Gatlinburg Tennessee has the atmosphere of a small Southern town and the excitement of a vibrant tourist destination. While the city is packed full of tourists during the summer months, Gatlinburg in the fall truly lights up.
In the last weeks of September and early October, the Smoky Mountains’ fall colors arrive, allowing visitors and locals to enjoy one of nature’s most magnificent works of art. This is the perfect time of year to take a trip to Gatlinburg to see the sights, experience the wonder of the Smoky Mountains, and enjoy a relaxed stay in the city.
About Gatlinburg in the Fall
Fall is one of the most popular times of year for visitors to head to the Smoky Mountains. They love that the weather is comfortable, the sun is shining, and the colors are beginning to pop on the trees.
As a result, you may find plenty of other people in the city looking to enjoy their getaways to Gatlinburg as well, but don’t worry. You’ll all have a great time together.
Festive Harvest Atmosphere
When you arrive in Gatlinburg in the fall, you’ll find that the city welcomes the harvest season. The historic downtown streets are lined with corn stalks and hay bales. Also, scarecrows decorate the avenues, and plenty of pumpkins add to the festive atmosphere.
So grab your camera, bring your favorite people, and get ready for a fabulous fall vacation in Gatlinburg.
Things to Do in Fall in Gatlinburg TN
Gatlinburg is teeming with life during the fall, and there are plenty of ways to see the city while also enjoying the festive atmosphere. Take a look at the best things to do during fall in Gatlinburg Tennessee.
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Gatlinburg
Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg is an ongoing daily festival that begins in late September and extends through the entire month of October.
Each day, fall visitors will find the Smoky Mountain Oompah Band playing live music in authentic German costumes, German-inspired cuisine, and of course, a beer garden. It’s the best way to enjoy a taste of Germany in the midst of the Smoky Mountains.
There are more awesome fall festivals in Gatlinburg too!
Check Out the Scarecrows on the Downtown Parkway
The Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg is the place to see and be seen in the city. Locals and visitors alike will walk along the Parkway to shop in the boutiques, sip on moonshine or whiskey, grab an ice cream cone or eat in a restaurant.
In the fall, the Parkway transforms into a cacophony of fall colors. There are scarecrows, pumpkins, gourds, and every type of fall foliage you can imagine decorating the streets, making this one of the best places to grab an autumn selfie.
Sip Cider at the Wyile Cider Barn
The Wyile Cider Barn at Foxfire Mountain is one of the best venues to soak up the flavors of fall. You’ll find sparkling cider, hard cider, and apple cider — giving people of all ages the chance to taste the sweet juice that comes from the local apples.
While the barn is located at the Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park, you don’t have to enter the park to visit the barn, sample the cider, and purchase some to take home with you.
Enjoy the Autumn at Anakeesta Festival
Anakeesta is a downtown Gatlinburg amusement park that grows more popular by the year. It’s seemingly always adding something new to enjoy, but the Autumn at Anakeesta Festival is quickly becoming a favorite among everyone in the area.
The festival begins in late September and wraps up at the end of October. You can walk the tree canopy to see the fall colors from a bird’s-eye view, listen to live music, and sip fall-inspired beverages, including the infamous pumpkin spice latte.
You can enjoy more fall events in the Smoky Mountains as well!
Drive By the Fall Colors on the Roaring Fork Historic Motor Trail
This free motor trail begins in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg and gives visitors a chance to conveniently enjoy the beauty of the Smokies while learning more about the history of the city. There are historic cabins to explore and plenty of wildlife to spot along the way.
Don’t be surprised if you see a bear or two — just remember to leave them alone. They’re getting ready for the winter, just like everyone else.
Experience Panoramic Views of the Autumn Leaves at Clingman’s Dome
Clingman’s Dome is one of the highest points in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it one of the best spots to see the fall colors in all of their splendor. Here, you can climb an observation tower to enjoy 360-degree views of the leaves.
Dining Near Gatlinburg in Fall
Gatlinburg is full of flavor, and there are so many local restaurants that it can be difficult to choose. These are some of the best restaurants in Gatlinburg.
Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
For a larger-than-life breakfast in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, head to Crockett’s Breakfast Camp in downtown Gatlinburg. Be sure to try the cinnamon rolls — they’re larger than your head but well worth the effort it takes to eat them!
Timbers Log Cabin Restaurant
Timbers Log Cabin Restaurant is a local gem. Tucked away from the heart of the city, this restaurant is only open on Fridays and Saturdays for breakfast and lunch.
Crystelle Creek Restaurant
Just outside of the downtown area is a restaurant that feels like an escape into the peaceful woods. Crystelle Creek Restaurant is a locally owned steak and seafood restaurant that blends the luxury of fine dining with the rustic atmosphere of the Smokies.
With large glass windows, this restaurant allows you to feel as if you’re dining inside the heart of the forest.
Lodging Near Gatlinburg Tennessee in the Fall
Whether you prefer a hotel stay or a quaint cabin in the woods, you’ll find the perfect place to stay in Gatlinburg in the fall. Take a look at some of the best lodging options nearby.
This family-owned hotel is located just steps away from downtown Gatlinburg, yet it offers spectacular riverfront views. The family suites make it the perfect place for large groups to stay.
Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals
Throughout Gatlinburg, you’ll find plenty of cabin rentals via either property management companies or residents. These cabins offer luxurious amenities and spectacular views of the fall leaves, making them some of the most popular lodging options in the city.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gatlinburg in the Fall
When do the fall colors peak in Gatlinburg?
The fall colors typically arrive in Gatlinburg Tennessee later in the year than they do throughout the rest of the Midwest and Northeast, but the wait is worthwhile.
While the exact peak may vary based on weather conditions, you can expect to see plenty of fall colors in Gatlinburg between the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November.
What are the best hikes to do in the fall in Gatlinburg?
There’s no bad time of year to go hiking in the Smokies, but fall is a particularly breathtaking season to explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg Tennessee.
Some of the best hiking trails for leaf peeping include Mt. LeConte in late September, Sugarland Mountain Trail in mid-October, Rich Mountain Loop in late October hikers, and Abrams Falls Hikein early November.
What wildlife can be seen in the Smoky Mountains during the fall?
In the fall, you may find that many of the animals that call the Smokies home are beginning to settle down for the winter. You may see salamanders, black bears, and coyotes. Of course, you won’t want to miss the annual fall migration of monarch butterflies in the Smoky Mountains.
What is the weather like during the fall in Gatlinburg?
Gatlinburg enjoys a comfortable fall with moderate temperatures. If you’re traveling in September, you can expect summer-like temperatures that hover around 80 degrees.
The temperatures begin to drop closer to 70 degrees in Gatlinburg in October, which is still great for hiking and exploring the city.
In November, it gets a little bit chillier, but it’s still very comfortable — particularly if you’re visiting from the North. You can expect temperatures in the 60-degree range all month.
While most days throughout the fall will be dry, you might get a few rainy days mixed, so it’s best to be prepared for all weather conditions.
Experience All of Gatlinburg in the Fall
The hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg is captivating, making it an ideal destination for travelers of all ages and interests. From families that are looking for one last vacation experience of the year to couples searching for a beautiful and romantic place to escape for the weekend, Gatlinburg in the fall is unlike anything else in Tennessee.
Now is the best time to book your fall getaway to this incredible city. Don’t forget to check out the best places to see Smoky Mountains fall colors.