The Ultimate Guide to the Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains

Scott Harness | 2nd October 2018

Autumn is finally here and we know what that means – gorgeous fall colors! Now that the fall equinox has passed, it is officially fall in the Great Smoky Mountains.  So, while temperatures begin to cool, there’s a few things everyone needs to know to help them plan the perfect fall getaway.

Beginning in late September, the leaves in the higher elevations begin to change and like a waterfall cascading down the mountain will continue to change to the lower valleys as the days progress through the month of October.  Typically, the middle two weeks of October are peak in the mountains, Pigeon Forge has brilliant colors typically through the end of the month.

Here are a few places that we recommend visitors go now to see the leaves before the peak of the season comes.

Newfound Gap Road

There is no questioning Newfound Gap Road’s popularity throughout the fall season, however for visitors traveling to the Smoky Mountains in mid-fall it is key to point out that you can still drive along this road and see some of the leaves changing colors at one of the many overlook stops. While driving on this Smoky Mountain driving trail, be sure to stop and see the Franklin D. Roosevelt and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., memorial on the Tennessee-North Carolina state line.

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is the tallest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From its observation deck, visitors can see upwards of 100 miles away on a clear day. Thanks to the high elevation that this deck has, Clingmans Dome is one of the first places guests can go to see the Smoky Mountains fall colors begin to change.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is hands down one of the most popular areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. An area that is known for its beauty year round, we encourage guests to drive the loop road when the leaves are at their peak. If you want to capture the true majestic beauty of the Smoky Mountains fall colors, you will see them from Cades Cove.

Wears Valley

The peaceful mountain hideaway located between Pigeon Forge and Townsend, the Wears Valley area of the Smoky Mountains is a great place for families to go who are looking to a relaxing retreat from the hustle and bustle. This area is best-known for it’s rolling mountain view and quiet nature.

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