Top Fall Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are one of the most vital and thriving sources of beauty in the world today. With a wide variety of attractions, luxurious hotels, and picturesque mountains teeming with life and explosive color, there are treats in store for families and visitors both young and old alike. However, what really sets these hills apart are the hiking trails that carry not only The Smoky Mountains’ hidden treasures, but also the vivid color pallet guaranteed to light your senses on fire and open your mind to the beauty that is Pigeon Forge. One of the best ways to take in the beauty of our region is by hiking. Try one of these top hikes to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains.

Abrams Falls Trail

Located only 30 miles outside of Pigeon Forge, this trail is a favorite among tourists and nature lovers looking for beautiful waterfalls, easy biking paths, and exotic wildlife. Located off an 11-mile loop of the Cades Cove Trail, the entire hike itself is only 5 miles round-trip. The falls are 20 feet high. This trail is perfect for visiting day-trip hikers, with a round-trip hike only taking approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete. The fall colors and great locations are perfect for family hikers.

Little Greenbrier Trail

This relatively short trail makes for a beautiful fall hike. Most of the hike is wooded, but you'll have many opportunities to check out the incredible views along the way. It also intersects with Little Brier Gap trail (about a half mile to the Walker Sisters Cabin) and ends at an intersection with Laurel Falls trail, if you feel like seeing a little more of the sights and extending your hike.

Little Greenbrier Trail

Meigs Mountain Trail

Meigs Mountain Trail is a quiet and wooded hike that's great to do in the fall because of the gloriously tall trees. There's also plenty to see along the trail: an old cemetery, numerous water crossings, and a couple pretty cascades and waterfalls. At the end of the hike you'll have the chance to explore parts of the Elkmont ghost town.

Meigs Mountain Trail

Bradley Fork Trail

Another of the pretty wooded fall hikes, Bradley Fork Trail is located on the North Carolina side of the park near the Smokemont Campground. The 7.3 mile trail is actually a fairly wide gravel road, making for a pretty comfortable hike for the first four miles. After the steady moderate incline you'll find the last part of the hike a bit more challenging, as the trail becomes steep along Hughes Ridge.

Bradley Fork Trail

Clingmans Dome

Located only 30 miles from Pigeon Forge, Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains, is an attraction not to be missed. After a short half-mile hike along a paved path, you will find yourself atop a tower at more than 6,600 ft. Temperatures at the dome are approximately 10 to 20 degrees cooler than on the forest floor. Due to this temperature difference, the trees at this elevation begin changing colors earlier in the season.

Because of the temperature difference, this trail is a good choice for visitors looking for beautiful fall foliage early in the year, as well as those looking for a short but rewarding hike. With panoramic views spanning 100 miles in all directions, and a family atmosphere that welcomes biking and pets, this is a sight not to be missed in Pigeon Forge.

Andrews Bald Trail

Not all hikes to see fall colors are long and treacherous. In fact, the Andrews Bald Trail, which is right outside Clingman's Dome, is only about 3.5 miles round trip.  The mild elevation makes this hike less strenuous for tired legs and much more family friendly.  Along the hike you are sure to see spruce fir trees, acres of grassy meadows, and last but not least, the beautiful fall colors.

Andrews Bald

Alum Cave Trail

Alum Cave Trail is for the more experienced hiker and offers everything veterans of the outdoors are looking for. The hike offers vantage points halfway along the trail to Mt. LeConte at the Alum Cave Bluffs. The hike from beginning to end sees a 1200 ft. elevation change which shows its guests a wide range of colors and sights. With a variety of maples, hickories, and birches, this hike provides a wide range of fall colors continuously from Early October through November.

Alum Cave Trail

Mount Cammerer

The hike to Mt. Cammerer consists of 11 beautiful, but very steep, miles. The terrain is rugged, and you will climb over 3000 feet in elevation before reaching the summit. Don't let the difficulty intimidate you because every step you take on your way up to the top is rewarding. Along the way you will see historic marks along the Appalachian Trail, beautifully crafted lookouts, and endless panoramic views of the colors.

Mt. Cammerer
At 4928 feet in elevation, the summit of Mt. Cammerer sits on the edge of a rocky outcropping overlooking the Pigeon River Gorge. On a clear day the views are simply awesome; some even say the best in the Park.AllTrails.com

Spence Field

Spence Field is a great trail near Cades Cove that offers a ton of great options to veer off in a new direction. Not only can you hike this trail to see the fall colors, but you can also ride horseback on parts. The 10.3 miles is broken up by breathtaking lookouts, unique foliage, and picnic benches for the entire family. Once you reach the top, there is nothing standing in between you and miles and miles of fall colors.

Spence Field

If you or your loved ones want to experience the tapestry of colors that the trails of the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge have to offer, check out our website and contact us today for more information on how to get your hike started. You can also find a detailed trail map at nps.gov.

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