Fall is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. I know you love the leaves, but there are many activities that are even more special in the Fall. From German food to a ghostly tour, make sure to include this list of Fall activities on your vacation “To Do” list. We’ll see you soon!
1. See the Leaves. October is the busiest month of the year in Gatlinburg for one reason alone–the changing of the leaves. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountainsides from high elevation to low. However, the timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables (including rainfall) that the exact dates of peak fall foliage color each year are impossible to predict in advance. From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway. The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories. Rent a cabin with a view.
2. Annual Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff. It’s fall…are you thinking chili, too? Offering mouth-watering recipes of homemade chili ranging from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous, the City of Gatlinburg hosts its 20th annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. on River Road and at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza. Be pleasantly tempted and tested before casting your vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also, judges will select winners in categories including Best Taste, Booth Presentation, Apron Design and Most Unique Chili Name.
3. Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament. The 11th Annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament is open to adults or children – and is equally challenging for both visitors and locals, with multiple categories to be contested in the largest trout tournament in the Smokies. All Gatlinburg and state fishing regulations will be observed. For information, call 865-661-FISH (3474) or click here.
4. Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. This county wide celebration, held in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, features an array of craft shows, a decorating contest and other “artistic” special events that are sure to keep everyone’s energy level lively. If you’re in to knick knacks and friendly faces, then the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival is sure to keep you entertained throughout your entire stay in the area. Don’t miss out, start making your plans to be part of the celebration today! The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival continues on from September 24 – October 31 with many events to enjoy. For a full list of events, click here.
5. 20th Annual Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm is the four-month winter lighting promotion featuring custom designed, one-of-a-kind lighting displays which now sport all LED bulbs along Gatlinburg’s famous Downtown Parkway adjacent toRiver Road. Listed as one of winter’s “Top 20 Events” by the Southeast Tourism Society, Gatlinburg’s four-month Winterfest Celebration transforms the mountain resort town of Gatlinburg into a spectacular winter wonderland from November through February. A holiday craft show, Christmas parade, Winter Magic Tunes & Tales, and the popular New Year’s Ball Drop combine with millions of LED lighting displays and attractions to make Winterfest an activity filled season in Gatlinburg. The kickoff is the same night as the Gatlinburg Chili Cook Off. In 2009 it is on November 4th from 5 to 8 p.m.
6. Old Fashioned Wagon Rides. Kick back and enjoy a nostalgic, fun-filled wagon ride in downtown Gatlinburg, including views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that surrounds Gatlinburg on three sides as well as several Gatlinburg Winter Magic lighting displays beginning in November. Departure is at Traffic Light #6 at Mountain Mall. Rides run from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and leave approximately every 45 minutes. Proceeds benefit United Way. For more information, call (865)436-0535.
7. Gatlinburg Sky Lift. Of course, the chair lift is open year ’round, and the Smokies are always a beautiful site…but, never is it more beautiful than during the fall. the Gatlinburg Chair Lift is a special experience–a 1200 foot climb up the side of Crockett Mountain. One little known fact is that the lift was originally purchased from the Sugar Bowl Ski Area in California in the 1950s, unassembled, and then reconstructed in Gatlinburg. Aptly put, it is the best seat in Gatlinburg. Rates are Adults $12 and $9 for children.
8. The Hofbrauhaus. 1969 The Cheese Cupboard opened it’s doors as Gatlinburg’s premier cheese shop. Since that time, thousands have enjoyed their large array of imported and domestic cheese and chocolate from Switzerland and Germany. The second floor is occupied by The Hofbrauhaus Restaurant. As you enter, you get the feeling of being transported to Europe. Styled after a German pub, the visitor can enjoy a small respite in the middle of busy Gatlinburg. Through the years the Famous Super Ruben has become the favorite. Enjoy any of their hot specialty sandwiches such as the Hoagie, Turkey, Pastrami or Bratwurst along with a cold beverage or beer. Click Here for a full menu.
9. Haunted Ghost Tour. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, taking a ghost tour of Gatlinburg will be a memorable part of your vacation. Take a leisurely stroll and search along the shadowy streets and alleys of Gatlinburg to hear stories of the unexplained and strange. Hear about a number of haunted hotels and buildings in the downtown area, about a gruesome murder committed at a very famous hotel & the young girl and security guard who still haunt it. Listen to the tale of a young man who made a foolish mistake and continues to pay for it to this very day. Tour a cemetery that was built in 1830-a most frightful place indeed! Tours run 7 days per week March through October. Buy tickets online.
10. Caramel Apples. Can’t make it to the Smokies this fall? Order a few caramel apples made here at the foot of the Smokies and have them shipped to you at home for a taste of the Great Smoky Mountains. To read the fascinating history of the Raimondi family’s caramel apple legacy, click here. Whether you like your caramel apples dipped in nuts or chocolate chips, they are sure to have one to tickle your Fall fancy. Don’t forget to order online!
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.