Fall is arguably the most beautiful time of year in the Great Smoky Mountains. The green leaves and summer flowers are being left behind for vibrant oranges of the oaks, brilliant reds of the maples, and the golden yellow of the birch tree. With five different major forest types, the Smokies offer diversity and dynamic colors in the fall you won’t see anywhere else. Come see a list of fun things you can do in the Smokies in the fall.
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 140 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.
Old Fashioned Wagon Rides/Hayrides
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 $10-15 per person.
Kyker Farms Corn Maze is located in Sevierville, but it’s DEFINITELY worth the drive.
This historic farm has been a family operation for many years. They offer 5 unique corn mazes, tunnel slides, a mini zipline, a small farm display, and hours of family fun.
They offer a hayride with pumpkin picking, too! Buy a few local farm products on your way out – you’ll be glad you did!
The Great Smoky Mountains host wonderful Fall Festivals from Townsend to Gatlinburg. There is certainly a festival that will strike your fancy.
The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival is a county wide celebration held in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville. It 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 typically lasts 12 weeks each year, and concludes with a chili cook-off in November.
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. Pick up the perfect holiday gift for the person who has everything!
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.
If 11 miles seems like a lot, don’t worry! You can always cut the loop shorter by using Sparks Lane or Hyatt Lane.
From May to September, 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.
If you plan on renting a bike, arrive early. They do not reserve bikes ahead of time, and often sell out by 7:30 a.m.
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.
Ziplining is the fastest growing attraction in the Great Smoky Mountains, where awe inspiring panoramic views meet heart-pounding excitement!
There are several wonderful golf courses to play in the Smoky Mountains. Enjoy playing almost year round while enjoying views of the Great Smoky Mountain.
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.”
Sevierville Golf Club is located on Highway 66, right near The Wilderness Lodge. Enjoy beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains from this par 72 course. There is an extensive driving range, expansive putting green as well as a chipping area all to help work on and fine tune your game.
The Gatlinburg Municipal Golf Course, voted the best municipal golf course in Tennessee, is actually located in Pigeon Forge. 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.
You can enjoy many wildlife sightings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cades Cove, Cataloochee and the surrounding areas are rife with wildlife. You could see bears, white tailed deer, elk, wild turkey, fox and even barred owls.
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. Let the animal 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. Keep all trash in animal proof containers. If not animal proof container is present, keep your trash inside the rental cabin and have your rental company stop by to remove it.
If wild animals aren’t your thing, there are some up close and personal encounters you can experience in the Smokies:
Deer Farm Exotic Petting Zoo– pet and feed animals from baby goats to elk
Parrot Mountain – tropical birds from all over the world
Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo – over 400 live animals
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – over 10,000 exotic sea creatures
Enjoying a Cozy Cabin
Relaxing around a fireplace in a cozy cabin is a great way to enjoy the fall! From economy to luxury cabins and everything in between, the Smokies have it all. Indoor Jacuzzi tubs and outdoor Hot Tubs, theater rooms, amazing game lofts, and so much more await! From romantic hideaways on the river to 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!