Just one view of the mountains around Gatlinburg and it’s easy to understand why there are so many helicopter tours of the surrounding areas.
Because the Gatlinburg area is home to musical icons, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, some seriously warming moonshine, and numerous mountain trails and resorts, visitors flock to the area in all four seasons (What’s not to love!?).
Want to be one of them? You’ll probably want to take a helicopter tour while you’re in town, so we have provided you with 5 of the best helicopter tours in Gatlinburg.
The Top Helicopter Tours In Gatlinburg
Offering a scintillating bird’s eye perspective of this lush eastern Tennessee playground, numerous outfits provide stunning views of the national park, Mount LeConte, Douglas Lake, and more – and at multiple price points to keep your wallet happy. Let’s get into some of our favorites, from night rides to daytime engagements and beyond.
- Scenic Helicopter Tour
- Sevier County Aviation
- Smoky Mountain Helicopters
- Sky High Air Tours
- East Tennessee Helicopters
Location: Sevierville, TN
First on our list? Scenic Helicopter Tours is based out of Sevierville and provides fantastic and memorable helicopter rides above Pigeon Forge.
With several well-trained, expert pilots, Scenic has crept to the top of our list, namely because they instill confidence in us with a great experience, a user-friendly website (major points!), friendly pilots, and excellent customer service.
You can definitely tell they love flying people who have never flown before, or those who have had an unnerving experience on a commercial flight.
Wipe that slate clean with Scenic Helicopter Tours, a second-generation family-run business that offers a River Ride Tour, Lake View Tour, and Extended Lake Tour.
But even beyond that, when you take a helicopter tour of Pigeon Forge with Scenic, you’ve actually got a few thrilling options: flying over Great Smoky National Park, downtown Sevierville, downtown Gatlinburg on the way to Mount LeConte, a Pigeon Forge night flight, or the beautiful Wears Valley Tour.
Since you asked, our favorite flight is the Wears Valley Tour, which hits the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and travels over the foothills of Bluff Mountain.
Offering three different helicopter styles, these aircraft can accommodate anywhere from 2 to 6 people depending on the size of the exact aircraft. High above the sky, you’ll forget about all of your daily problems and truly get a bird’s eye view.
Book via the “Book Now” button on their website or call the number on their website – and don’t forget to check out their special packages. We know they’d love to help you get up in the air!
Location: Sevierville, TN
Let’s move on! Sevier County Aviation is unique in that it provides a thrilling helicopter ride over Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the surrounding areas, but it also offers helicopter and airline training on the side for those looking to get up in the great smoky skies for their own joy ride.
Their Gatlinburg tour is so beautiful that it’s the pilots’ natural choice for a good time, flying over Bluff Mountain before turning towards the Wears Valley that hit the Great Smoky Mountains. (This is easily our favorite part!)
They also have a specific Pigeon Forge tour that flies you 1,000 feet in the air, and we love that you can see Dollywood from the ‘copter, as well as numerous mountains and rock quarries.
Or, you can take the Douglas Lake route that goes over this gorgeous waterway created in 1943 by the Tennessee Valley Authority – be sure to look out for all the pontoon boats!
But our favorite flight offered by Sevier County Aviation is definitely the Clingman’s Dome, the tallest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – this flight takes you over 11,000 feet in the air for the view of a lifetime.
They’ve also got a tour called the Ultimate Tour that’s, well, a pretty epic ride, and can work with you to create custom rides for engagements, photo flights, and more.
We love that Sevier County Aviation means business. They don’t have the same style of customer service as Scenic Helicopter Tours, which relies heavily on friendly faces and bright jokes, but they offer the same professionalism – and that’s what matters. Great for all ages!
Location: Seviervile, TN
We love the folks at Smoky Mountain Helicopters for their consistent professionalism and their impressive knowledge about the area, and they understand the need to mark “flying in a helicopter” off your bucket list. (If you don’t have one yet, we suggest starting with that!)
Smoky Mountain Helicopters has been serving the Pigeon Forge area since 1964, so they know a thing or two about the area – mostly, how to celebrate its beauty with locals and visitors.
Offering two launching pads in the Pigeon Forge area, you’ve got options with this company. If you’re closer to Highway 66, check out the main Smoky Mountain Helicopters locations, and if you’re closer to Governor’s Crossing, Rainbow Road may be the better helicopter spot for you.
We love that the caring pilots at Smoky Mountain Helicopters take photos of and for you so that you can be present and enjoy the stunning views til the last drop. And if their other customers are any indication, flights with this company are totally worth it and customers feel completely safe in the air with these pros!
Location: Sevierville, TN
With some very reasonable prices, the folks at Sky High Air Tours got our attention right away – and they’ve got a really amazing plane to show for it.
Their airplane is a 1927 Waco Model 10 Straightwing – pronounced like “taco,” not like the town in Texas! – and she’s a real beauty, y’all. Short of finding a time machine, this Waco plane is the closest you may come to the area to heading back in time.
The owner is the pilot, too, adding a nice personal touch – he really knows the area and will answer any questions you have through your headsets. With three different flight lengths to choose from – 8, 15, and 30 minutes – your glide through the air is bound to be unique.
The longer 30-minute flight is our top recommendation since it goes over the gorgeous Douglas Lake and we think it makes a great anniversary gift (Just a thought!).
Just imagine the wind blowing through your hair as you fly around in this classic, rockstar plane from the Golden Age of Aviation. If only planes could talk; this bird has lived through a whole lot of American history.
We love that Sky High Air Tours offers an open cockpit plane typically housed at a small airport: similar to riding on a motorcycle, it removes the barrier between you and the world around you.
Maybe it’s the nostalgia, maybe it’s knowing that this FAA certified plane has lived nine lives, but many customers have considered their time with Sky High the highlight of their trip – and we have to agree. (Don’t forget to check out the Tennessee Museum of Aviation right nearby!)
Location: Sevierville, TN
East Tennessee Helicopters is a unique experience in that they offer charter flights, commercial flights, and private tours of the area – but let’s get into their private tours!
They’re also happy to help you out with any special events – reunions, engagements, marital bliss, whatever it may be.
But more than any other helicopter company we recommend, East Tennessee operates using a plug-and-play model, meaning you get to customize your trip over the Tennessee skies to your liking.
For what it’s worth, we highly recommend flying over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a beautiful experience above America’s most visited national park, but can you really go wrong with any of them? Not at all…
Let us know which helicopter charter company you use for your next Tennessee adventure!