5 Best Places To See Fall Colors In the Smoky Mountains

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The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are known for many things.

First, there’s the beautiful mountains themselves. There are also hiking trails, roads leading to scenic overlooks, and waterfalls galore.

The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee draw people in with their incredible beauty year-round. However, one season stands out above all others: fall.

With its vibrant reds and yellows the Smoky Mountains transform into a beautiful blanket of fall foliage.

The best places to see fall colors in the Smokies range from places you can drive through and places where you can get out and walk around.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

Cades Cove is an eleven mile loop road around some incredible views in the Smoky Mountains.

You can just drive around the loop or you can stop along the way and do some hikes, explore the historical structures, or just take pictures of the beautiful scenery.

The historical buildings and structures include churches, cabin homes, and other structures like a barn and mill.

You will also have a chance to see some wildlife such as turkeys, deer and even black bears.

Clingman’s Dome

Clingmans Dome Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

Clingman’s Dome is the highest point along the Appalachian Trail at 6,643 feet. It offers incredible views of Mount LeConte and beyond from its peak.

And if you visit in October, you’ll also find yourself surrounded by changing autumn leaves.

After a short walk to the top of the Clingman’s dome, the panoramic views, fall foliage, and crisp air make this stop a must visit.

Visiting the dome is recommended in the beginning of the season since the leaves change faster in the higher elevations.

Newfound Gap Road

Newfound Gap Road Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

You can drive through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and see some amazing colorful views from Newfound Gap Road.

There are parking areas along the way where you can pull over and take a few snaps of the scenery, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blueridge Parkway Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

You can drive up along the Blue Ridge Parkway to see some of the best fall colors in the Smoky Mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is part of this scenic roadway, which means you can also access all kinds of hiking trails that offer views at their peaks.


Gatlinburg Smoky Mountains Fall

Gatlinburg is a picturesque town right by the Smoky Mountains.

It has many options for visitors to view the fall foliage including the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook which is a great vantage point to see the fall foliage as you’re driving to or from Gatlinburg.

The Gatlinburg SkyLift is a fun way to see some of the changing leaves while enjoying an awesome view. This one-of-a-kind attraction features gondolas that lift you high above town for views of downtown, mountain peaks, and places you on top of the Crockett Mountain where you can enjoy more views.

Go all the way up on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway on which the highest point is 300 feet off the ground. It is a great way to get to Ober which hosts OktOBERfest from September to October.

Located in the center of the little town, the Gatlinburg Space Needle offers an observation point that is 407 feet tall and give you 360 degree views of the fall colors around.


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When Is The Best Time To See Fall Colors In The Smoky Mountains?

The season for fall colors in the Smoky Mountains is approximately September through November.

However, if you are able to choose when you visit, the best time to visit is towards the end of October.

This is usually the time when most of the leaves have changed colors and are at their peak.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has even more options if you’re looking for an adventure like hiking trails with peak color change views!