A question we often get asked, especially as the seasons begin to change, is when is the best time to visit the Smoky Mountains for the fall colors? Well, here are 5 Tips to planning your trip for one of the most magical times of year!
When is best time to come for the color transformation?
The Smoky Mountains are covered in a variety of trees including sugar maples, hickories, sweetgum, scarlet oaks, red maples and nearly 100 other species of native trees. This makes for amazing fall colors from vibrant golds to oranges and reds! The best time to catch this transformation is mid-October to the beginning of November. This splendor of colors will last for about 7 weeks, depending on the temperature and length of sunlight in the day. For that reason it’s always a little tricky to predict when the exact “best” time will be.
How does fall in the mountains work?
What’s incredible about fall in the mountains is that it’s like a cascade of color. The leaves will begin to change at the highest elevation first and throughout the weeks will make its way down the mountain as temperatures cool. The green in the leaves will start the break down process and in turn create those vibrant colors we all love.
How soon should you start planning your trip?
The Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in America! That being said, it is always wise to plan your trip at least a few months in advance, especially for this time of year. The last three weeks of October hosts the most people.
What are the best ways to see the fall colors?
There are so many ways to enjoy this display of colors, and maybe we’re a little biased, but ziplining is our favorite way! But in all seriousness, most people will take in the views by driving through Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road (US 441), but those roads can get pretty congested during this time of year! Being able to zipline amongst the trees is something else entirely! You don’t have to worry about getting distracted while you drive, you can pause on our platforms and take pictures, and you can feel like the wind as you zip through the many fall colors. It really is the most breathtaking experience.
After you zipline with us we can suggest a few hikes where you can continue to take your time and soak in the beauty that is all around you!
What are the best views of the foliage?
Both our zipline courses offer unique ways to experience the fall colors. The tree top course puts you right in the middle of it all! Zipping from tree to tree, you’ll be right amongst the leaves. Our Mountain Top Course will give you the full picture and view of all the colors as they cover the mountains. If you can’t decide, that’s ok! You can do both 🙂 Afterwards you can take a short drive up the Foothills Parkway to take some epic pictures. Pack yourself a lunch and have a little picnic on your car as you enjoy these scenic spots of the epic Smoky Mountains.