Fall is upon us! And that means there’s no better place to be than Gatlinburg for the changing of the leaves. Surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a stroll through downtown Gatlinburg is the perfect segue to fall leaf-peeping pleasure. In fact, the Smokies are home to more than 100 species of trees, 80 percent of which are deciduous, making for a myriad of colors this time of year. Here are the top 7 places in Gatlinburg for catching the sights of fall:
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail- Get off the Parkway and head out of town on Historic Nature Trail and in a matter of minutes, a cluster of color surrounds visitors’ cars. Two of the more popular waterfalls in the park are located on the Motor Nature Trail- Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. Also found on the Trail is the Noah “Bud” Ogle Cabin, showcasing a wooden flume plumbing system as well as one of the last remaining working tub mills. Hop in the car and get off the beaten path!
- Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway- Opened in 1973, Ober Gatlinburg’s Aerial Tramway is one of the largest in America. Each tramcar accommodates up to 120 passengers, so there’s plenty of room for the whole family. Soaring two miles to the top of Mt. Harrison, the tram offers spectacular panoramic views of Mt. LeConte and the rest of the Smokies. Rolling hills covered in colorful reds and yellows will leave riders with the feeling of stepping into a Smoky Mountain mural. Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is open 7 days a week and departs from the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg.
- Gatlinburg SkyLift- There’s plenty of time to take in all the sights as riders steadily glide up the side of Crockett Mountain. The final destination is 1,800 feet above Gatlinburg! At the top, spectators will find observation decks and unique souvenirs. The Sky Lift is one of the more romantic destinations on the list as they host weddings atop the lofty overlook. Gatlinburg Sky Lift is open daily.
- Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook- Coming in at #3 on TripAdvisor’s list of top U.S. attractions seeing the greatest increase in traveler interest, the Scenic Overlook provides a pull-off area on the Gatlinburg Bypass. Showcasing spectacular views of downtown Gatlinburg alongside an incomparable mountain landscape, this is undoubtedly the spot to grab that fall family photo.\
- Gatlinburg Space Needle- Standing at 407 feet tall, the view from the Space Needle leaves spectators with a mountain top feeling without ever leaving town. With a complete 360-degree view, the observation deck of the Space Needle offers an array of vantage points for fall scenes every day.
- Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community- With more than 100 artists and craftsmen along the 8-mile loop, Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is the largest group of independent artisans in North America. Fall is the perfect time to take in all the beauty Gatlinburg’s arts scene offers. Take a stroll beneath the spectacular colors while selecting handmade items crafted in the Smoky Mountains for generations.
Check out the leaf schedule here.