Where to View the Fall Colors at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Where to View the Fall Colors at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park fall colors, Great Smoky Mountains National Park fall foliage

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Take in the Fall Foliage at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Fall is a popular time of year to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The cool crisp air is great for outdoor activities and the view is incredible. The autumn season transforms the dense green forests to hues of yellow, orange and red. When you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park during fall, be sure to take in the views from these locations.

Where to View the Fall Colors at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Here are some of the best places to view the fall colors at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Several of these sites can be reached by hiking or simply driving along a scenic parkway.

Cades Cove

Bike or drive to Cades Cove, a beautiful valley surrounded by the Smoky Mountains. This is not only a great place for observing the local wildlife but also taking in the autumn colors.

There is an 11-mile, one-way loop around Cades Cove that is a leisurely way to take in the sights. It takes between two and four hours to tour Cades Cove in a car, and longer if you walk.

Clingmans Dome

Take in the impeccable fall colors from the top of Clingmans Dome. The nearly 7,000-foot-tall tower is the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains and in Tennessee. On a clear day, observers can see for over 100 miles. 

On the seven mile drive up Clingmans Dome Road to the tower, there are pull-off areas that offer scenic views of the Smoky Mountain ridges and valleys. There are also several other trails you can take from the Clingmans Dome parking area, including the Appalachian Trail and Forney Ridge Trail.

Click here to read more about Clingmans Dome.

Click here to read about more places to get a bird’s-eye view of the Smoky Mountains.

Clingmans Dome fall colors

Mount LeConte

Mount LeConte has an elevation of 6,593 feet. Start from one of the many trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and begin your ascent. Mount LeConte, the highest peak that is entirely in the state of Tennessee, is known for providing some of the most picturesque sunrises and sunsets. You won’t soon forget the vivid red and orange hues once you reach the summit.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Accessible from the downtown Gatlinburg Parkway, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a steep one-way road that winds through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s forests. Along the way, you’ll catch glimpses of the Roaring Fork Creek.

There are a few pull off points along the way. Stop #3 boasts benches where you can sit and fully take in the views. Stop #5 is the perfect place to park and take a hike through the forest to Grotto Falls.

Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap is the lowest pass through the Great Smoky Mountains. The pass extends from Cherokee, North Carolina to Gatlinburg. As you walk though the variety of ecosystems, you’ll ascend about 3,000 feet through amber-colored hardwood, pine-oak and hardwood forests.

Hiking Trails

There are a number of hiking trails within the Tennessee side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are great for getting some exercise and viewing the fall colors. Experience the views along the way as you traverse the trails of varying difficulty, including Appalachian Trail and Alum Cave Trail.

Click here to read more about hiking trails at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.