The autumn colors in Gatlinburg are still bursting! While the colors have become a bit more muted, deep reds, subdued oranges and golden yellows still paint the landscape. While the colors in some of the higher elevations are starting to fade, many trees in the lower elevations are still going strong.
Trees in the higher elevations pass their prime before those in lower areas, and some have even shed their leaves in preparation for winter. Particularly above 3,000 feet, many trees are balding. There should even still be color continuing on through the first days of November, so if you hurry, you won’t miss the fabulous display! You can still enjoy the reds of black gum, sumac, dogwoods and sourwood trees. For lovely golds, look out for tulip trees, black walnut, birch, beech, spicebush and hickories.
With the cooler weather and beautiful scenery, it is the perfect time of year for hiking. There are plenty of great hikes in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including hikes for all ages and ability levels. Imagine clear blue skies, the crunch of leaves beneath your feet and a cool breeze. Wildlife is gathering for the winter, so spend some time outside watching for squirrels, deer, bears and other animals.
Some of the best hikes are:
- Deep Creek
- Little River
- Old Settlers
- Smokemont Loop
- Old Sugarlands
- Kephart Prong
- Abrams Falls
Or, if you want to sit back and enjoy the view from a quiet drive, there are plenty of beautiful roads. Pack up the family or have a romantic afternoon on the road. Try some of these routes:
- Little River Road
- Foothills Parkway
- Newfound Gap Road (stop for plenty of great overlooks)
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
- Rich Mountain and Parson Branch Roads (in Cades Cove)
- Balsam Mountain Road
- Cove Creek Road