By Leif Palmer
Posted on November 6, 2019
Thanks to a recent spell of cooler temperatures and rain, the colors are really rebounding in the Great Smoky Mountains, which means if you were hoping to catch the fall foliage this year, this would be a great time to come to Gatlinburg. We're seeing reds and oranges in the higher elevations, while the greens are just starting to turn in the lower elevations. There's more than a 5,000-foot range of elevation around here as well as more than 100 species of trees, so the conditions are ideal for a kaleidoscopic experience in the mountains this year. Right now, sugar maples, scarlet oaks, sweetgums, red maples and hickories are among the varieties of trees showing the most color.
Good places to see fall colors in the Smokies include Newfound Gap Road from Alum Cave Trailhead to Kephart Prong Trailhead; the Blue Ridge Parkway; Foothills Parkway east and west; and Heintooga Ridge Road to Balsam Mountain Campground. Suggested hikes include Rich Mountain Loop, Chestnut Top Trail, Smokemont Loop, Kanati Fork and Sutton Ridge Overlook. Just remember that if you're planning to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see the foliage, traffic is little heavier than usual, so be sure to build extra time into your travel itineraries. Also be advised that there have been road closures in recent weeks due to high winds knocking trees down. Always check the park's official website for road closures before embarking on your trip.
Once you're here, there's a lot going on in Gatlinburg in terms of special events, so you have even more reasons to hang around. The city's Veterans Day celebration is on November 11 at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. This free event honors United States military veterans with marching bands, a presentation by Boy Scouts and addresses by keynote speakers.
From November 26 through December 1, you can catch the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. This event is also free, featuring unique handcrafted items made by members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, the nation's largest organization of independent artisans. Their eight-mile auto loop in Gatlinburg is home to hundreds of artists, and their annual Thanksgiving show features examples of their work, including quilts, straw brooms, baskets, hand-dipped candles, pottery, leather work and more.
Both of these special events are downtown, so our Gatlinburg parking lots offer easy access by foot while allowing you to leave your vehicle for the entire day, if you like, for one low price.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.