To help leaf-peepers plan their autumn travel, CarRentals.com recently released its list of the 30 Most Gorgeous Fall Towns. We are pleased to report that one of our favorite Smoky Mountain cities made the list! Gatlinburg, TN was named the 8th best place for a fall road trip, beating out cities in Michigan, Maine, New York, New Hampshire, and Canada.
CarRentals.com praised Gatlinburg for its incomparable location on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The website noted that Gatlinburg and the Smokies are perfect for auto touring, as “there are all sorts of scenic overlooks where you can stop and snap some Instagram photos”. In addition to driving, CarRentals.com mentioned that visitors can enjoy spectacular aerial views of the fall foliage from the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway.
Whether you rent a car or drive your own vehicle, a fall getaway in Gatlinburg is absolutely spectacular! Read on to learn everything you need to know about enjoying an autumn escape in the Smoky Mountains.
Best Fall Drives Around Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains
There is nothing better than driving through the Smoky Mountains on a beautiful autumn day! Here are some of our favorite fall drives:
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Located minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a 5.5-mile, one-way loop road that offers stunning views of the fall foliage. Along the road, visitors will also have the chance to see a lovely stream, historic buildings, and a “wet weather” waterfall.
Newfound Gap Road
Newfound Gap Road stretches all the way from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC. Cutting through the heart of the national park, this 32-mile long road offers some of the most picturesque mountain views in the Smokies.
Attracting over 2 million annual visitors, Cades Cove is the most frequented section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During the fall, this gorgeous valley offers spectacular fall foliage and wonderful wildlife viewing. If you decide to visit Cades Cove in October, be prepared for heavy traffic.
Fall Festivals and Events in Gatlinburg
While the breathtaking fall foliage is definitely Gatlinburg’s main attraction, autumn also brings some fantastic seasonal festivals and events to town! Here are a few of the most popular fall happenings in Gatlinburg:
This new music and outdoor festival is sponsored by Sugarlands Distilling Company in downtown Gatlinburg. Featuring over 30 bands, whiskey tastings, running events, cycling events, a fishing tournament, and even more fun, the Sugarlands Mountainfest is shaping up to be a can’t-miss event!
Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg
The annual Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg is always a blast! Running from late September through the end of October, this German-themed festival offers delicious Bavarian-style food, an outdoor beer garden, oompah music, and plenty of beautiful mountain scenery. The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is a great way to get to the resort while enjoying unparalleled views of the fall colors.
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair has been named “One of the South’s Most Popular Events” by the Southeast Tourism Society. Bringing over 180 craftspeople and artisans from around the United States to the Gatlinburg Convention Center, this wonderful fair is the perfect place to pick up handcrafted souvenirs and gifts.
Book Your Fall Vacation in Gatlinburg
Looking for the perfect lodging for your fall getaway? Visit our Where to Stay in Gatlinburg page to find a listing of all the best cabins, condos, campgrounds, and bed and breakfasts in the area. We can’t wait to see you this autumn!