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Does It Snow In Tennessee? – A Winter Holiday Amidst the Appalachians

Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas without the frosty outdoors. So, if you are planning to go to Tennessee during winter and want to know whether or not it snows here, this article is for you. We will discuss everything you need to know about snowfall in Tennessee, where you can see snow, and how you can keep yourself chuffed during your winter holiday.  

Does Tennessee Get a Lot of Snow?

Snowstorm in Tennessee

Not a lot, but Tennessee does get snow. Tennessee is in the southeastern United States, and it has a humid subtropical climate. However, in the western part of the Appalachians – the Smoky Mountains – the climate is temperate during spring, autumn, and summer, and the winters are cold.

This region in the United States experiences the highest precipitation from December to April, and the driest months are from August to October. West Tennessee and the mountains experience snow during winter, ranging from 5 to 16 inches. Winter storms and ice storms are pretty common, too.

You might also be interested in: Does Hawaii get Snow?

What are Winters like in Tennessee?

Winters in Tennessee are mild, except in the mountainous region. Daytime temperatures are around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but the nights are freezing cold.

What Months Does it Snow in Tennessee?

Tennessee’s winter spans from December to February. Winters are generally mild, but the mountains, Smoky Mountains, in particular, receive a substantial amount of snow.

As for the question of what month does it snow in Tennessee, the answer is January and February, but there can be a bit of snow in November and December as well, particularly in the higher elevations. The coldest month in Tennessee is January, and the snowiest months are January and February.

November

In theory, November is the first month of snowfall in Tennessee, although there isn’t much snow to be seen. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see snow at all.

December

The average snowfall in December is 2 inches, although snow disappears as soon as it hits the ground. If you really want to see snow in Tennessee during December, head to the mountains (we will discuss the places where you can see snow in the latter part of the article, so keep reading!)

January

Tennessee receives the highest amount of snowfall during January, an average of 4 inches, making it the snowiest and the coldest month.

February

February is the second coldest and snowiest month in Tennessee, with an average snowfall of 2 inches.

Does it Snow in Tennessee for Christmas?

Well, technically, you can see snow in Tennessee anytime between December and February. However, the chances of seeing snow during Christmas are pretty low – unless you are in the mountainous region. I

In Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, there’s a small chance of seeing snow, but don’t count on it.

Does Tennessee have Four Seasons?

Smoky Mountains in Autumn

Yes, Tennessee has four distinct seasons with a climate that varies from the eastern region to the western region.

Dogwoods and budding flowers characterise springtime, while summer is extremely hot and makes you want to jump in the pool whenever you have the chance. The winter is mild with occasional flurries of snow, and the mountain range can sometimes be covered in snow.

Autumn is the most beautiful season in Tennessee, with everything turning orange and brown – it’s so enchantingly beautiful that people from the other side of the world come here for their autumn holiday.

Does it Snow Anywhere in Tennessee?

It can snow anywhere in Tennessee during winter, but in reality, only a few places have the certainty of snowfall. The Appalachians are one such place; it has the highest chance of seeing snow.

Where Does it Snow in Tennessee?

Snowfall in Smoky Mountains

Let us help you decide on the best destination for your winter vacation in Tennessee.

The Great Smoky Mountains

Known for its diverse plant and animal life, the Great Smoky Mountains is a national park that sits between Tennessee and North Carolina. This is one of the few places where you can still see the echoes of Appalachian Mountain culture.

Winter in the park is mild; however, the higher the elevation, the colder the temperatures – in the valley, you will experience warm temperatures, and in the higher areas, you can see snow.

Snowfall in the higher mountains is frequent; during a snowstorm, you can see about two feet of snow covering the ground. For the best chance of seeing snow, you should visit in January and February. Apart from the snow-covered views, you can enjoy a lot of activities here, including skiing and hiking.

Gatlinburg

Previously known as White Oak or White Oak Flats, Gatlinburg is a resort city in the mountains. Located 39 miles from Knoxville, the city sits at an elevation of 1,280 feet, with an average annual snowfall of 9 inches. The city borders the Great Smoky Mountains, which makes it one of the most visited destinations in Tennessee during winter.

In addition to the appeal of the Great Smoky Mountains, the city is bursting with restaurants and Christmas attractions. Hiking and skiing are popular things to do here, but you can do some shopping as well.

If you are planning to visit Gatlinburg, you definitely need a warm coat and a good pair of walking shoes; the ground gets quite icy, and it’s really cold at night.

Knoxville

The southern region of Tennessee rarely gets snow, but there’s a slight chance of seeing snow in Knoxville. The temperatures are low enough to prompt snowfall, and if the weather works in your favour, you might see about four inches of snow. Also, this is one of the best places to do some Christmas shopping.

Nashville

Compared to the locations we’ve already talked about, your chances of seeing snow in Nashville are low, but this is the capital of Tennessee, and it comes alive during winter, so it’s worth a visit.

