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fall colors in the Smoky Mountains

Top 4 Things to Know About Experiencing Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

August 29, 2022

One of the reasons why the Smoky Mountains are such a popular destination during the fall season is because of the spectacular fall foliage! This is the magical time of year when the trees transform from green into a vibrant display of orange, red, and yellow colors, and there is nothing like the sight of the mountains as these magnificent colors spread through the Smokies! Here are the top 4 things to know about experiencing fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Prime Viewing Times

fall in the Smoky MountainsThe most important thing to know about experiencing the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains is how to determine the prime viewing time! You’ll find that the annual display begins in late September at the highest elevations, including areas such as the Chimney Tops, Newfound Gap, and Mt. LeConte. The prime color changes in the mid and lower elevations are generally anywhere between mid-October to early November, so there are usually at least 7 weeks where you can view the fall colors in vibrant form!

2. When to Plan Your Fall Trip

Another thing to know about experiencing fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains is when to plan your trip! This depends on where in the Smokies you plan to go and when the trees at that elevation start to show color. While the exact peak times are difficult to predict based on the length of the day, temperatures, and other factors, you are guaranteed to see the beautiful leaves in mid to late October! Keep in mind that the Smoky Mountain region is a popular destination in the fall, so be sure to book your accommodations as soon as possible!

3. Hiking Trails Among the Colors

fall colors along Little River Trail in the Smoky MountainsThe Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to hundreds of scenic hiking trails, most of which let you walk right among the colorful leaves! If you access the Cosby entrance into the park, you’ll likely encounter less traffic and fewer crowds than in other areas. The region is also home to several excellent hiking trails for fall colors, including the Mount Cammerer Trail and the Albright Grove Loop! Elsewhere in the Smokies, some of the most highly recommended hiking trails include the Little River Trail in Elkmont, Chestnut Top Trail in Townsend, and the Rich Mountain Loop in Cades Cove.

4. Best Way to See the Fall Foliage

The absolute best way to soak in the fall foliage is on one of our white water rafting trips in the Smoky Mountains! As you float down the Pigeon River with our professional guides, you’ll have the opportunity to view all of the stunning fall colors without dealing with crowds and traffic! As a bonus, our fall trips are some of the best as the water levels are less predictable this time of year. Therefore, you may experience anything from a leisurely trip down the river to class III and IV rapids! Don’t miss the chance to join us for the adventure of a lifetime this fall! To make the most of your time in the Smokies, plan a camping trip at Pigeon River Campground and wake up to the beautiful fall colors every morning!

Check out all of our white water rafting trips in the Smokies today to plan your autumn trip and experience the magic of the fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains! We look forward to seeing you on the river soon!