Best Fall Drives in the Smokies

fall drives in the smokies

Fall drives in the Smokies are one of the best ways to experience the change in seasons. The weather has a cool, crispness to it and the leaves are showing the earliest signs of changing. If you are looking to do something with the whole family this fall, try taking a drive on one of these beautiful, scenic routes in the Smoky Mountains.


Cades Cove Loop Road

It can be argued that Cades Cove is one of people’s favorite areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National park, and for good reason—it is gorgeous. The 11 mile, one-way loop road will carry you through forests and past a 20-foot waterfall that leads into a steam. Because the road is open sunrise to sunset year-round, try going later in the afternoon, so you can view all this beauty just as the sun begins sinking towards the horizon.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

This six-mile long trail is home to one of the largest and swiftest mountain streams in the Park. Between the old forests and historic buildings and structures, there is much to see on this drive. In the fall, the colors of the trees will take your breath away so much that you might have to drive around a few times just to process the sheer beauty of it all. While you’re there, consider checking out the 80-foot tall waterfall, the highest waterfall in the Smokies.

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Foothills Parkway

Located near the Smoky Mountains, Foothills Parkway will take drivers to a lower altitude, so they can appreciate the view from a different perspective. You will see the vast number of autumn trees that blanket the mountains in a rainbow of oranges, reds and yellows, as they cascade over you. And this particular parkway allows for RV’s and trailers too, so you can drive through, no matter what kind of vehicle you drive.

Tail of the Dragon

Out of Cades Cove, on Highway 129, the Tail of the Dragon is an 11-mile stretch that winds and curves its way through the Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge. You will get to see hills, valleys, forests and mountain peaks on this fun drive. However, be cautious, as the road features many sharp turns, so be sure to stick to the 30 MPH speed limit.

fall drives in the smokies

Cataloochee Valley

Nestled in a valley of the Smoky Mountains is Cataloochee Valley. Driving through this area, you will be surrounded by peaks that reach over 6,000 feet. Several old structures are planted in this valley, including a school, churches and houses. It’s a great place to see some beautiful fall colors and learn a little bit about American history.

fall drives in the smokies

If you want to see these amazing sights, pack up the kids and the car, and take your family on a drive that doesn’t involve sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Take a lunch, crank some tunes, and enjoy the view. Book a Pigeon Forge cabin for the weekend, and spend some quality time with your family in the Smoky Mountains.