Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

There is nothing like fall in the Smoky Mountains! The Smokies offer some of the most spectacular fall colors you’ll ever see. This is a guide to everything you need to know about the fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains.

The Best Time to See the Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

Normally, fall colors in the Smokies will be their best around early November. Around the end of October, leaves in higher elevations will reach their peak. About a week later, trees in the lower elevations will show vibrant colors. Autumn foliage typically remains into early-mid November.

Guide to Spotting Trees Based on Their Fall Leaves


The changing of the leaves makes easier to identify trees in the Smoky Mountains. Each species has its own unique shade of color. Here is a look at some of the most well-known varieties of trees in the Smokies:

  • Shining Sumac: red
  • Dogwood: deep red
  • Sourwood: brick red
  • Red Maple: bright scarlet or orange
  • Oaks: red, russet, or brown
  • Birch: bright yellow
  • Tulip Poplar: golden yellow
  • Black Maple: glowing yellow
  • Hickories: golden-bronze
  • Sugar Maple: orange-red


Best Fall Hikes in the Smoky Mountains

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the best way to get an up-close look at leaves. According to hikers, here are some favorite fall trails, along with round-trip mileage and the best time to hike them:

Early-to-mid October
Sugarland Mountain Trail – 7 miles
Albright Grove Loop Trail – 6.7 miles
Spence Field – 10.3 miles

Mid-to-late October
Little River Trail – 4.9 miles
Porters Creek Trail – 4 miles
Baskins Creek Falls – 3 miles
Grapeyard Ridge Trail – 5.8 miles
Rich Mountain Loop – 8.5 miles
Charlies Bunion – 8.1 miles

Early November
Abrams Falls – 5.3 miles
Schoolhouse Gap – 3.8 miles

Best Fall Drives in the Smoky Mountains

You can also see the beautiful autumn foliage right from your car! Here are some favorite roads to travel for fall leaf peeping.

Early-to-mid October
Newfound Gap Road – 32 miles long
Clingmans Dome Road – 7 miles long

Mid-to-late October
Cades Cove – 11 miles (loop road)
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail – 5.5 miles (loop road)

More Great Places to See the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

The cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are home to a number of attractions that provide views of the mountains and their fall colors. Here are a few destinations you will want to visit:

  • Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
  • Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
  • Anakeesta
  • Gatlinburg Space Needle
  • Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island
  • Drop Line at Dollywood

Where to Stay to See the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

When you stay in one of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals, you will be immersed in the wonderful fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains. To start planning your getaway, browse My Bearfoot Cabins.

mybearfootcabins.com
617-559-3915