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fall hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains

6 Best Hikes to Experience the Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

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There are many wonderful ways to soak up the bright colors of fall when you vacation in the Smokies! From staying in a cabin to taking a scenic drive, you can spend your entire trip checking out the trees that are scattered with shades of yellow, orange, and red. Another way to get a first-hand look at the trees is by taking a hike with your family! Here are 6 of the best hikes to experience the fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Gregory Bald Trail

Gregory Bald in the Smoky MountainsIf you are looking for a longer hike with excellent views, the trek to Gregory Bald is a fantastic option. The trail is 11.6 miles in length, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to reach the peak before sunset. From the bald, you will experience an unbelievable view of the mountains, which is even more incredible during the autumn months. While the best view can be found from the top of the bald, you will see plenty of fall colors all throughout the trail!

2. Low Gap Trail

There are so many reasons to make the trip along Low Gap Trail. In addition to gorgeous views, you can experience historical structures and plenty of nature. The final step of the hike is the Mt. Cammerer Fire House Lookoff. The tower was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the late 1930s and was used as a place to look for forest fires. Today, hikers can still climb inside the tower and be awarded a panoramic view of the Smokies. As you can imagine, the view during fall is unbelievable!

3. Alum Cave Trail

Alum Cave Trail in the Smoky MountainsThe Alum Cave Trail is one of the best hikes for viewing the fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains. During the hike, the trail gains roughly 1,200 feet in elevation, which is both challenging and rewarding. Once you reach the bluffs, you will be treated to one of the most picturesque views in all of the Smokies. You can look out over the mountain to experience a variety of gorgeous colors scattered throughout the trees. If you are up for more hiking, you can also continue along the trail past Alum Cave to reach the summit of Mt. LeConte!

4. Andrews Bald

Similar to Gregory Bald, Andrews Bald provides one of the best places to see fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains. However, the hike to the top is a little more manageable. At only 3.5 miles roundtrip, this hike is much more suitable for beginning-level hikers. It has become a much easier path over the years, partly thanks to the Trails Forever program which built rock stairs to help with the steep incline. Be sure to pack your camera so you can capture photos of the amazing fall foliage once you reach the top!

5. Chimney Tops Trail

Chimney Tops Trail in the Smoky MountainsAt just 3.3 miles roundtrip, Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular fall hikes in the Smokies. Once you climb the 360 stone steps to the top of the mountain, you will be greeted by a panoramic view you won’t soon forget! To reach the trail, drive from the Sugarlands Visitor Center along Newfound Gap Road. You will come to a large parking area with signs that read “Chimney Tops Trail.” From there, you can begin your journey to the Chimney Tops where you will see streams, beautiful leaves, and so much more!

6. Baskins Creek Falls

Not only does Baskins Creek Falls present an unforgettable fall view, but you can also see an amazing waterfall as well! The round-trip length of the trail is 3.1 miles, and it is generally one of the less crowded hikes in the Smokies. You will start off your journey with a hike through the woods, which are incredible to see during the autumn months. From there, you will pass over a couple of creeks before reaching the 40-foot waterfall! The thing that makes this view even more special in the fall is that you can take in the view of the waterfall with the backdrop of the fall colors behind it.

Now that you know about some of the best hikes to take this fall, check out some of the other ways to experience the fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains! We look forward to welcoming you this autumn to the Smokies!