We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
United States
Level Contributor
92 posts
119 reviews
Save Topic
Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Planning to visit Smoky Mountains in 3rd week of October. Can you please suggest ideal time to spend in the park? Would be interested to see the fall colors and do a little hiking.

Thanks in advance.

Champaign, Illinois
Level Contributor
241 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Well, from what I have heard October is the busiest month for the park.

If you are wanting to hike, get there EARLY, especially if doing well known trails such as Laurel Falls and Chimney Tops. We got to Laurel Falls about 7am (in May) and by the time we got back to the car, other cars had lined the streets as far as you could see to use the trail head.

If you are wanting to do Cades Cove, I would go very early on a weekday, though I imagine this drive will be busy no matter what.

United States
Level Contributor
92 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Thanks so much for your prompt reply. Also wanted to mention, we will be flying in and out of Knoxville and staying at Gatlinburg.

Mississippi
Level Contributor
1,530 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

The 3rd week in October is probably your best bet to catch the color peak, but so many factors play a role in the leaves turning that you really never know.

Book your lodging now or as soon as possible if you are as picky as we are about where you would like to stay. Places fill up quickly.

Keep in touch with the folks here about the color changes. Not that it matters so much once you are booked, but you can plan hikes and auto tours according to elevation, and elevation along with the areas you seek will determine peak colors at that point in time. There are also a few websites that can update the color.

The Knoxville Airport, (Alcoa) is easy to deal with. I've never seen it crowded, and I've been there for the 3rd week of October.

United States
Level Contributor
92 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Appreciate the information.

Thank you

Paris, Tn
Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
Level Contributor
2,846 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Actually, anytime from the 2nd week of October 'till early November, is considered prime "leaf watching" time.....the temps in October will most likely be more pleasent than those in early November. ( although, weather conditions during the first half of November are likely to be a little chillier)

It's hard to tell, but manys the times we've been there in early November,and many trees are still full of brilliant reds, golds, and yellow leaf foliage.

United States
Level Contributor
92 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Thank you for all your responses. We do plan to be there 3rd week of October. How many days do you all recommend to spend in the park to see the fall colors and do a little hiking ( easy to moderate)

Thanks again. I appreciate all the help.

wisconsin
Level Contributor
665 posts
103 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Just returned from the Smoky Mtns. We had the absolute best time, and all five of us agreed it was the perfect time to visit. It's warm enough to do anything right now. The bonus is that the leaves haven't 100% bloomed, so you can really see down into those valleys and high up into the mountains. Less obstruction of views right now. Virtually no bugs either. We dealt with zero parking problems in the mtns., very little traffic right now, and never crowded paths. We also all agreed that we'd love to go back in March again because we took some pretty strenuous hikes, so the cooler air up there helped. I can't imagine going to the Smoky's in the summer. By the way, hated Gatlinburg. Too touristy and a real pain in the neck. However, the 8-mile artist loop was spectacular, one of the best and not to be missed. Can't walk it like I hoped, but worth stocking up. Let me know if you want other ideas of things to do and not to do. Have a wonderful time!

Mississippi
Level Contributor
1,530 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

bizlee, we can't do less than a week in the Smokys. Otherwise, we feel shortchanged. There are over 800 miles of trails to hike, many auto-tours, quiet walkways, and great places to eat in town.

When it comes to the touristy activities in Gatlinburg, I can see why some might be put off by the redundancy of t-shirts and fudge, but many feel there is a certain character to the little village. In between the above described chaos, there are some nice shops and eating establishments, along with some galleries that we enjoy.

The Arts and Crafts District in the Glades was formed as the commercialism swept in, and rents became to high for the crafts. One entire building was moved, and that is now known as The Cliff Dwellers, in the arts and crafts district. Nice folks there.

So stay a week, because you'll wish you had two :-)

United States
Level Contributor
92 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

Thanks so much for your prompt replies!!

10. Re: Ideal time to spend in Smoky Mountains

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 27 October 2012, 13:17
Get answers to your questions about Great Smoky Mountains...