If you’re coming to the Smokies during the Autumn months, we know you’ll want to spend some enjoying the beautiful fall foliage. The bright red, orange and yellow colors light up the mountains to create a one-of-a-kind view. Here are 4 of the best places to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Clingmans Dome
As the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clingmans Dome sits at 6,643 feet above sea level. At the peak, there is an observation tower with a 360-degree view of the Smokies. During the fall, these views are outstanding! You can reach the tower by driving up Newfound Gap and taking Clingmans Dome Road toward the parking area. Make sure to snag a few pictures while you’re in the tower and take your time soaking in the views.
2. Newfound Gap
If you’re looking to take a scenic drive through the Smokies, Newfound Gap is the perfect route! As the lowest pass through the mountains, there are plenty of spots along this road to see the gorgeous fall foliage. As you drive along Newfound Gap, you’ll reach an overlook that’s a great place to get some pictures of the views. At sunrise or sunset, the sun lights up the colors to create a view you’ll never forget.
3. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
While you’re on your driving tour through the mountains, make sure you check out the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Slightly over 5 miles long, this road is a one-way loop that runs along a mountain stream. There are also various historic Appalachian buildings throughout the route, including log cabins and grist mills. There are various pull offs and hiking trails to explore on Roaring Fork and during the fall this trail is covered in lovely colors.
4. Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hiking trails for multiple reasons. First, the beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail is perfect for family photos and a resting spot to have a snack and catch your breath. Second, the trail is only 2.6 miles long and is fairly easy for hikers of all skill levels. During Autumn, the combination of the waterfall and the fall colors makes for an unforgettable experience. Various wildlife is also seen frequently on this trail, so keep an eye out for deer, black bears and birds of prey.
Other Places to See Fall Colors
The best time to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains is normally from mid-October to early November, while this can vary year to year. If you don’t feel like venturing into the national park to see the views, there are various spots in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg that offer easy access to these colors.
From late September to the end of October, SkyLift Park hosts Autumn Adventures to celebrate the lovely colors and changing of the seasons in the Smokies. Make sure you walk the Gatlinburg SkyBridge and check out the fall colors from 1,800 feet. SkyBridge is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America and has a 30-foot see-through glass flooring section where you can see all the way down to the forest floor.
Anakeesta in Gatlinburg provides an immersive mountain experience for all its guests, including an observation tower and a Treetop Skywalk that travels through the forest. You’ll have a front row seat to the beautiful fall colors in the Smokies when you spend a day in Anakeesta.
Now that you know more about the best places to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains, you can plan to visit a few of these places next time you’re vacationing in the area. Still looking for somewhere to stay? Check out all of our cabins with mountain views so you can see the views from the comfort of your rental.