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Fall colors in the Smoky Mountains

9 Ways to Experience Fall in the Smoky Mountains

We at Visit My Smokies could not be more excited that fall in the Smoky Mountains is just around the corner. Not only is this the time of year when the weather begins to cool off and we can start planning a relaxing evening by a fire, but it is also the time of year where the leaves in the mountains change into a stunning collage of colors.

If you have never seen the leaves during the fall in the Smoky Mountains, you and your family do not know what you are missing. That being said, why not make this year the year to experience this natural beauty by trying your hand at one or many of our favorite fall activities from the list below.

Do you have your own favorite fall in the Smoky Mountains story that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

1. Go hiking in the Smoky Mountains

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a perfect outdoor activity that you and your family will enjoy all year long, however during fall in the Smoky Mountains this outdoor adventure becomes even more enjoyable thanks to the beautiful colors in the trees that line the trails. It is still warm enough outside to enjoy a lovely hike without having to pack a lot of extra layers, but it is cool enough that you won’t have to worry as much about becoming too tired or dehydrated during the hike.

Some of our favorite fall hikes in the Smoky Mountains include:

  • Mother and child playing in the fall in the Smoky MountainsRainbow Falls (5.4 miles round trip)
  • Mt. Leconte (14.4 miles round trip)
  • Gregory’s Bald (11.3 miles round trip)
  • Abrams Falls (5 miles round trip)
  • Alum Cave (4.4 miles round trip)
  • Rich Mountain Loop (8.5 miles round trip)

2. Explore Roaring Fork Motor Trail

The Roaring Fork Motor Trail is a 6-mile loop road that takes guests on a scenic tour through the Smokies. This trail is particularly inviting during the fall in the Smoky Mountains thanks to the natural beauty that calls the area home.

Here, guests can catch a small glimpse of what the area used to look like when the early settlers were here thanks to the many historic buildings found along the trail.

For more informaiton on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, be sure to visit the National Parks Service’s website.

3. Climb to the top of Clingman’s Dome

Clingmans Dome during fall in the Smoky MountainsIf you are looking for a place that offers unparalleled panoramic views of fall in the Smoky Mountains, then look no further than the observation deck at Clingmans Dome. After a short half mile hike to the deck, visitors will find a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains that stretches up to 100 miles, depending on the weather.

In addition to the views, guests to Clingmans Dome will also find one of the park’s many informative Visitor Centers where you can pick up a new souvenir or keepsake to remember this year’s fall trip to the Smokies.

4. Go to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle

Want to experience fall in the Smoky Mountains at an incredible height without having to hike? That’s easy. All you have to go is take a visit to the Gatlinburg Space Needle.

This Gatlinburg attraction stretches 400 impressive feet into the air, and offers guests a truly panoramic view of downtown Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.

While you are there, be sure to plan for some time to catch one of the exciting shows at the Gatlinburg Space Needle, or spend some time in the attraction’s huge arcade area.

5. Go white water rafting in Gatlinburg

white water rafting in GatlinburgWe know what you are thinking, the weather is starting to cool off, so it is probably too cold to go white water rafting in Gatlinburg, right? Actually, the answer is no. Right at the beginning of the fall season, the whitewater rafting companies are finishing up their rafting season. This means, you can catch an early fall excursion on the river.

6. Visit Cades Cove

When you think of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is hard to not have Cades Cove be one of the first places that come to mind. If you have never been there, Cades Cove is a whole new category of scenic Smoky Mountain views. Not only are you surrounded by mountains, but the open fields and historic home sites really make guests feel as if they have stepped out of the modern day, and they have traveled back in time to the early 1800’s.

7. Drive Newfound Gap Road

Road covered with leaves in fall in the Smoky MountainsNewfound Gap Road is one of the most popular roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Not only is this the road that guests can take between Gatlinburg TN and Cherokee NC, but it is also the road that leads guests to Clingmans Dome and the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial.

This road is particularly popular during the fall in the Smoky Mountains because of all the scenic overlooks that guests can find along its shoulder. Perfect for snapping a few photos and taking a moment to clear your mind, you really won’t find any better fall views in the Smoky Mountains than along Newfound Gap Road.

8. Fly through the trees by zip lining in Pigeon Forge

Unlike any other Smoky Mountain attraction, zip lining in Pigeon Forge not only takes guests past some of the most scenic views in the area, but they actually get to fly through them as well.

Perfect for thrill seekers and people who have always wanted to fly, zip lining in Pigeon Forge is a great way to combine your love of the Smoky Mountains with your love of adventure.

Click here to learn about a few of our favorite places to go zip lining in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

9. Enjoy the Taste of Autumn Event in Gatlinburg

Every year, the United Way of Sevier County puts on the Taste of Autumn event in downtown Gatlinburg at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Here, guests will experience delicious fall food items from several of the area’s most popular restaurants and distilleries.

Ready to begin planning your family’s next relaxing vacation for this fall? Now that you have figured out which of the above fall Smoky Mountain activities is right for you and your family, all you have to do is find the perfect Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin rental or bed and breakfast to stay in while you are here.