8 Best Places To See Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains!

Smoky Mountains We Go to See The Fall Colors
Explore the 8 best places to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains! Experience breathtaking hues from Newfound Gap to Abrams Falls.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited parks in the United States, receiving over 9 million visitors annually . The reason for that is because it’s an absolutely beautiful area to visit during all four seasons. Fall is absolutely no different.

The peak season lasts from Mid-September through Mid-October and includes the most beauty and breathtaking colors. There are many places you can go to see and experience the fall colors in their prime. In this post we talk about 8 special places in the park we love visiting especially during fall!

Newfound Gap 

The Newfound Gap is a mountain pass in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, near the border with North Carolina. It is the primary passage from North Carolina into Tennessee, and one of the most popular entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The pass was named for the New Found River, which flows through it.

newfound gap great smoky mountain in fall

At an elevation of 4,048 feet (1,230 m), Newfound Gap is one of the lowest mountain passes in the eastern United States. It is one of several gaps along the crest of the Smokies, which otherwise rises above 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level.

Newfound Gap in the Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular entrances into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s also a great place to see the fall colors.

The parkway is open year-round, but for the best views of fall colors, visit in October and early November.

If you’re looking for a more secluded experience, head out on the trails instead of the main road. The Appalachian Trail crosses through Newfound Gap, so there’s plenty of hiking options. You can also try out some great mountain biking trails nearby or just enjoy a picnic lunch at one of our scenic overlooks.

Clingmans Dome 

Clingmans Dome is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The observation tower at Clingmans Dome is open year-round, but during the summer months it can get crowded with tourists and hikers. The crowds thin out in the fall, so if you want to get away from all of those people, head to Clingmans Dome during September or October.

Clingmans Dome great smoky mountain in fall

The views from Clingmans Dome are amazing no matter what time of year you visit, but they are especially beautiful during fall when all of the leaves start changing colors. The trees near the parking lot are quite colorful at this time of year, so make sure that you stop by there before heading up to the observation tower!

Chimney Tops Trail

Fall is a great time to visit the Smokies. The crowds are gone, the weather is cool and crisp, and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and orange.

Chimney Tops great smoky mountain in fall

One of the best places to see the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains is Chimney Tops Trail. This hike is only about 2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 600 feet, making it a great hike for visitors who aren’t looking for an intense workout but still want to see some beautiful scenery.

The trailhead for Chimney Tops Trail is located just outside of Gatlinburg on Newfound Gap Road. There are restrooms at this location as well as several other hiking trails that lead from this area. Make sure you’re prepared before going on any hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains!

Once you’re ready to go, follow the paved road up Mt. LeConte for about 1 mile until you reach a parking area just below Clingmans Dome Road. This is where your hike will begin.

Roaring Fork Nature Trail 

This beautiful scenic hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers an easy walk through the forest with many opportunities to see wildlife and enjoy the beauty of fall colors.

Roaring Fork Nature Trail great smoky mountain in fall

The Roaring Fork Nature Trail begins at the Cable Mill parking area along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, between Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont Campground. From this point, walk along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail for about 200 yards until you reach a sign indicating a right turn onto the Roaring Fork Nature Trail.

The trail follows alongside Roaring Fork Creek, which can be seen through some of the low lying areas during parts of your hike. You will also see many large rocks that have fallen into the creek over time as well as thickets of rhododendron bushes and mountain laurel trees growing along the banks of the creek bed. This makes for some excellent photo opportunities!

Rainbow Falls 

The Smoky Mountains are a great place to see fall colors. The most famous spot is at Rainbow Falls, which is located on the Little River about 4 miles from Pigeon Forge.

Untitled 1

Rainbow Falls is one of the most photographed places in the park and it’s easy to see why. You can walk behind the falls to get some really amazing photos. The best time of day to go is early morning or late afternoon when there aren’t many people around.

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular attractions in the Smoky Mountains. It’s a great place to see the fall colors in all their glory.

The hike to Laurel Falls is only 2 miles round trip, but it takes some time because of all the steps you have to climb up and down as you make your way from the parking lot to the waterfall. The trail is paved with wooden steps and can be slippery when wet or icy. It’s best to visit Laurel Falls during dry weather conditions.

Laurel Falls smoky moutains in fall 1

There are several overlooks along the trail where you can stop for a moment to enjoy the scenery and take photos before continuing on your way. There are also several benches where you can rest after reaching the falls if needed.

Cades Cove 

Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This beautiful valley is home to many old cabins and homesteads, which were built by early settlers. Cades Cove is a great place to spend a day hiking or just enjoying the scenery.

cades cove smoky moutains in fall

In Cades Cove, the fall colors are at their peak from mid-October to early November. The cove is a popular tourist area with beautiful scenery and historic buildings, including several historic churches and cabins.

The fall colors in Cades Cove usually start on the lower slopes of the mountain and gradually work their way up to the ridge tops. It’s not unusual for visitors to see bright reds and oranges along with yellows, browns and greens in this area.

Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls is one of the most beautiful trails in the park, and it’s a short drive from Gatlinburg.

Abrams Falls is located in the Cades Cove area of the Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s about 40 minutes from Gatlinburg, Tennessee and about 10 minutes from Townsend, Tennessee. The trailhead for Abrams Falls is located at the end of Cades Cove Loop Road.

abrams falls smoky moutains in fall

The hike to Abrams Falls is 3 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 700 feet. It’s one of the easier hikes in this area and has several different trails that lead to different parts of the falls. There are multiple waterfalls along Abrams Creek, so keep an eye out for them as you hike! There are also some great views at the top if you continue on past Abrams Falls itself!


There is no shortage of gorgeous places to visit in the Smoky Mountains. As long as you go during the peak fall season, you’ll have ample opportunity to see the beautiful fall colors on display as they present themselves. Just keep in mind that sometimes Mother Nature has other plans when it comes to the weather!

The fall season lasts for about a month and a half in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it is more than enough time to go around and see everything that you want to see. So be sure to take a trip to see our beautiful fall colors while they last. You won’t regret it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top