiking trails through the forested loops in and around Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Hiking with children? Take the Cedar Glades Trail, a half-mile trail that leads you through cedar woodlands and expansive glade openings. Stop at the educational signs peppered throughout the trail to learn about the ecology of the park and identify animals and plant species. If you want a longer adventure, embark on the Hidden Springs Trail, a 4.2-mile hike featuring streams, a deep sinkhole, rock formations and cedar woodlands. Enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature while passing through reclaimed home sites and crossing old country roads.
Henry Horton State Park is located on the shores of the historic Duck River, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Fishing, biking, golfing, hiking and even a trap and skeet range (includes skeet, trap, wobble trap and five stand shooting) can be experienced at the park. More than 10 miles of hikes are at Henry Horton, including the Wilhoite Mill Trail. This 0.7-mile trail begins near the site that late 1700s settlers made after the first known crossing of the Duck River. Then, the trail winds its way through old farm fields, remnants of abandoned farm homes, cedar glades and more. You'll see remnants of a mill as well. For views of the wetland and native grass fields, do the Adeline Wilhoite River Trail which leads to a 20-foot observation tower. The trail connects to the Wetland Trail and the 1.65-mile Adeline Wilhoite River Trail Loop.
While enjoying the blues, barbecue and soul of Memphis, take some time for some fresh air at T.O. Fuller State Park. Historically, it was the first state park open for African Americans east of the Mississippi River and is home to the Chucalissa Indian Village. You can see the village and surrounding wetlands on the four-mile Discovery Trail. The state park is also a great place for birding, where you can see rare black-bellied whistling ducks and nesting black-necked stilts.
See 15 Native American ceremonial and burial mounds at Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park, a national historic landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. Step into the museum first to learn about Native American culture and see artifacts. Then, hit the hiking trails where some are paved and ADA-accessible. You can walk or bike near the mounds, including the Sauls Mound, where you can climb the stairs to the observation deck. Follow the nature trails to see cypress swamps and woodlands. A boardwalk will let you view wildlife and plants at the cypress swamp and the Forked Deer River.
Foster Falls - Sequatchie
Dependent on temperatures and snow accumulation, you just might be lucky enough to see one of Tennessee's gorgeous waterfalls in all its frozen beauty, like Foster Falls. This 60-foot plunging waterfall is in Sequatchie, Tennessee and is a favorite among locals and visitors for its thundering waters and picturesque location.
Skiing and Tubing
Yes, Tennessee is home to its own ski resort, Ober Gatlinburg, where you can ski and snow tube, ice skate indoors and take a ride on the Ski Mountain Coaster year-round. Purchase a ski area ticket for unlimited access to all the slopes during your session. Ober Gatlinburg has all your gear covered as you can rent skis and snowboards, jackets, pants and helmets. After hitting the slopes, grab a bite to eat at Seasons of Ober Restaurant where you can soak in the views while dining on steaks, chicken and more from the seasonally-inspired menu. Take a spin on the indoor ice skating rink, open year-round, and browse the shops for apparel, gifts, jewelry and more.
Experience America's first indoor snow park at Pigeon Forge Snow, where winter fun can be had all year.
Ice Chalet - Knoxville
Have a party or enjoy an afternoon skating the ice rink every day with extended hours in late December to early January. View the full schedule to plan your day accordingly. You can purchase a public season pass for $25 which includes five sessions on the ice or a Public Session Pass Plus which includes skate rental for $45 and five sessions. One day admission is $6 and $6 for skate rentals.
Ice on the Landing Ice Skating - Chattanooga
Bring the whole family to the historic Glenn Miller Outdoor Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo to enjoy the seasonal return of Ice on the Landing Ice Skating Rink. Get a season pass for $100 or a family pass for $200 for a family of two adults and two children so you can experience the rink unlimited days and times Nov. 17 through Jan. 21, 2018.
Wilderness at the Smokies - Sevierville
Take a spin around the outdoor ice rink in the Winter Wonderland Nov. 17-Jan. 9, 2022 at Wilderness at the Smokies. Just in time for the holidays, bring the family to enjoy fresh air, some hot cocoa and s'mores around one of the fire pits and see Christmas decorations throughout the property. The rink is a ticketed attraction for the public and included in room rates for guests if you use the code ICESKATE at time of booking. Skates will also be available and skating lessons will be offered every Saturday (except Dec. 4, 2021).
Have a holly jolly holiday in Elizabethton by showing off your ice skating skills. Sail away on an open-air ice skating rink at Covered Bridge Park Nov. 27-Jan. 16, 2022. Make a reservation on Thursdays-Sundays for $10 which includes skates.
Ford Ice Center - Antioch
Take the family for a winter afternoon of ice skating at the Ford Ice Center in Antioch. Register online in advance to secure your spot for a public skate session. Skate sessions are $10 and include rental skates if needed. Need to learn how to ice skate? Take the seven-week session which includes ice skate rental for classes, a 30-minute group instruction with instructors on the ice at all times.