Have you been wishing you were on ol’ Rocky Top, down in the Tennessee hills?
Although Rocky Top is technically on Thunderhead Mountain, both it and Gatlinburg are in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Well, now is the time to head to Gatlinburg. Fall Festival at Ober Mountain is in full swing and runs through October 28.
During the changing season, you can enjoy the colors of autumn while climbing 2.1 miles on the Ober Mountain Aerial Tramway. Once at the top, fun for the whole family awaits.
Break up into teams and see who can make their way through the hay maze with the fastest time. Or you can climb to the top of hay mountain and enjoy the slide back to the bottom.
Those who enjoy bicycles — or need to expend their kids’ nearly limitless energy — can pedal around the hay track.
Need to cool down while the temperatures are still somewhat high? Ober Mountain will hold a skate party at the ice rink every day throughout the festival. Concert-quality sound and lights will be provided by a rink-side DJ.
On Friday nights through October, the family can settle in for a movie under the stars, shown on a 22 foot LED digital screen.
Everyone knows you can’t have an October celebration without pumpkins. October 20-22 is the Giant Pumpkin Festival, including the carving of a 1,000 pound pumpkin.
Finally, the festival wraps up with a performance by Pandora’s Box, an Aerosmith tribute band, which will perform 7–9 p.m. as part of the Full Moon Concert Series.
Unique festival food
Fall favorites such as a schnitzel sandwich, Ober dunkel (German for dark) brats, pumpkin spice fudge, pretzels with Yee-Haw dunkel beer cheese, pumpkin juice and more.
Adults can imbibe a variety of German beers, including Hofbrau and Spaten, East Tennessee local Yee-Haw Brewing Co. and others.
More things to do on the mountain
Ober Mountain Adventure Park and Ski Area has lots of activities for young and old alike.
Tennessee Flyer: This mountain coaster begins with a 1,000 foot, leisurely, tree-covered tow to the top. The rider controls the speed of their descent, however. In a cart that accommodates one or two people, riders will coast down 2,750 feet of turns, dips, zig-zags, corkscrews and G-force adventures at speeds up to 25 mph.
Alpine Slide: Similar to the Flyer, you can control your descent along one of two 1,800 foot parallel tracks. These sled-like carts are smaller than the Flyer’s, and you control your speed with a push/pull lever. Ages 3-6 are required to ride with an adult.
Credit: Courtesy of Ober Mountain
Credit: Courtesy of Ober Mountain
Ice Bumper Cars: Hoping to cool down on the ice but have no skating ability? Try the new bumper cars. The round tubes have wheels that let them easily glide across the rink. Unlike amusement park bumper cars, each tube has its own motor and video-game-like controls. You can choose to bump others, spin in circles or just zoom around the ice.
All of these activities, as well as unlimited use of the tram, are included in the cost of a wristband. Zip lining, whitewater rafting and other off-site activities cost extra.
For ages 5-59, pay $49 for a daily wristband, with ages 60 and up paying only $39 (available in-person only). Ages 4 and younger are free with a paying adult, unless restricted by size or age.
For those wanting to explore the mountain but not take part in activities, a tram-only wristband is available for $29.
Ober Mountain Adventure Park & Ski Area
Address: 1001 Parkway Suite 2, Gatlinburg TN, 37738