By Leif Palmer
Posted on September 23, 2020
As October approaches, we'll soon be seeing all the area foliage turn from green into the brilliant colors of fall. It's such a spectacular show that folks come to the Smokies from all over the world to witness the transformation. Here in Gatlinburg, we benefit from being adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which essentially becomes an 800-square-mile blanket of color rolling from Tennessee into North Carolina.
If you decide to visit us in Gatlinburg this fall, we recommend getting out and seeing some of nature's finest work. One good place to start is the national park. Whether you climb a mountain, go camping, hike a trail, do some fishing, go on a picnic, bike around Cades Cove or drive Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, you will enjoy the spectacular backdrop of the colorful foliage around you. Even if you stick close to Gatlinburg, we have some suggestions for a few places you can check out right here in town that will afford you awesome views of the city and the surrounding mountains as well.
Standing tall over downtown Gatlinburg, this 407-foot-tall attraction allows you to travel by glass-enclosed elevator to the observation deck at the top, where you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and the Great Smoky Mountains. For the best parking for the Space Needle, consult the Gatlinburg parking map on our website to find a convenient lot within walking distance.
This is the longest suspension pedestrian bridge in North America, and it's located in Gatlinburg. You access it by riding our SkyLift from downtown. At the top of the mountain, you'll cross a valley on a 680-foot suspension footbridge. Along the way, you'll enjoy panoramic views, and at one point, you'll be 150 feet off the ground. The best part is the 30-foot section in the middle consisting of double-glass panels that allow you to see below your feet, all the way to the ground. Check it out if you dare!
This tramway system originates from the Parkway downtown and takes passengers back and forth to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort attraction on Mt. Harrison. Even if you don't plan to visit Ober Gatlinburg, you'll enjoy a ride to the top of the mountain and back on these large, climate-controlled cable cars. The views of the city below and the mountains above are worth the trip.
Technically, this is also part of the national park, but it's so convenient to town, it's easy to take advantage of. This stretch of road starts on the north end of Gatlinburg and goes directly to the national park entrance, skirting around the city. Along the way are scenic pull-offs where you can stop the car for a few minutes and view downtown Gatlinburg below or enjoy up-close views of neighboring mountains within the national park.
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.