Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the country! With some 100 species of native trees in the Smokies, the area features virtually every shade of red, yellow, and orange leaves. One of the best ways to go leaf peeping is by taking a drive through the national park. To help you make the most of your vacation, Amazing Views Cabin Rentals has put together a list of the top five scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains for viewing the fall colors:
1. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a very popular drive for seeing the fall foliage because of its convenient location close to downtown Gatlinburg. Just turn onto Historic Nature Trail – Airport Road at stoplight # 8 on The Strip and you will soon find yourself in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a paved one-way road that runs along Roaring Fork creek and offers plenty of secluded natural beauty. Be advised that the road is narrow, steep, and impassible for buses, trailers, and mobile homes. Highlights of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail include:
- The historic Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin and self-guiding nature trail
- Breathtaking mountain views at Stop #3
- The trailhead for the 2.6 mile round-trip hike to Grotto Falls at Stop #5
- The “Place of a Thousand Drips” waterfall, located on the left near the end of the road
(See Also: 4 Interesting Facts About Fall in the Smoky Mountains)
2. Cades Cove Loop Road
Cades Cove is absolutely idyllic in the fall, especially during the last two weeks of October. This valley offers stunning views of the mountains, wide open fields, restored historic buildings, and some of the best wildlife viewing in the national park. Visitors will traverse an 11 mile loop road and will have numerous opportunities to pull over and enjoy the sights. The Cades Cove loop is one of the most frequented scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains in the fall, so prepare to spend 2 – 4 hours making your way through this beautiful area.
3. Newfound Gap Road
Stretching on for 31 miles, Newfound Gap Road takes you to some of the most scenic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During your autour, you will enjoy incredible vistas of the autumn leaves in the mountains, the historic Mingus Mill, and the famous Newfound Gap (the lowest point in the Smokies). Travelers on Newfound Gap Road will also have the chance to visit the highest point in the national park: Clingmans Dome. At 6,643 feet, this observation tower is the perfect place for panoramic views of the fall colors in the mountains, particularly in early October.
4. Little River Road
Little River Road is an 18 mile route that runs from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the Townsend entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Along the way, you will find various signposts marking points of interest. Some of the destinations you may want to visit include:
- The trailhead for the 2.5 mile round trip hike to Laurel Falls at Stop #2
- The Metcalf Bottoms picnic area at Stop #4
- The trailhead for Meig Falls at Stop #5
5. Wears Valley Road
Located off of the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley Road offers spectacular views of rolling mountains covered in fall foliage. If you’re staying at a cabin in Pigeon Forge, driving through Wears Valley is a great way to reach Cades Cove while avoiding the Gatlinburg area traffic. Of course, there is plenty to see and do right on Wears Valley road, including:
- The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster
- Wears Valley Zipline Adventures
- Friendly Falls – an excellent restaurant with its own waterfall
When you stay with Amazing Views Cabin Rentals, you will be minutes away from all of these wonderful scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains. Our cabins come with everything you need for a spectacular fall vacation, including breathtaking mountain views, bubbly hot tubs, fully furnished kitchens, home theater room, indoor pools, and so much more. To start planning your getaway, check out our complete selection of Smoky Mountain cabin rentals!