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gatlinburg during the fall

8 Amazing Things to Do in Gatlinburg in October

October is one of our favorite months to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains! Not only is this when the leaves in the trees start to change colors, but there are also a variety of fun and exciting things to do in Gatlinburg in October! From seeing the changing leaves to enjoying seasonal events, you’ll find so many great activities to do during your trip! Check out these 8 amazing things to do in Gatlinburg in October:

1. View the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

fall smoky mountainsAs we mentioned, October is one of our favorite times of year because it is when the leaves begin to change from their usual lush green to vibrant shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. Altogether, this leads to a magnificent view you truly have to see to believe. That is why making time to view the beautiful Smoky Mountains fall foliage is one of our favorite things to do in Gatlinburg in October.

It doesn’t matter if you are making time to take a scenic hike to get an up close view of the leaves or if you simply want to drive through the foliage from the comfort of your car, we guarantee you will not be disappointed in what you find.

For specifics, you can expect to see the leaves reach their peak color by the middle of the month. However, they begin to change as early as the end of September. We will update our Smoky Mountains fall foliage forecast as the season progresses. 

2. Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival

The entire city of Gatlinburg celebrates the seasons changing with the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival! Businesses have pumpkins, gourds, and other seasonal decorations lining the storefronts. You’ll spot scarecrow people all over town, making you feel like fall is in the air! This event takes place mid-September through late November, so you have more than just one month to enjoy the beautiful decorations in downtown Gatlinburg!

3. Trick or Treat Kick-Off Karnival

aquariumThe fall foliage is not the only thing October is known for. It is also the month of Halloween, the perfect holiday for your inner ghost or ghoul! And what better place to let your spooky side come out than at the annual Trick or Treat Kick-Off Karnival!

On October 31, families will descend on Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza for a fun event filled with costumed characters, candy, and contests. Guests are encouraged to dress up for the Karnival, and the festivities will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s easy to see why the Trick or Treat Kick-Off Karnival is one of the most popular things to do in Gatlinburg in October.

4. Ripley’s Fright Nights

If you haven’t quite had your fill of Halloween adventure, you and your family or group should plan a visit to Ripley’s Fright Nights. Held at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure in Gatlinburg, this event takes an already spooky experience and turns it up a notch to create a thrilling and memorable evening for you to enjoy. Ripley’s Fright Nights run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the month of October. Admission prices for Fright Nights are the same as regular prices for Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. 

5. Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair

handmade potteryIf you are looking for something a little less creepy and a little more crafty, we suggest you add a visit to the annual Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair to your list of fun things to do in Gatlinburg in October. This exciting event is where you and your family or group can witness the many great talents of hundreds of artisans and craftsmen from all across the country as you explore the exhibit area of the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Crafts featured at this event include glass blowing, metal works, pottery, painting, and more! For specific dates and hours for this year’s festivities, visit the official website for the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair.

6. Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg

For a truly unique experience during your next vacation to Gatlinburg in October, we recommend you and your loved ones visit our friends at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and join them in their annual Oktoberfest celebration. One of the more interesting events in the area, this celebration is designed to honor authentic German traditions and influence on the area. Here, you can find a variety of delicious foods, outdoor games, festive music, and more!

7. Autumn at Anakeesta

anakeesta in the fall pumpkin scarecrowThere’s no better place to welcome the fall season than with incredible views of the Smokies, delicious food, and fun activities! Autumn at Anakeesta is a seasonal event that takes place from September 16 to October 31, where guests can enjoy the colorful leaves that this season brings, as well as other fun things to do! Enjoy listening to live music in Black Bear Village, and don’t forget to try the seasonal food and drink menus! You can get the classic pumpkin spice latte, and eat a delicious meal at one of the restaurants! You won’t want to miss out on Autumn at Anakeesta!

8. Boo Bash

Another fun thing to do in Gatlinburg in October is Gatlinburg SkyLift Park Boo Bash! This family-friendly event provides an opportunity for visitors to walk the haunted SkyTrail and meet spooky animatronics along the way! At night, relax on the SkyDeck and watch family-friendly Halloween movies. Boo Bash runs October 1 – 31.

More Things to Do in Gatlinburg in October

Everyone will enjoy these fun things to do in Gatlinburg in October! For more fun and exciting things to do in the Smoky Mountains, check out our Gatlinburg Events calendar!