I hope this post finds you enjoying a wonderful fall season! There is so much good stuff happening in the Smoky Mountains this time of year! And I love taking a moment to remember that the autumn rainbow starting to appear outside our window, the festivals, the thousands of guests- none of it would be happening if not for God’s majestic and awe-inspiring creation surrounding us. We hope you have planned a trip to visit this fall, and we hope you find a few events and activities to enjoy while you’re here!
Festivals, in order by date:
September 28- November 3
Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights
Dollywood is a family favorite, and it’s a fun way for kids to enjoy a spooky (not scary) October in the Smokies. They’ve doubled the size of the festival this year!
Love Loud Corn Maze
You don’t hear the word “FREE”very often, but this corn maze is FREE! There’s even a hay maze for the youngest visitors. Thank you FBC, Sevierville!
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
Enjoy crafters from across the US and get a head start on your Christmas shopping at this 43rd annual fair!
Robert A. Tino’s Smoky Mountain Homecoming
Enjoy Appalachian fun just outside the farmhouse gallery door of local artist Robert A. Tino. Kids activities on Saturday and Sunday include a pick-and-paint pumpkin patch, old fashioned games, mule-pulled wagon rides and more. With plenty of mountain music, southern foods, and craft vendors, this is a great way to spend a weekend in the Smokies!
Wears Valley Fall Fest
From fair food to art vendors to a petting zoo and face painting, this festival packs it all into a wonderful weekend in the Valley. This festival is about 1/2 way between Pigeon Forge and Townsend. I recommend arriving early or there is a good chance you’ll be in traffic on this 2-lane road. The good news is you’ll be in the mountains and the kettle corn is amazing!
Favorite Autumn Activities, in no particular order:
Cades Cove Ranger-Led Evening Hayrides
Call for details and for the schedule 865-448-9009.
These are loaded on a first come, first served basis, so plan to arrive early. The stables are about an hour from Hidden Mountain, and may be a bit longer depending on traffic. Pack a jacket, blankets, and maybe even a snack for the 1.5-2 hour journey around the cove.
Daytime rides are offered as well, but I like the evening visit. Dusk is a good time for wildlife to be out and about also!
Picnic in the Park
Pack a basket or stop by Publix for a sandwich, chips, and drink, and enjoy a picnic surrounded by autumn’s beauty!
Some of my favorite picnic areas are Chimneys Picnic Area, Metcalf Bottoms, and Greenbrier, but you can see the full list at the link above.
Metcalf Bottoms is the closest to Hidden Mountain. Many picnic sites are on the river, so pack some water shoes, towels, maybe a change of clothes in case you find a slick rock and fall in…)
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Sometimes you just want to enjoy the scenery from your car, and that’s okay, too! Spend some time on this nature trail for cars, and you’ll get to experience the views of a hike without all the footwork. 😉
Horseback Riding at Waldens Creek Stables
Located about 10 minutes from Hidden Mountain West, this family-owned stable company has a great selection of guided horseback rides. Meander up and down mountain trails, splash through creeks, enjoy some local lore, and imagine a time when horseback riding was a way of life for everyone.
Autumn Shopping Favorites:
Apple Barn & Cider Mill
Of course! But not just because we consider them neighbors. It’s apple season in the Smokies, y’all! Enjoy fresh cider, warm fried pies, and plenty of apple and autumn decor, gifts, and more! In addition to the Barn & Cider Mill, visit the Candy Shop, Creamery, Winery, Christmas Shop and Applewood Farmhouse Restaurants!
Tanger Outlets at Five Oaks
This is another obvious shopping choice, but for the month of October, if you visit the website or the mall office, you can buy a PINK card for $10 and save 25% off one item at a large selection of shops! It’s a great deal supporting Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Stages West, Pigeon Forge
If all that time in the saddle- or just in the mountains- connected you with your inner cowgirl or cowboy, mosey on over to Stages West. Not only is the store itself a sight to see, but they have a tremendous selection of boots, hats, and clothing for all ages!
Well this should fill up a weekend or two, so I’ll stop. We are so blessed to be able to welcome guests to share in this spectacular season in the Great Smoky Mountains! We hope you find as much delight, warmth, and family fun in this season as we do! Now go make some memories!