Enjoying the Colors of Fall in the Smokies

Fall Colors in the Smokies

The trees are getting ready to bathe the Smokies in a bright array of colors. That’s right, fall is here, and we’re excited to start enjoying the beautiful display of oranges, reds, and yellows on the mountains. If you’ve never been to Rafting in the Smokies in the fall, this is a great time to go! We have some tips on finding the perfect photo opportunity on your way here, plus some ideas for enjoying the fall with a bunch of fun.

Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

If you want an ideal location to get a photo of Gatlinburg from overhead, this is the spot for you. Located to the west of Gatlinburg, take the Gatlinburg Bypass either from the Parkway or from 441 after you exit the south of Gatlinburg. Halfway through the drive you’ll get the best spot for a picture.

East Foothills Parkway (Section 8A – Cosby, TN)

This is a great scenic six-mile drive, and one we recommend you take to get to Rafting in the Smokies in record time. This section is not as heavily trafficked, and you’ll find plenty of overlooks to stop and get some excellent mountain photos. You can also expect the drive to be quiet as RVs and semi trucks aren’t allowed on this stretch of highway. It’s located on 339 between Cosby and I-40 (mile marker 442).

West Foothills Parkway (Section 8G – Happy Valley, TN)

There is another segment of the Foothills Parkway that runs past Townsend, TN, and Wears Valley, which has its own observation tower (accessible via a half-mile hike) called Look Rock. It’s another location where you can be adventurous and get more panoramic views. From the tower you can see several landmark mountains and areas like Clingmans Dome, Cades Cove, and Mt. LeConte. There is a parking area for Look Rock.

Scenic Cabin Stay

Escape from it all and experience the beauty of autumn from your own private cabin! Our partners at Wildwood Mountain Cabin Rentals have cabins that have one to four bedrooms. Some are nestled in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains and others rise above with breathtaking views.

Zipline and Ropes Course

Imagine sailing past the vibrant hues as you enjoy our Zipline Canopy Tour. We operate our Zipline tour through the end of October so you can zip during the peak season for autumn colors in the Smokies. If you want to take a slower pace and enjoy the treetops around you at your own speed, we recommend the High Elements Ropes Course.


We hope you’ll take some of our tips for great photo opportunities and visit us as the leaves change color. If you’re ready to come join us for a zipline or ropes course adventure, book reservations today! Have you been here before in the fall? Visit our Facebook page, and send us a photo of the vibrant fall foliage from your last trip. We’d love to see your photo skills—and if we can share them with the world, that’s even better!