October in the Smoky Mountains means that the famous Fall Colors are underway, and much festivity is in the air. A hundred species of tree light up the scene as their leaves turn color, first at the high elevations, then gradually rolling down the slope to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge – where you can also find numerous events and celebrations happening during this time.
See below for everything you want to know about October events. Check out our Guide to Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains for everything you need to know, and to keep track of the fall colors, check the Fall Color Reports for 2019 from Great Smoky Mountains Association.
October 4-5. The annual Smoky Mountain Fall Trout Tournament takes place in selected streams in the Gatlinburg area, including those specially stocked with trout and some set aside purely for children. Fishing requires the right license, and begins just before sunrise, until weigh-in at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge. Prizes include for biggest fish and also smallest fish caught!
October 4-6. Robert Tino is a local artist who for more than 30 years has captured scenes of the Smoky mountains on canvas. The Robert A. Tino Smoky Mountain Homecoming is an annual event that both helps the Sevierville High School and offers a discount on some of the artist’s paintings. The 3-day event features live music, food and local artists and crafters showing their work.
October 4-27. October is also the scary month, and Ripley’s of Gatlinburg present its Fright Nights as a way to scare yourself out of your wits, every weekend all month on Fri-Sun nights. This year the theme is Nostalgic Nightmare.
October 5. Take the kids to The Island in Pigeon Forge on this Saturday for some chalk drawing on the pavement in the 3rd Annual Chalkfest at The Island. It’s free and open to the public but you’ll need to register to participate as an artist.
October 5-26. Saturday evenings in Sevierville offer street fun in the History & Haunts event, with family-friendly frights, fun, live music, food and games. Lots of fun in the fun-loving little town, just up the road from Pigeon Forge.
October 10-27. Every fall the artisans of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area come to the Convention Center to display their latest wares and offer demonstrations, tips, and a chance to visit with the artist, in a wide array of crafts. Music, food, and unique gift shopping make a great time in the Fall Craftsmen’s Fair.
October 18-20. Fall colors are in full swing by this time of month, and one of the most scenic areas to see them is Wears Valley – on the Quiet Side of the Smokies. The annual Fall Fest is a chance to drive a little ways to the west, mid-way between Pigeon Forge and Townsend, and enjoy the season festivities in the Wears Valley Fall Fest. Family fun, music, food, crafts and kids activities.
October 24. Not everybody likes to be scared, and for those kids and families that want to celebrate the season without a heart attack, every year the Pigeon Forge Community Center hosts a safe, non-scary event for families to go trick or treating, in the Spooktacular Halloween Event. It’s free and lots of fun, with treats for the kids and vendors for more.
October 26. The Rocky Top Wine Trail offers a more adult version of the trick or treat celebration, in the form of the Chocolate Wine Trail, presented during the day from 11 am to 6 pm. Whoever first paired chocolate and wine deserves a medal, or at least a toast, so now you know where to go for that.
October 30 – January 4, 2020. It’s the Christmas season getting ready to start by now, and Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede gets underway at this ever-popular theater with its spectacular Nativity show.
October 31. It’s Halloween, in case you hadn’t noticed, and both towns offer some fun. Gatlinburg presents an afternoon event for all the family with the Trick or Treat Kick Off Karnival. Held at Anakeesta and Ripley’s Aquarium plaza, there are costumes, concerts and candy for all. This free event is from Noon until 5 pm.
October 31. The Island in Pigeon Forge presents its own Trick or Treat event in this great family fun center. The free event is at 5-8 pm, so if you get done in Gatlinburg, scoot across to Pigeon Forge and keep on celebrating!
If you’re visiting the Smokies during Fall we have the perfect cabin to suit your needs. Check our Gatlinburg cabin rentals, our Pigeon Forge cabins, and our Wears Valley cabins over on the Quiet Side of the Smoky Mountains.
And if you’re still looking for more fun ways to explore in your stay in the Smokies, check out our guide to Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains as well as our Smoky Mountains activities pages, and especially our guide to Things to Do in Gatlinburg With Kids. And keep up with current festivals and happenings with our Gatlinburg Events guide.