As the seasons change, it’s normal to feel the urge to get out and explore – whether you are longing for a relaxing “staycation” in your backyard, or a more ambitious road trip to a town you’ve never visited. If you are of the latter disposition, and you’re wanting to experience a unique environment complete with rivers, mountain views, and changing leaves, look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains region. There are many fun things to do in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park this autumn when you decide to go for a visit. Learn about the Autumn in the Smoky Mountains.
Autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains
Autumn in the Smokies is a particularly beautiful time of year to visit, as there are plentiful activities that make it easy to enjoy the crisp air, the colorful foliage, and the inspiring views over the rolling mountains. The small towns nestled in these hills also provide a wide range of fun and excitement for all ages. There are so many things to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, that it was hard for us to narrow it down to a list this size! But, we feel confident that if you choose one or more of the activities listed below, you will come home from your Smoky Mountain getaway refreshed and rejuvenated.
Autumn Activities to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains
Of course, one of the most popular things to do in the Smokies is to enjoy the gorgeous natural environment. Hiking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, many other water activities, and zip-lining are some exciting outdoor activities you can add to your itinerary during your Smokies Getaway.
There are several fantastic companies that provide zip lining and other fun outdoor activities in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville areas. Wahoo Ziplines and Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park are two of our favorite spots to go and enjoy a day full of fun and adventure. Many zip line parks cater to first-timers as well as seasoned zip-lining enthusiasts, and many children age 5 and older can enjoy an exhilarating ride through the treetops.
Hiking trails in this beautiful area are plentiful, and trails that lead to beautiful views and waterfalls are some of the most fun to experience! As each hike is an easy drive from the central city centers, you can spend part of the day outside and come back with enough energy to enjoy a delicious picnic or meal on a patio in town!
There are also many hikes that feature lovely waterfalls and rushing water in creeks and rivers. There is such a richness of life that exists near water, and the Great Smoky Mountain region delivers in spades. From great blue herons and kingfishers to salamanders and crayfish, a hike near water in the Smokies is a “must” for nature lovers of all ages. Hen Wallow Falls is a short day hike, 4-mile roundtrip through old-growth forest. It ends at a beautiful 95-foot waterfall! This is a perfect place for a picnic, or to enjoy a beverage with your sweetheart.
Andrew’s Bald and Laurel Falls are two favorite hikes for those who want to experience both beautiful views and have enough time left in the day to enjoy exploring Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, or Sevierville. Chimney Tops is a wonderful hike for those looking to enjoy an unbeatable view of the Smoky Mountains. This is a more strenuous hike, so families with older children are recommended to enjoy this hike with adequate preparation.
Hen Wallow Falls is a short day hike, a 4-mile round trip through an old-growth forest. It ends at a beautiful 95-foot waterfall! This is a perfect place for a picnic, or to enjoy a beverage with your sweetheart. Alum Cave Bluffs is a wonderful 5-mile round trip hike that passes through some of the unique ecologies in the region. On this trail, you’ll see groves of mountain laurel and rhododendron, as well as a high-elevation bald.
There are many great resources for planning safe, enjoyable hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains. With a little research, you can easily find the information you need and before you know it, you’ll be hitting the trail!
Another great way to enjoy the beautiful mountain trails is on a Llama Trek! Take in the views on a trail accompanied by trained guides and fluffy, adorable pack llamas. They can show you where all of the prettiest wildflowers grow, while you breathe the fresh mountain air.
For animal lovers in your family, this is an unforgettable experience that combines beautiful mountain scenery with up-close-and-personal encounters with adorable llamas. This is an activity best suited for families with older children, as those who are comfortable walking on their own and interacting with large animals are able to enjoy this experience to the fullest.
There are many guide companies that also offer unique tours of the region, and several of them offer hikes taken on horseback! It’s a very romantic experience and can be enjoyed by couples, parents with kids, or whole families. The well-trained horses will carry you safely through the beautiful forests, past breathtaking views that are perfect for taking in the changing foliage and Smoky Mountain scenery.
There are also several beautiful Greenways that wind through the towns of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville. The Greenways are an excellent resource for those who want to explore the area on a bike, and there are many bike rental services in the area that can provide you with the wheels you need to hit the trail.
If you plan a day on the Greenways, you can enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather, watch the changing leaves pass by, and stop for delicious food and beverages along the way. A bike ride on the Greenways is a fun activity for all ages, so whether you are traveling alone, with a friend, or with your whole family, make sure to spend some time biking on the Greenways for a memorable experience.
With all the fun outdoor activities, delicious restaurant options, and a plethora of fun and excitement in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, a trip to the Smoky Mountains during the autumn is sure to refresh your spirit. Come and visit for a long weekend, or even for a full week, and we know you won’t be disappointed.
Grab your loved ones, and your dog, and pack everyone up in the car for a road trip! The views are sure to amaze as you make your way through the mountains to your final destination. If you’re looking for resources to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to visit the Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge Visitor’s Center for thoughtfully-curated maps, planning tools, and recommendations for restaurants, attractions, hotels, and much more.