Great Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Report

Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Report

Updated: October 19, 2016

If you’re trying to plan a vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains to enjoy the fall colors, go ahead and bookmark this page. We will be giving you Fall foliage reports throughout Autumn so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Fall foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains starts in late September and spreads across the mountains around early November. While this is a good rule of thumb, the timing of fall color changes can be unpredictable because of the many variable involved – exact dates of the ‘peak season’ are impossible to predict ahead of time. That’s why we’re making this page for you, to keep you updated about the changing colors!

Earlier in the season, you’ll see color changes happening at higher elevations above 4000 feet. The higher elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are similar to the climate of New England. By the middle of October, you’ll see color changes spreading to the lower elevations.

Great Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Report

UPDATE: We’re seeing some beautiful colors at the highest elevations as they reach their peak for the season! They wash of orange, yellow, and red make for majestic scenes in the Great Smoky Mountains. Fall’s colors are starting to creep into the lower elevations as well. We’re seeing leaves start to change in earnest at the middle and lower elevations as well. The next three weeks should see peak color in the Smokies. So, if you’re planning a trip to see the leaf changes then you should come in that time. With the autumn drought, leaves may stay on the trees longer this season, going into mid-November. Check out some of these Instagram photos showing off the fall colors in the Smokies!

Our friends with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Service have set up some webcams in the park so you can see up to the minute fall colors.

High elevation: Purchase Knob
Middle elevation: Look Rock

Great Smoky Mountain Fall Colors

Smoky Mountain fall colors first appear at higher elevations.

Smoky Mountain Fall Facts

If you stay in the area long enough, you can see the progression of color change from the higher elevations, down the mountainside and into Pigeon Forge. You can normally expect to experience the beautiful autumn scenes for several weeks. With that being said, however, the timing of fall color has many different factors that make exact dates of color change nearly impossible to predict.

Several factors play into the changing of the colors, specifically, the weather in September. The colder temps will provide an earlier color change, but if it stays warmer, you could expect a later October “peak” for leaf changes. Elevation also plays a key role as to when fall colors will change. The higher elevations could experience changes as early as September!

The brilliant fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountains are due in large part to the biodiversity in the park. More than 100 species of trees are native to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, many of which are deciduous.

fall colors in the smokies

The wide variety of different trees is a key reason for the brilliant fall colors in the Smokies

When Should I Book My Vacation?

Autumn truly is a beautiful time to visit the Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. We know you want to get your lodging booked and start planning your trip. With so many variables and the inability to predict Mother Nature, the safest bet is to plan your trip sometime in the last 3 weeks of October. If you’re looking for lodging close to the park, keep in mind that there are no hotels or cabins located inside the national park. But, luckily, the Great Smoky Mountains are only a very short drive from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. October is a very busy month, so book your trip now!

Book at the best hotels in the Smokies here

Find your perfect Smoky Mountain Cabin here

Reserve your spot at an awesome campsite here

Start your luxurious stay at a resort here

Begin your relaxing stay at a Bed and Breakfast here

Other blogs you might be interested in…

Best 6 Things To Do During the Fall in Pigeon Forge

Pet Friendly Hotels in Pigeon Forge

7 Best RV Parks and Campground in the Pigeon Forge Area

Featured Posts


10 Reasons to Visit Sevier County, TN

If you are looking for ways t.


Field Trip Destinations in the Pigeon Forge Area

Are you looking for field tri.


Indoor Things To Do in Pigeon Forge, TN

All the Things To do Inside i.