Tennessee Fall Foliage Draws Vacationers to Smoky Mountains

In late summer, Mother Nature begins drenching the Smoky Mountain hillsides in vivid hues, creating scenic vistas of spectacular beauty. Pair that with cool, crisp air and families can’t resist a fall vacation in Tennessee. While the area hosts several events, the main draw is the Tennessee fall foliage. Read on to learn where to see the most vibrant colors and things to do.

Tennessee Fall Foliage: Come to the Smoky Mountains

Hike the National Park

Spend your days hiking along wooded trails or bicycling down sun-dappled lanes. The Smoky Mountains National Park offers five popular trails that lead to waterfalls, hidden nooks and atop mountains. Many trails challenge expert hikers, while families with children have access to easy trails. Popular options include  Rainbow Falls, Chimney Tops and Porters Creek.

Take a Tennessee Fall Foliage Drive

Due to varied elevations, the fall color season in the Smoky Mountains lasts months. First spots of color begin to appear in mid-September. At the highest elevations, colors peak in early October; however the blaze of color doesn’t saturate the valleys until late October and early November.

To see all the area offers, consider a long drive in the mountains. Three popular fall foliage drives offer spectacular views, including Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which begins in downtown Gatlinburg. Other options are Newfound Gap Road — which traverses the national park — and Blue Ridge Parkway, which crosses US 441 just south of the park’s south entrance near Cherokee, NC.

Day Trip to Cades Cove

One of the most popular destinations in the Smoky Mountains is Cades Cove. The 11-mile loop provides a glimpse into life during the early 1800s. The route welcomes walkers, bicyclers and drivers to see the sites and natural beauty. Those visiting in October and November will see colorful foliage as well as churches, cabins and restored buildings.

Attend a Fall Festival

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge hosts dozens of events in the fall. Craft fairs, food festivals, live music and downhome fun — it’s here in the Smokies. In Sevierville, attend the month-long Smoky Mountain Harvest Fest in October. Listen to live music and sample beer at Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg. Don’t forget to shop the annual Gatlinburg Craftmen’s Fair.

Start planning your Tennessee fall vacation and browse Smoky Mountain vacation rentals.