2018 Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage and Forecast

Fall colors in Cades Cove.
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Fall in the Smoky Mountains is one of the most beautiful times of the year. This is when the air begins to cool off a little and visitors from all across the country come to witness the Smoky Mountains fall foliage transform from deep greens to vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange.

The tricky part about visiting during this time of the year, however, is planning your trip around the peak fall color times. You don’t want to come too early before the colors change, and you don’t want to come too late when the trees have already shed their leaves for the year.

fall in the Smoky Mountains

We want to help you and your family experience fall colors in the Smoky Mountains, so we have put together our 2018 Smoky Mountain Fall Foliage and Forecast report. We have searched high and low to bring you all the up-to-date information on the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains to help you plan your trip!

2018 Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Forecast

The big question on everyone’s mind is, “when will the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains be at their peak this year?” Although we cannot quite give you an exact date, we can give you our predictions.

According to the experts cited by WBIR, the fall colors are expected to peak toward the end of October. The best time to take your scenic drives through the Smokies to experience fall at its finest is right around Halloween!

The leaves typically start to change around early to mid October. Fall foliage is most vibrant when temperatures are in the 70s during the day and drop into the 40s at night. East Tennessee has seen temperatures in the high 80s this October, causing leaves to change later than usual. As temperatures get cooler, the leaves turn brighter reds, oranges, and yellows! The highest elevations of the Smoky Mountains will likely have their most vibrant fall colors around mid October, and leaves in the surrounding area are expected to peak about a week later.

You can expect to see the fall colors when they are at their best in the last week of October through mid November!
Smoky Mountains fog in fall

How to Follow the 2018 Smoky Mountain Fall Foliage

To stay up to date on the 2018 Smoky Mountains fall foliage and weather forecasts, be sure to follow our Smoky Mountain weatherman, Paul Poteet. In his bi-weekly videos, Paul Poteet gives guests a summary of what to expect in terms of weather for the upcoming week, as well as a preview of any exciting upcoming Smoky Mountain events.

Be sure to check out all of his Smoky Mountain weather videos by clicking HERE.

Smoky Mountain Webcams

In addition to Paul Poteet’s reports, you can also follow the progress of the leaves by tuning in to one of the many Smoky Mountain webcams aimed to capture the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains. Here are links to come of our favorite Smoky Mountain webcams:

View of the Mountains from The Preserve Resort

View from Look Rock via the National Park Service (Middle Elevation)

View from Purchase Knob via the National Park Service (Upper Elevation)

View from Newfound Gap via the National Park Service 

What to Expect From This Year’s Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains

If you have never visited the area during the fall in the Smoky Mountains, be prepared to be amazed by the beautiful colors and scenery. Words cannot describe just how unbelievable the mountains look when the leaves change from the deep greens to the bright oranges, reds, and golds.

For a special preview of fall in the Smoky Mountains, be sure to check out this video:

An added bonus to the beautiful fall colors is that the color change makes it easy to identify trees in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each species of tree adapts its own fall shade this time of year, and visitors can easily pick out their favorite based on the leaves.

Here is a quick cheat sheet of which leaves belong to which trees based on their fall color:

  • Fall leaves sorround a bridge along the Chimney Tops Trail.Tulip Poplar: golden yellow
  • Birch: bright yellow
  • Black Cherry: yellow
  • Dogwood: deep red
  • Sourwood: brick red
  • Shining Sumac: red
  • Hickories: golden-bronze
  • Oaks: red, brown, or russet
  • Maples:
    • Sugar Maple: orange-red
    • Black Maple: glowing yellow
    • Red Maple: bright scarlet or orange

The area does see an increase of car traffic this time of year from visitors in town to see the Smoky Mountain fall foliage. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to experience the Smoky Mountains, so you can enjoy all of the colors.

Don’t miss your chance to see the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains this year! Take a look at all of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals to start planning right away! We can’t wait to see you soon in the Smoky Mountains!


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