4 Tips for Visiting the Smoky Mountains this Fall

Published Aug 9, 2021

Fall is a peak time in the Smokies. Autumn trees reach peak color. Visits to these beautiful mountains also hit a peak: The numbers of tourists rise in September and October. Avoid crowds and have a memorable getaway by following these four tips for travelers.

1. Start Your Adventures Early, or Start the Day Late

Want a scenic drive on a legendary road like Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or Cades Cove Loop Road? Dodge the crowds by setting off early. You’ll get crisper air, livelier birds, and fewer tourists. Want to visit popular attractions like the theme park Anakeesta or the Gatlinburg Space Needle? Consider seeing them in the evenings instead of during the day. Even into October and November, many attractions stay open late.

2. Plan Some Activities in Advance

No one likes standing in line for tickets or having to wait to get into an attraction. While being spontaneous is part of the fun on vacations, be sure to schedule your most desired outings before you arrive.

3. Pack for the Mountains

Even if you don’t plan on hiking into the wild, you’ll enjoy your fall vacation more if you pack with mountain conditions in mind. Here’s what we mean: 

  • Bring maps and printed directions. Don’t depend solely on your phone for maps, GPS, and information. A day out--whether in the car or on foot--can end in frustration if you can’t get phone service. Here among the peaks, cell service can be intermittent or nonexistent. 
  • Be prepared for changeable weather. Fall weather can range from warm and dry in the valleys to misty, and 10 to 20 degrees cooler, at high elevations. Bring layers of clothing and a waterproof jacket. Don’t forget water and snacks, even if you’re taking a drive rather than hiking. Scenic roadways don’t tend to have many pit stops.

4. Get Off the Beaten Track

Fall is the perfect season for quieter escapes. Leave the hotspots in town to the crowds and head off to the Quiet Walkways in the national park. These short, peaceful trails are hidden gems, easy to find but often little used.

The best tip for spending fall in the Smokies? Stay in a relaxing, private cabin. Reserve yours today.

Featured Rentals Selected Just For You