Autumn in Cades Cove

3 Best Ways to See the Smoky Mountain Fall Colors

The Great Smoky Mountains are known for being one of the top destinations in the country year-round, but when fall arrives, everyone wants to be in town. One glimpse at the rolling ridges covered in patchwork colors and you’ll understand why it’s one of the most beautiful times to experience Gatlinburg and the Smokies. One of the best things about the season is that there are plenty of options for viewing the autumn hues. Guests of all ages and physical abilities have the opportunity to experience one of the most stunning in Appalachia. Here are 3 of the best ways to take in the fall colors this year!

1. Time on The Trails

fall trees along Rich Mountain Lookout TrailOne of the best ways at any time during the year to experience the Smoky Mountains is by exploring the hiking trails. However, during autumn, hiking is easier for many due to the cooler temps and of course the extra beauty from the color foliage is always a treat. The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is perfect for guests that are new to hiking, that are using a stroller and for guests with mobility issues. The trail is wide, paved and flat but the area is still filled with beauty and offers views of the river as well as historical structures. Little River Trail, Middle Prong Trail, Trillium Gap Trail, Laurel Falls Trail, and quiet walkways are great hikes for visitors looking for an easy to moderate hike. If you want to get in a good workout and explore the higher elevations of the park, take a hike along the Appalachian Trail, to the summit of Mount LeConte, Mount Cammerer or Rocky Top. Before heading out on the trails be sure to stop in at the NOC in Gatlinburg for any needed maps, to rent hiking gear or purchase your own, updates to trail conditions, and much more.

2. Take a Scenic Drive

Guests that would rather drive than hike, or even just those that would like a mix of both, will love the scenic drive options here in the Smoky Mountains. As the fall colors begin to trickle down from the higher elevations of the national park you can take in the beauty from the top to the bottom by a number of roads in the area. Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road will take you to the highest points and give you glimpses of the earliest colors to show up. Pack a picnic and make a pit stop at the Chimneys Picnic Area to add a classic Smoky Mountain memory to your list. The Roaring Fork Motor Trail is located just outside of downtown Gatlinburg and is a fantastic mix of fall foliage, views, tranquil stream areas, historical structures and waterfalls. A drive along the Foothills Parkway from Wears Valley to Walland is one of the most impressive experiences in the Smokies and can easily be combined with a drive around Cades Cove. If you go to Cades Cove during your stay with us then be sure to take a drive through the Tremont area of the park and make your way back to Gatlinburg along Little River Road. If you’re up for it, take a bit of time and just explore the backroads as well and you may just discover a few gems surrounded by fall colors.

3. Take in Views of Fall Colors from Around Town

Gatlinburg pumpkin peopleSpending time at the local attractions is another great way to take in the fall colors while enjoying a little extra fun. Autumn at Anakeesta, Oktoberfest at Ober, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival and LumiNights, as well as time at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park are all excellent ways to celebrate the season. Setting up a guided tour with a local service is a great way to make the most of your time by allowing locals to show you the top spots for fall colors at the time of your visit. As our guest, you can save when booking with many of the local companies and visiting attractions. Click Here to view attraction tickets & packages.

Are you ready to experience fall in the Smoky Mountains?

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