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Fall in Great Smoky Mountains

Fall is without a doubt the best time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Vibrant fall colors dominate the park’s serene landscapes, elk herds are rutting in the valleys, days are cool and nights are chilly, and it all feels just right.


Fall is without a doubt the best time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Autumn brings crisp and cool weather and some of the most spectacular fall foliage found anywhere on the planet. Elk can be seen rutting in the valleys and the hot humid days of summer are replaced with brisk mornings and pleasant afternoons. Nights can be cold in late fall and the park does see lots of visitors, or leaf peepers, from the surrounding areas. The fall color arrives in stages with the higher elevations reaching peak in mid October and the lower elevations reaching peak in early November.

Fall Monthly Temperatures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

September 74F / 50F
October 65F / 38F
November 55F / 29F

Things to See in Great Smoky Mountains In Fall

Fall Activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Popular Fall activities in the Great Smoky Mountains include:

  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail.
  • Driving the Cades Cove loop road.
  • Fishing for trout along the parks streams.
  • Watching the elk rut.
  • Taking in the spectacular fall color.
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Overlook | Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina

Interested in what Great Smoky Mountains is like during other times of the year? Check out our Great Smoky Mountains Seasons & Weather page to learn more about which season is best for your visit to the park. Our personal favorite is Fall but Spring can be nice as well.

The Great Smoky Mountains Film

This video is the culmination of two weeks exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We chose Great Smoky Mountains as our second ever park film because of it’s extraordinary display of fall colors, it’s incredibly diverse wildlife population, and it’s prominence as the most visited national park in the country. This film was shot entirely in 4K UHD.

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Jim Pattiz

Co-Founder of More Than Just Parks. Filmmaker, Conservationist, Public Lands Enthusiast

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