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Question about busy in October

Rural Valley, PA
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Question about busy in October

Just read where you are extremely busy bumper to bumper mid October. Is during the week just as busy. I realize weekends would be crazier, but is it still terrible during the week. Wanted a get a way in October, but we could change our plans to September if that would be less crowded.

We have never been to the area, so really don't want to get into too much crowds so we can enjoy it more.

any suggestions?

Knoxville, Tennessee
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for Pigeon Forge
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1. Re: Question about busy in October

The worst traffic in the area is usually found on weekends of the large car shows (first weekends in Sept and some spring ones as well). Running a close second are holiday weeks like July 4th and the fall foliage season which is typically from the 2nd to the 4th weeks of October. There are other times when it can be bad but these are probably the worst.

During the October weeks mentioned it's usually bad all week as folks take time off to see the sometimes striking colors of leaves turning in the area. I suppose it may be a little worse on the weekends then but I'm not sure it's a measurable difference. For most of my life my family would try to time visits here for this time. We always found simply finding a hotel room to be a challenge. Since we now live here I can't say whether or not that is still a problem.

Regardless of when you decide to come I'd recommend studying back roads and look for alternative routes to the main parkway when possible. If possible do not plan on arriving on Friday afternoon as traffic from I-40 is always heavy then and don't plan to leave late Sunday morning as the traffic out then is awful.

Paris, Tn
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for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
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2. Re: Question about busy in October

In my opinion, from mid October to the first week of November, traffic can get very busy, due to the autumn leaf changing. (especially on weekends) It's not as bad during the week. But, if you should change your vacation to September you'll no doubt miss the "fall spectacular" completely.

Rural Valley, PA
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3. Re: Question about busy in October

I know you cannot predict, but is Oct 13-17 too early then, or would later in October be better. Here in Pennsylvania by mid October the leaves are done

Rural Valley, PA
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4. Re: Question about busy in October

We could arrive Monday afternoon and leave Friday

Grove City, Ohio
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5. Re: Question about busy in October

It's really hard to predict when peak times are because of the vast elevation changes. During the time you want to be there the higher elevations might be at peak, but maybe not lower. You should be able to see some pretty nice color, somewhere in the Park during this time. Being in the area during the week makes all the difference. No where near as crowded. We'll be there the next week. Have a great time.

Wilder, KY
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6. Re: Question about busy in October

This means nothing, but I would say "on average" the peak foliage tends to be the 3rd weekend of October. So, the 13th-17th would be just on the front-end of that. It may still be completely green, or you may hit peak.

As for driving, the side roads are really the only way to avoid it. Head into town early in the morning and use the Gatlinburg bypass, veterans blvd and maybe even cartertown, birds creek or pittman center if you're trying to get between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I wouldn't avoid the area that time of year, it's too pretty. I would avoid the towns as much as possible (plus, I'd rather spend that time in the park).

Paris, Tn
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for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
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7. Re: Question about busy in October

Let me add this to the fire....for the past six years in a row we've been coming the first week of November. The color has passed its peak, but there's usually been some "hangers-on" still on the trees to add color. We lived in North East Ohio for the first 37 years of my life and I know "our color" usually was in Sept & early Oct.

Mississippi
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8. Re: Question about busy in October

We avoid traffic issues by getting out early. Most vacationers like to sleep in.

We also dine at restaurants when others do not. Late lunches, early dinners.

Side roads like Teaster are essential. We stay in Wear's Valley almost exclusively, so we only have to go to town for groceries, or if there's something we want to do there. We spend most of our time hiking in the park, so if you can walk far enough, you get away from the crowds :-)

Edited: 03 August 2014, 22:47
Rural Valley, PA
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9. Re: Question about busy in October

I really don't plan of doing any of the touristy attractions. I'm not into the gimmicks. I love to see the scenery. My husband and I can't hike a lot but I do intend on getting into the parks. We rented a room at the Clarion in Gatlinburg and it says they have a refrigerator, so I figure we can bring lunchmeat from home to make sandwiches for a picnic lunch. There is a breakfast at the hotel, so if, like you said, get up early, eat breakfast and take off, we should be in the park by the time people are just getting around???

Wilder, KY
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10. Re: Question about busy in October

Assuming you're not a late sleeper, then yes, you should be good :) If you're wanting to do more of the popular areas of the park (Roaring Fork Nature Trail, Cades Cove) I would target 8 as the time you want to be out the door.

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