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When to See Peak Pigeon Forge Fall Foliage

Autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains is a beautiful time of year.  The mountains and valleys are painted with stunning colors that light up the Smokies.  Curious about when you should visit Pigeon Forge to see the magnificent Fall colors?  Use our Pigeon Forge Fall Foliage peak color guide for helpful tips on when to go and what to do.

The color in the National Park is varied as there are over 100 varieties of native trees, creating a kaleidoscope of color. As early as mid-September, you’ll be able to see color changes in trees above 4,000 feet, with the peak colors present at middle and lower elevations between mid-October and early November.



Pigeon Forge Fall Foliage

September

Fall in the Smokies begins in September, with the emerging changes occurring above 4,000 feet. Red, orange and yellow colors can be seen on sourwood, dogwood, maple, sassafras and birch trees.  Drives recommended for September viewing are Parsons Branch Road, Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road.

Suggested hikes for seeing the Smoky Mountain foliage in September

  • Andrews Bald
  • Mt. LeConte
  • Albright Grove

Suggested auto tours for foliage in September

  • Parson Branch Road

Pigeon Forge Fall Foliage

October

Early October

Be the beginning of October the mountains of the Smokies are awash in brilliant color.  To see the bold yellows of the American beech and yellow birch to the rich reds on mountain ash, pin cherry and mountain maple trees, the viewing is best on roads including Newfound Gap Road, Heintooga Ridge Road, Foothills Parkway and Rich Mountain Road in Cades Cove.

Suggested hikes for seeing the Smoky Mountain foliage in early October

  • Sugarland Mountain Trail
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Clingmans Dome
  • Newfound Gap Trail

Suggested auto tours for foliage in early October

  • Newfound Gap Road
  • Heintooga Ridge Road
  • Foothills Parkway West and East
  • Rich Mountain Road

Mountain ridges glow with autumn color, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mid-October

In mid-October, the Great Smoky Mountains are about a week away from peak color of the lower elevations.  However, the valleys and higher elevations are at a peak.  They are painted with bold reds from black gum, dogwoods, sumac and sourwood trees and golds from the tulip tree, black walnut, birch, beech and hickories.   Recommended scenic drives include Cove Creek Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Foothills Parkway and Newfound Gap Road.

Suggested hikes for seeing the Smoky Mountain foliage in mid-October

  • Lower Mount Cammerer
  • Baskins Creek Falls
  • Little River
  • Old Settlers
  • Porters Creeks Trails
  • Sugarland Mountain Trail
  • Low Gap Trail
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Mt. Sterling Trail
  • Goshen Prong Trail

Suggested auto tours for foliage in mid-October:

  • Newfound Gap Road
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
  • Balsam Mountain Road
  • Cove Creek Road

Late October

The peak colors are very impressive in late October. From low to high elevations, the marvelous colors of fall can be seen through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is not unusual to see autumn color last through the mid-November. Suggested drives are Blue Ridge Parkway, Foothills Parkway and Heintooga Ridge Road to Balsam Mountain.

Suggested hikes for seeing the Smoky Mountain foliage in late October

  • Rainbow Falls Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail
  • Rich Mountain LoopChestnut Top Trail
  • Smokemont Loop
  • Kanati Fork
  • Sutton Ridge Overlook

Suggested auto tours for foliage in late October

  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Foothills Parkway
  • Balsam Mountain Road
  • Heintooga Ridge Road
  • Newfound Gap Road

Plan a Pigeon Forge Fall Foliage Vacation

Reserve a Smoky Mountain vacation today to experience the beauty of Pigeon Forge fall foliage. There are a wide range of Pigeon Forge vacation packages available or you can create your own package.  Either option allows you to see the splendor of the Smokies in all their beauty.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.
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