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By far, 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, there are also a variety of fun and exciting things to do in Gatlinburg in October that we promise you and your loved ones will love.
To discover all of our favorite things to do in the area during this time of year, read below!
As we mentioned, October is one of our favorite times of year because it is when the leaves in the trees 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.
The 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! The festivities will run from 1 – 5 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.
3. 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 up the notch a bit 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. Shows start at 6 p.m. with a character parade. Admission prices for Fright Nights are the same as regular prices for Ripley’s Haunted Adventure.
If 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! You will even be able to enjoy a series of country and bluegrass concerts from The Dennis Lee Band.
For specific dates and hours for this year’s festivities, visit the official website for the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair.
5. Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg
Last, but not least, 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!
For more fun and exciting things to do in Gatlinburg in October, and the rest of the year, check out our Gatlinburg Events calendar!