As the Leaves Turn: Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains

It’s that time of year again in Tennessee when the Smoky Mountains around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge start coming alive with fall colors. For a deeper look and to get the latest color reports, see our guide to Fall Colors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A hundred different species of trees in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding area are going through their seasonal changes — bright yellow birches, deep red dogwoods, bronze hickories, bright scarlet red maples, russet oaks, and so many more. This makes for phenomenal scenery in the gorgeous layered mountains and foothills of the Smokies, to the delight of our visitors from across the country and around the world.


There are many ways to experience the Smoky Mountains’ fall tapestry of colors – see our guide for some of the Best Ways to Enjoy the Fall Colors. You can go on a vigorous hike on a mountain trail, choose a short, easy stroll, or go for a drive along one of the countless scenic roads. Many of our guests love to relax with their families on the deck of their vacation cabin, soaking in the hot tub or rocking in a chair or swing – and taking in the panoramic views while the stress just melts away.

Want to try something different? See the foliage from high up in Gatlinburg’s Space Needle, the Aerial Tramway, or the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. Closer to the ground, you can ride a horse on a hidden trail or take a hayride.

The Smokies in the fall are a wonderland for photographers. The vivid gold, red, and orange leaves and the rolling hills and mountain peaks as far as the eye can see provide a unique sight that you will want to capture forever with your lens. Your kids will have an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. It’s the perfect way to spend time with your family out in the grandeur of nature at its most beautiful.

When should you come? The leaves start turning colors at the tops of the mountains first. Then colors roll down the slopes to the lower elevations over the following few weeks. Peak color usually abounds in the lower slopes during the last two weeks of October, but every year is different. We’ll post more as time progresses, so keep checking back.

When you come for the fall colors, you’ll find the area is hopping with fun fall activities and special events. Don’t miss our list of what’s happening in the Smokies in September 2019 to find awesome events, including our famous Harvest Festivals, lots of live bluegrass, food fairs, car shows, and special family-friendly adventures. Even more is coming in October, so stay tuned for our new list.

Fall in the Smokies can be whatever you want it to be. If you crave quiet, where the only sounds you hear are the leaves crunching under your feet, we’ve got it. If you want to hear excited shouts on the Zipline, we’ve got that too. And if you want to hear some of the best toe-tappin’ bluegrass that you ever will hear, we have more than enough to satisfy the biggest bluegrass fans. The great thing about fall in the Smokies is you can combine all these things into one vacation trip. And each evening, you get to come back to your cabin and soak in the hot tub or hang out on the porch and think back on all the wonderful things you did that day — and wake up the next morning and go out and experience the wonders of the Smokies all over again.

October Weddings in the Smoky Mountains

Fall is perhaps the most beautiful time in the Smoky Mountains, and October is the second most popular month after May to get married here in one of the country’s most popular wedding destinations. People come to propose, to celebrate anniversaries and years later to return and renew their vows, often this time escorted by their grown-up kids, all with huge smiles.

See our guide pages to Gatlinburg Weddings and find out about our Gatlinburg Honeymoon Cabins while you’re thinking about – in fact count on us for all your Smoky Mountain Wedding accommodations!

Look into our Gatlinburg cabin rentals for any size of group (cabins up to 20-bedroom!), and our Pigeon Forge cabins, and don’t ignore the Wears Valley cabins over on the Quiet Side of the Smoky Mountains.

About Tony Perez

I'm a people person, and I enjoy the atmosphere that working with Cabins Of The Smoky Mountains entails, interacting with different types of people and trying to relate to each one uniquely. From Michigan originally, I've been coming to the Smoky Mountains since I was a child, with family in Wears Valley. Summer fun for me is exploring the Cades Cove area, swimming in the creeks, and hiking Mount LeConte and many other trails. I love the Smoky Mountains.