Gatlinburg Trolley Ride of Lights

Gatlinburg’s Trolley Ride of Lights tour takes visitors on a guided tour of the old town’s lighted Christmas displays.

Information on this page refers to the 2012 event.

Start out the holiday season on the right foot and enjoy Gatlinburg’s lighting spectacular with a fun tour through town. Gatlinburg’s Trolley Ride of Lights is the perfect way to jump start the holidays and really take in the old town’s Christmas magic.

With the holiday season really kicking into gear, trolley rides will continue through the month of January, departing at 6:30 p.m. each Saturday (except on December 2, 24 & 25) at the mass transit/trolley center at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies with additional tours at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and be sure to call 865-436-0535 for reservations.

The Trolley Ride of Lights is a chance to soak up every last bit of Gatlinburg’s holiday spirit as the trolley winds its way through streets decorated with garlands, wreaths and the occasional elf. The 45-minute tour is completely narrated so that no one will miss that oh so elusive display just around the corner, or the place you keep meaning to drive by, but have simply forgotten.

Cruise along Gatlinburg’s River Road taking in the one-of-a-kind LED lighting display. This latest lighting endeavor has a price tag of $1.6 million. You’ll notice newly-designed sections reminiscent of evergreens, winter forests, and romance. Bright lighting displays will align Hwy. 321 as well.

The whole lighting program itself was updated just a few short years ago to quarter-watt LED bulbs, replacing the 5-watt incandescent bulbs the program used to run on. This update saved the town nearly 95 percent in energy costs. It also allowed Gatlinburg to run the program for 120 days on what would have only covered 3.

Like in years past, you’ll pass by displays featuring Smoky Mountain creatures like deer, squirrels, foxes, and rabbits. You’ll also notice that many older displays that you might recognize as a child over the past 23 years have been updated as well. LED lighting now adorns Gatlinburg’s snowmen, dancing fountains, and a shiny rocking.

So don’t miss the trolley ride of lights, and make sure you’re waiting at Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza Saturday night at 6:30, 7:30 or 8:30 p.m. and enjoy the lights!

Reservations are encouraged as the ride typically sells out.

For additional holiday events check out Gatlinburg’s Calendar of Events for a complete list of Christmas festivals and additional things do around Gatlinburg during the holidays, as well as Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas in Pigeon Forge.

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