You might not be able to partake in snow activities here because the snow disappears the moment it touches the ground, but there will be flurries of snow whirling around.  

Cookeville

Another place to see snow in Tennessee is Cookeville, located in the southern region of Nashville. If the weather conditions work as they should, you’ll see about seven inches of snow. The winter months here are cold, so you’ll need lots of warm clothes.

Cookeville welcomes the festive season with a lot of activities, Christmas décor, and Christmas markets. So, even if you may not see snow here, the town will certainly awaken the Christmas spirit in you. 

Kingsport

This is not the most popular destination in Tennessee, but thanks to its northern location, the town does see some snow during winter, particularly in December and January. There can be about 16 days of snowfall, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a significant amount of snowfall in this part of the state. Also, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

Hartford

A small community located within the Cherokee National Forest in the northeastern area of the Great Smoky Mountains, Hartford receives an average snowfall of 12 inches annually. January is the coldest month, with temperatures as low as 28.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Max Patch

A bald mountain near the Tennessee border, Max Patch, is a major landmark along the Appalachian Trail. The mountain is known for its panoramas of the Bald Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Unakas, the Black Mountains, and the Great Balsams. In early March, there can be a scant covering of snow. Skiing and hiking are popular activities.  

Pigeon Forge

Located north of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is a mountain resort town that sees snow from November to March. The average snowfall is 6 inches, but the chances of seeing the ground covered in snow are low.

Even if you don’t see a thick carpet of snow here, if you are a fan of country music, you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained during your winter holiday.  

Is Tennessee Fun in the Winter?

Woman Hiking in Snow

Yes, Tennessee winters are extremely fun. Even though winters are not extreme and you might not see snow unless you visit the Appalachians, there’s plenty to keep you delightfully entertained during winter. Here are some of the things you can do and places you should visit during your winter holiday!

Winterfest Lights

Watch as the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville transform themselves into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights; the towns get all wintery and Christmassy with elaborate light displays. Visitors are offered light tours, parades, and many Winterfest events.

Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains

In need of adventure? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will offer you the right dose of skiing and hiking among the snow-covered ridges and tall trees.

Join a Guided Tour

First time in Tennessee? You should join a guided tour. The available tours include one-day tours, three-day tours, and guided museum tours.

Ice skating

Several indoor and outdoor ice-skating options are available.

Park  Open hours, days, and months
Wilderness at the Smokies – an outdoor ice skating rink of 3,200 square feet22nd December to 6th January 4 PM to 10 PM – Weekdays 10 AM to 10 PM – Weekends
Ober Gatlinburg near the Smoky Mountains – indoor skating10 AM to 7 PM – Sunday to Thursday 10 AM to 9 PM – Friday and Saturday
The Ice Chalet – indoor skating12 PM to 3.30 PM – Monday to Wednesday 12 PM to 3.30 PM and 8 PM to 10 PM – Thursday 12 PM to 5.30 PM and 7.30 PM to 10 PM – Friday 1.30 PM to 10 PM – Saturday 1 PM to 4.30 PM – Sunday   (Note that hours change during the holiday season)
Cool Sports – indoor ice skating11.30 AM to 1 PM – Weekdays   (Hours change during the holiday season and on weekends, so check their calendar before visiting)

Shopping

Indulge in a bit of Christmas shopping during your holiday. You’ll find plenty of street markets, malls, and roadside stores selling hordes of artisan Christmas items.

Visit the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community

Do some more shopping at the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, the largest community of artisans and crafters in the United States. There’s a diverse range of items for sale, from ceramics to stuffed animals. You’ll find around 200 shops here.

Take a Winter Drive

Taking a winter drive through Cades Cove is one of the most scenic activities you can enjoy in Tennessee.

Cades Cove is part of the Great Smoky Mountains. To get here, you’ll drive on an 11-mile one-way road, through the most captivating parts of the mountain range. You’ll have the chance to see some of the wildlife too; turkeys, coyotes, and black bears are frequent encounters.

Relax in a Smoky Mountain Cabin

Spend a few nights surrounded by snow-covered ridges, bare trees, and icicles in a Smoky Mountain cabin. This is the best way to relax, forget your daily cares, and reconnect with nature.

Ride the Great Smoky Mountains Wheel

There’s nothing more thrilling or picturesque than a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Wheel. You can do this any time of the year, but winter is the best time.

See the mountains covered in snow and enjoy the sweeping panoramas of Pigeon Forge. The pods of the wheel are climate controlled, so don’t worry about getting cold.

Visit the Museums

Tennessee is home to a number of museums, offering you a journey into the state’s eventful history and vibrant southern culture. Included in the list of must-visit museums are:

  • Historic Lairdland Farmhouse
  • Civil War Museum
  • Knoxville Museum of Art
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies
  • Titanic Museum
  • Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
  • Alcatraz East Crime Museum
  • WonderWorks
  • Hollywood Wax Museum
  • Bush’s Visitor Center