Home » Blog » Smoky Mountains » Ultimate Guide to the Best Places to See Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains
fall foliage at sunrise in the Smokies

Ultimate Guide to the Best Places to See Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains

As the temperatures begin to drop and the summer season winds down, the feeling of fall is right around the corner. The Smoky Mountains are the perfect place to visit this time of year, mostly because of the beautiful colors the leaves turn during autumn. No matter what part of the Smokies you are visiting, there are great places to get the best views of the amazing scenery. Here is the ultimate guide to the best places to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains:

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

river in the Smoky Mountains during fallTaking a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best ways to take in the fall foliage. There are many different activities you and your family can do to experience the changing leaves, including hiking. There are an endless amount of trails that you can take that lead you to the best views of the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains. If you want the best views, you might as well start at the highest elevations because that is where the leaves will change first.

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smokies at 6,643 feet. On clear days, you can see up to 100 miles away. There is also an observation tower there where you can capture some amazing pictures of the colorful leaves. If you want a way to see the scenery without having to hike, you can also take a drive through Cades Cove. The 11-mile loop offers many places where you can pull off and take a moment to take in all the beauty that surrounds you. While you are enjoying the fall colors, be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife roaming the fields, including white-tailed deer. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers an endless amount of great trails and roads to take in the beauty of the fall foliage!


Gatlinburg sunset during fallLocated just outside the national park, there are a number of great attractions you and your family can enjoy in Gatlinburg that are perfect for seeing the beautiful fall leaves. One of the best places to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains is from the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. This 407-foot observation tower offers a breathtaking view of downtown Gatlinburg, as well as the Smokies. When the leaves are changing, the view from the top of the tower is unmatched. In addition to seeing fall foliage, you can also have an educational experience while you are there. With the help of the viewfinders on the observation tower, you can learn more information about all the different things you are seeing!

Another great attraction in Gatlinburg to visit during autumn is the Gatlinburg SkyPark. Not only will you experience great views on the way up to Crockett Mountain, but there are a ton of thrilling activities that await when you get to the peak of the mountain. If you want to see the best views of the changing leaves, take a walk across the SkyBridge. The bridge stretches 680 feet across the valley, and offers amazing views on both sides! These are just a couple of the best attractions in Gatlinburg to visit this fall!

Pigeon Forge

island in pigeon forge during fallPigeon Forge is full of amazing activities that your whole family will love! While you are having fun, you can still take time to enjoy the amazing views at some of the best attractions. At Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark, you can take part in Tennessee’s first, fastest, and longest year-long outdoor tubing hill. Before you start to slide down the hill, you will be treated to an amazing view of the Smokies. During the autumn months, you will see a large array of color changing leaves off in the distance that makes for a beautiful picture. The attraction even offers snow tubing beginning in October!

Another great activity in Pigeon Forge to take in the fall scenery is a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. Located at The Island, the ferris wheel lifts you over 200 feet in the air. Once you reach the peak, you will have a few moments to take in the magnificent views. All of the gondolas are completely made of glass so you are able to see out on all sides, which adds to the experience! While you enjoy the thrilling attractions in Pigeon Forge, you can also have the added bonus of seeing the changing leaves when you visit in the fall!

Want more information about when the leaves will start changing colors? Check out our Smoky Mountain fall foliage guide!