Although the cool fall weather brings an end to the white water rafting season, it is perfect for another one of our favorite outdoor activities: hiking! The Smokies are absolutely gorgeous in the fall, and the national park offers over 800 miles of scenic trails to enjoy. Here are three reasons you’ll love hiking in the Smoky Mountains this fall:
1. Incredible Fall Colors
The number one reason to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains in the fall is the stunning foliage. The national park is home to some 100 species of native trees, so you will see every shade of red, orange, and yellow leaves. With such spectacular colors, it’s no wonder that an average of 2 million people visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park every September and October.
If you want to see the fall colors at their peak, we recommend visiting during the last two weeks of October. The foliage is at its boldest and brightest during this period. You can still see some great colors earlier in the season as well, but the changing leaves will be concentrated in the higher elevations of the mountains.
The fall weather in the Smoky Mountains is perfect for exploring the national park! During the autumn months, the Smoky Mountain area typically has highs in the 60s and low 70s. This comfortable climate is warm enough for enjoying the great outdoors, but cool enough so hikers don’t break a sweat when they’re on the trails.
3. Great for Hikers of Every Interest and Ability
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a couch potato, you are guaranteed to find the perfect trail for your adventure in the Smokies! To help you plan your autumn vacation, we have put together a list of some of the best fall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
- Rocky Top (mid – late September) – 13.9 miles round trip
- Mount LeConte (mid – late September) – 11 miles round trip
- Andrews Bald (mid – late September) – 3.5 miles round trip
- Sugarland Mountain Trail (early – mid October) – 7 miles round trip
- Alum Cave (mid – late October) – 4.4 miles round trip
- Gregory Bald (early – mid October) – 11.3 miles round trip
- Little River Trail (mid – late October) – 4.9 miles round trip
- Charlies Bunion (mid – late October) – 8.1 miles round trip
- Abrams Falls (early November) – 5.2 miles round trip
- Schoolhouse Gap (early November) – 3.8 miles round trip
4. Perfect Addition to a Camping Trip
Hiking in the Smoky Mountains in the fall is a can’t-miss activity for anyone camping in the area. Located steps away from Smoky Mountain Outdoors, Pigeon River Campground is the perfect destination for an autumn getaway. This beautiful campground offers sites for tent camping, cabins for rent by the river, and RV campsites. When you stay at Pigeon River Campground this fall, you will be immersed in the area’s breathtaking autumn scenery.
We hope you have a wonderful visit to the Smoky Mountains this fall and that you return in the spring for a white water rafting adventure!