Are you dreaming of pumpkin spice lattes, hayrides, fall boots, and crisp autumn air? Well, there’s no better place to experience all Autumn has to offer than in the Smoky Mountains! Explore breathtaking views as the leaves change from shades of green to sunny yellows, vibrant oranges, and bold reds.
With almost 900 miles of hiking trails available, it’s no wonder that this is one of the most popular ways to take in all the beautiful fall foliage. So we’re giving you the inside scoop and sharing three of our favorite hikes!
- Laurel Falls- This is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains and for good reason! Not only do you get to experience first-hand our lovely mountains, but there’s also an 80-foot waterfall at the end of the trail. Bonus: it’s one of the shortest hiking options (only 2.6 miles round-trip!) and is considered fairly easy.
- Abrams Falls- This trail is nestled right in the heart of Cades Cove and offers both mountain and waterfall views. While Laurel Falls is considered a beginner-friendly trail, Abrams Falls is classified as “moderate.” It’s also a bit longer of a hike at 5.2 miles round-trip.
- Gregory Bald- Feeling daring? Then this 11.3-mile round-trip hike may be for you! It’s the longest and most difficult of the hikes we’ve listed but the views make it absolutely worthwhile.
A few extra notes for October hiking in the Smokies:
- Plan extra travel time and consider an early hike. October is one of the busiest months in the Smokies with everyone hitting the roads and trails to glimpse the autumn rainbow. When planning, pad your schedule with some extra time in case you find yourself in traffic on the way to or from the trail.
- Wear solid shoes. From hiking sandals to hiking boots to even a solid pair of sneakers, your feet will thank you! There are plenty of outfitters located in the area, and they will be happy to make sure you have the appropriate gear for your journey. Try Uncle Lem’s Outfitters in Pigeon Forge or The Day Hiker or Nantahala Outdoor Center in Gatlinburg.
- Carry plenty of water! Even the short trails will have you appreciating your effort. Trail Mix and nourishing snacks are always a good idea, also.
- Need help selecting a trail? Sugarlands Visitor Center at the entrance to the park is a must-see, stop, shop, and visit! The rangers working here are friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the Great Smoky Mountains!
- Remember, there is no cell service in much of the Smokies! Make sure that you leave your itinerary with someone at home. While hiking, you can preserve your mobile battery by switching your phone to airplane mode. This stops your phone from constantly searching for a signal but still allows you to take photos of your journey!
No matter which trail you choose, you’re guaranteed to have fun and enjoy gorgeous scenery and views! Happy Hiking, Friends!