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Fall colors along a road near Gatlinburg.

5 Scenic Drives in the Smoky Mountains You Can’t Miss this Fall

There’s nothing more beautiful than the Smoky Mountains in the fall. Getting to see the bright reds, oranges, and yellows spread across the trees is something you won’t want to miss. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your car to see the sights, there are plenty of scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you can take! Here are 5 scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you can’t miss in the fall:

1. Newfound Gap Road

newfound gap in the fallNewfound Gap Road is the lowest drivable pass through the mountains. It has an elevation of 5,046 feet, and this area is one of the first where the leaves change colors. Newfound Gap Road gets its name because of a Swiss geographer named Arnold Henry Guyot. He used a barometer to calculate pressure changes in the air to see how high mountains were in the air and discovered Newfound Gap was actually the lowest gap, displacing Indian Gap. You’ll have great views of the mountains while you drive along this road. You also get to see the forest up close as your drive through the mountains.

2. Foothills Parkway

Ever since 1944, Foothills Parkway has been under construction. The first stretch was completed in 1968, and the next portion was completed in 2018, which is known as the Missing Link. Now you can drive along the 33 miles, seeing incredible views of the mountain ranges. In the fall, you’ll have a great view of the bright colors and get to drive right through the mountains to really get a good look at this beautiful area.

3. Cades Cove Loop

Cades Cove during fall seasonCades Cove Loop is a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains you definitely don’t want to miss. The Loop is 11 miles long, taking you through a valley that is surrounded by the mountains. You might see black bears and other wildlife while you’re driving along. There are plenty of places where you can stop and get out to take pictures of the beautiful landscapes and old buildings you’ll see along the way. There are also hiking trails throughout Cades Cove. This is one of the most popular drives in the Smokies!

4. Roaring Fork Motor Trail

If you want to get off the beaten path and see something a little more rustic, you should go on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. It’s named after the Roaring Fork stream you drive past, which is very impressive after it rains. You also get to see many old buildings along this drive and old forest growth. It’s a one-lane road, and you’ll love it in the fall!

5. Little River Road

little river road light fall colorsLittle River Road goes from Gatlinburg to Townsend. It gets its name since the road winds along the Little Pigeon River for 18 miles. There are a few outlooks along this road that give you an incredible view of the mountains; you’ll also see waterfalls. Along this road, you’ll get to see all the fall colors!

Learn more about the Smoky Mountain fall foliage before you visit!

The fall is a great time to take a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains because of all the colors and the cool weather! Are you wondering what else you should do while you’re in town? Check out these other fun things to do in the Smokies!