10 Best Ways to See the Smoky Mountain Fall Foliage
It’s not a secret that visiting the Smokies in autumn is an experience unlike any other.
However, there may be a few ways to see the foliage that you haven’t thought of yet! So, we wanted to help you out!
Here are 10 of the best ways to see the Smoky Mountain fall foliage during your stay with us at our hotel in Gatlinburg!
1. Go for a Drive: One of the most popular ways to enjoy the vibrant colors of autumn is taking one of the many scenic drives that you’ll find in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Taking a drive on Newfound Gap Road will take you to the highest elevations in the park and it will also give you the option of driving up to Clingmans Dome, the highest point of the Smokies and on the Appalachian Trail. A cruise around the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, just outside of downtown Gatlinburg, will not only be filled with beauty but it’s also packed with historical structures, cascades and roadside waterfalls! If you head up Little River Road you can take in the fall foliage as you wind through the mountains and even make your way up to Tremont or Cades Cove. One drive that you won’t want to miss during your stay is the Foothills Parkway, the views there will absolutely take your breath away! So after you get checked in with us at The Appy, Fill up your tank and hit the road for a few hours exploring the Smoky Mountains!
2. Take a Smokies Stroll: With close to 900 miles of trails in the park, there is a trail for everyone! During the fall months, every trail offers up a display of color, the coolness of autumn and plenty of spots to explore. The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is perfect for first time hikers or guests with physical limitations. The trail is wide, paved and flat but it includes remnants of an old homestead, benches to soak up the peace of the mountains and it even has pull off spots for wheelchairs and strollers along the river. During your stroll, see if you can spot the bear prints in the pavement! Trails like Middle Prong and Little River Trail are a step up with more of an incline and no pavement but easy or moderate in difficulty. The Porters Creek Trail, the Spruce Fir Nature Trail, Gatlinburg Trail and Little Brier Gap are a few others that are perfect for a Smokies Stroll under an autumn canopy!
3. Wander Anakeesta’s Canopy Walk: To experience the fall foliage in the Smokies up close, head up to Anakeesta and take a walk through the longest tree-based bridge in North America! Be sure to pack the camera and keep an eye out for chipmunks, black bears and other wildlife that you can spot from time to time along the bridges!
4. Ride the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway: A Gatlinburg Classic. Take a ride to the top, take in the views along the way then stay and play!
5. Take a Guided Hike: If you want to experience the best trails to be on at the time of your stay, consider booking a guided hike with a local hiking company. The NOC in Gatlinburg will be happy to set you up with the locally owned and operated, A Walk in the Woods. Stop in, check out the store and start planning your fall adventure!
6. Go Horseback Riding: Hop on the saddle and roam the Smokies! The Cades Cove Riding Stables and the Sugarlands Riding Stables just outside of downtown Gatlinburg can set you up and get you on the trail! Pick your spot and enjoy the ride!
7. Check out the Observation Towers: The Clingmans Dome observation tower and the Look Rock tower on the Foothills Parkway, are two fantastic places in the park to check out the views of all the fall foliage. They’re also both excellent locations for taking in sunrise or sunset, just don’t forget to arrive early, stay late and pack flashlights or headlamps for hiking up before sunrise and coming back down after sunset.
8. Attend a Hot Air Balloon Festival: If the view from one of the observation towers isn’t high enough for you, head over to the Lakeside of the Smokies Hot Air Balloon Fest the weekend of October 26th! The festival is an hour away from our hotel, but the lake time, views and activities are worth the drive! And, who doesn’t love a drive down a few Tennessee country roads! While there, you can enjoy the view from the ground or take a trip up in one of their balloons at get a bird’s eye view!
9. Take a Carriage Ride: Do you have a little girl or a lady in your life that would love to explore the park while feeling like a Smoky Mountain princess? Take her on a carriage ride in Cades Cove! Or, maybe you’re not ready to hop on the back of a horse yet but still want to see all the horse trail has to offer. It’s a wonderful experience for everyone in the family! The Cades Cove Riding Stables can help with getting your time on the trail set up.
10. Get an Angler’s Perspective: If you’ve already seen the fall foliage of the Smokies from the trails, roads or even the sky but you haven’t experienced the season from the streams yet then you haven’t been fully immersed in autumn adventures in the Appalachians! Or, maybe you’ve always wanted to try and fly fishing but you don’t have the gear or know where to start. Regardless of the why, our friends at the Smoky Mountain Angler can set you up with all the gear you need, including a permit, or they can take you on an outing to the best honey holes in the park!
With festive decor around every corner of Gatlinburg, the cool air moving in, fire pits turned on, coffee brewing and colors filling in the mountains like a Smokies patchwork quilt it’s certainly time to start planning your fall escape to the Great Smoky Mountains!
And, we don’t like to brag but our hotel is one of the coziest spots in town! Our King Fireplace Guest Room is perfect for chilly nights and if you stay in Our King Suite you’ll even have a comfy living room area to relax in by the fireplace after a day of hiking, shopping or adventures at local attractions. You’ll find a warm and toasty fireplace in our lobby, fire pits outside and we even have extra fluffy blankets available to take outside with you. Our hot coffee in the morning and fresh baked cookies in the afternoon will keep both your body and spirit warm and the friendly faces of our staff will make you feel like you’re at your home away from home… So, isn’t it time that you came home for a visit?
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