9 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg in Fall

1. Viewing The Beautiful Fall Foliage

Enjoy the beauty of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains in the Fall. Fall foliage viewing begins around the beginning of October and continues through the second week in November and beyond.

You can enjoy the colors while staying in the comfort of your vehicle or take a hike to get a little closer to Mother Nature, trails for all levels of experience are offered in the National Park to enjoy the colorful fall foliage. The brilliant colors will be all around you. With over 100 species of native trees in the National Park the color will surround you. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Cades Cove and the drive up to Clingman’s Dome from Gatlinburg are all amazing during the fall.

2. Old Fashioned Wagon Rides/Hayrides

Gatlinburg offers Old Fashioned Wagon Rides through the unforgettable downtown streets. Kick back and enjoy a nostalgic, fun-filled wagon ride in downtown Gatlinburg, including views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that surrounds Gatlinburg on three sides as well as several Gatlinburg Winter Magic lighting displays beginning in November.

Departure is at Traffic Light #6 at Mountain Mall. Rides run from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and leave approximately every 45 minutes. Proceeds benefit United Way.  Rates are $4.00 per person. Beginning September 1st. Call 865-436-0535 for more information.

Cades Cove Riding Stables offers a 1.5 to 2 hour hayrides around the Cades Cove Loop Road. Guests sit on a bed of hay in a trailer pulled by a truck and enjoy an open air view of the beauty of Cades Cove. Reservations are usually required and can be made by calling (865) 448-9009. Rates are $6.00 per person.

3. Fall Festivals

The Great Smoky Mountains are filled with wonderful Fall Festivals from Townsend to Gatlinburg there is certainly a festival that will strike your fancy. The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival which is a county wide celebration, held in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, features an array of craft shows, a decorating contest and many other special events that are sure to keep everyone’s entertained. The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival continues on from September 15 – October 31 with many events to enjoy.

The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is one of the largest fall festivals. Over 200 Craftspeople from around the country assemble to exhibit their trades at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. This event consistently attracts the country’s finest artists and crafts people. The artists not only make their art available for viewing and sale, but they also demonstrate their special talents and skills.

4. Biking in Cades Cove

Bring your own bike or rent one of theirs to ride through beautiful Cades Cove. This ride is for part time recreational bikers as well as serious cyclists with an 11 mile loop to enjoy the beauty, wildlife and historical buildings. If 11 miles seams a daunting task there is a cut through to shorten the journey, and either ride is worth it.

From May 5 – September 22, 2010, the loop road is closed to motor vehicle traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. to allow cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy Cades Cove.

5. Zip Lining

There is no more exhilarating way to enjoy the beauty of Great Smoky Mountain fall foliage than on one of the areas many ziplines! You’ll find ziplines in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend, and Sevierville. Flying through the trees at up to 40 miles per hour is an experience you’ll never forget.

Ziplines is the fastest growing attraction in the Great Smoky Mountains, where awe inspiring panoramic views meet heart-pounding excitement!

6. Whitewater Rafting

There is nothing quite as exhilarating as rafting on an untamed river. There are several outfitters that conduct guided trips down the Pigeon River and other regional rivers.  The Pigeon River runs through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. The class 1 and 2 rapids on the Lower Pigeon are perfect for families with small children under 8 (or 70 lbs.), while class 3 and 4 rapids in the Upper Pigeon are for taking it to the edge. Stretches of the river also offer you time to enjoy the breath taking scenery and time to relax, maybe even a quick swim. Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest and the Appalachian Trail the Pigeon River traverses some of the most beautiful country in East Tennessee.

7. Golfing

There are several wonderful golf courses to play in the Smoky Mountains. Enjoy playing almost year round while enjoying views of the Great Smoky Mountains — from scenic to Championship courses.

Bent Creek Golf Course, designed by three time Masters and British Open Championship Winner Gary Player is a par 72 course that opened in 1972. The front nine hugs the valley floor while the back nine offers a challenging mountain course. A beautiful sparkling mountain stream meanders throughout the entire course making for a breathtaking contrast between water and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Southern Living Travel Guide rated Bent Creek Golf Resort one of the “Top Fifty Golf Courses in the South.”

Eagle’s Landing Golf Course is already known as one of the top public courses in the State of Tennessee. This 18 Hole par 72 Championship layout was nominated for Golf Digest’s “Best New Public Course” for 1995. But don’t let the spectacular scenery lull you to sleep. Eagle’s Landing is a true test for the avid golfer, and is a true championship quality course. In its first three seasons it has hosted such events as the Tennessee State Open Qualifying, the Knoxville Chapter PGA Championship, the Tennessee Intercollegiate Championship and the Mid-South Collegiate Championship. Being involved in the events is very special and speaks highly of the playing conditions offered at Eagle’s Landing.

Gatlinburg Municipal Golf Course is a beautiful course and a picturesque setting in the heart of The Great Smoky Mountains.

In prime condition after three-quarters of a million dollars in renovations, this course provides unique golfing excitement in a spectacular mountain setting.

The Gatlinburg Municipal Golf Course is open year-round with modern facilities, fully equipped pro shop and food services area. This beautiful 18-hole course was designed by noted golf course architect William Langford. In 1993 it underwent a major renovation by Bob Cupp & Associates of Atlanta.

8. Wildlife Viewing

You can enjoy many wildlife sightings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove, Cataloochee and the surrounding areas. You could see bears, white tailed deer, elk, wild turkey, fox and even barn owls. To enjoy these and other animals up close and personal there is the Deer Farm Exotic Petting Zoo, (pet and feed animals from reindeer to kangaroos), Parrot Mountain (tropical birds from all over the world), Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo (over 400 live animals), and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (with over 10,000 exotic sea creatures).

When you encounter wildlife in the National Park while driving, please pull to the side of the road to allow other vehicles to pass and to allow traffic to flow smoothly.

Spotting wildlife is very exciting but caution and respect is needed. Most folks understand that feeding wildlife is against the law, but many do not realize that disturbing park wildlife is also a violation of federal regulations and can result in fines or even arrest.

The laws protecting park wildlife are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations. It states that “Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces bear or elk is prohibited.” In addition, feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife is prohibited.

As a rule of thumb, if you approach an animal so closely that it changes its behavior, you have approached too closely. Instead use binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras with telephoto lenses to enjoy wildlife. Watch for any modification in an animal’s behavior that indicates that you have approached too closely. Move away from the animal until you reach a distance at which the animal feels comfortable once again and resumes whatever activity it was engaged in before you approached.

Never feed wildlife or bait animals for closer observation or photography.  While staying in an overnight rental cabin be cautious if you find wild animals in the garbage. When eating, wildlife can become very aggressive.  Please contact the rental office to report any animal activity and keep all trash in animal proof containers. If not animal proof container is present, keep your refuge inside the rental cabin and have your rental company stop by to remove the garbage.

9. Enjoying a Cozy Cabin

Relaxing around a fireplace in a cozy cabin nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountain of east Tennessee – From economy to luxury cabins and everything in between, the Smokies have it all. From indoor Jacuzzi tubs and outdoor Hot Tubs, theater rooms, to romantic hideaways on the river or tucked away in the woods you can find your dream cabin in the mountains of east Tennessee. Bring your camera, your painting canvas, or a good book, and you can relax and unwind with great views of nature and the fall foliage. You won’t have a shortage of things to do if you can tear yourself away from your cabin.
Find a Cozy Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Fall Adventure, today!

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