When Do Leaves Change in Gatlinburg?

2020 Smoky Mountain Leaf Forecast

Are leaves changing in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge?

It depends on where you are and where you look! 

1.)  Leaf colors change at the highest points first, so you will see the first changes at the mountaintops and highest peaks about mid-September.                                                    

2.)  As the last part of September rolls in, the tip tops of the mountains will reach their peak color, but hold on!  October holds your best chance to see the best color all over!                  

3.)  During early October, it gets exciting, because the leaves will begin their change further down into lower areas of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Gatlinburg.                       

4.)  As mid October arrives, Gatlinburg will start to become the wonderland everyone dreams of in Autumn.  Middle October until the end of October, and the first 1-2 weeks of November will hold the best colors of all!  

My personal suggestion:

No matter what year it is, I'd suggest booking the 3rd or 4th week in October OR the first 1-2 weeks of November on any given year for the best chance to see the best fall colors.

Don't forget to book your cabin or hotel early because this is usually the most popular time of the year in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.

If you can't be here, you will LOVE these live webcams in the Smoky Mountains I have put together in one of my most popular videos, "Gatlinburg TN Live Webcams".  You can see the Smoky Mountains from anywhere in the world, and I'm always on the lookout for new ones to add!

You can also check out this video of driving up beautiful Bluff Mountain in the Fall that I made a few years ago.

Ripleys skylift combo pass.jpg

Don't forget a good camera for unforgettable fall trip or vacation photos!

I use a Canon Power Shot that I absolutely love. It has an unbelievable zoom and is pretty easy to learn to use.  Below are just a few pictures I've taken during Fall.

Be sure to keep your lens clean and use your wrist strap so you don't drop it like I did one time and had to have it repaired. (face palm)


But the rest is easy, and here are a few excellent ideas just to get you started, for some of the best places to take Fall photos in the Great Smoky Mountains and around the Gatlinburg area:

  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park Overlooks

  • Wears Valley (pretty much anywhere!) 

  • From the top of The Wheel at The Island, Pigeon Forge 

  • Skybridge and SkyTrail in Gatlinburg

  • The view from the Space Needle, Gatlinburg

  • The Foothills Parkway

  • The AnaVista Tower at Anakeesta

  • Cade's Cove, Townsend

  • The Old Mill, Pigeon Forge

  • The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram

  • Gatlinburg Bypass Overlooks

  • Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

  • Any of the many hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

  • Quiet Walkways labeled in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Note! For those who cannot see colors well or have colorblindness, Ober Gatlinburg has installed special viewfinders that allow the color blind to see colors!  It's absolutely amazing! You can find more information here.


For more fun things to do around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in Fall,

check out Best Things to Do During Autumn in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Ripleys Discount tickets.jpg
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
I also participate in other affiliate programs and accept commissions based on link performance.  I strive to only promote things that I believe have integrity, add value and positively affect my readers.
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
About the Site Author and Creator

 This site was created with love to promote the place 

 we call home-the Sevier County area and the beautiful 

 Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. 



Copyright 2021 Smoky Mountain Starlight

All Rights Reserved

Privacy Policy

SmokyMountainStarlight.com (SMS) respects your privacy.

When you subscribe to this website, we will send you updates and news we believe will be of interest to you.  SMS will never spam your inbox. If, at any time, you choose to unsubscribe, you will find the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of all email.


SMS may sometimes use emails to reach out when we think it will be helpful to you based on your subscription to our Events Updates.  By subscribing, you give us permission to do so. Some content contain links that enable cookies. This allows us to be compensated for referring your business to others based on your interest in the Smoky Mountains.


This site also contains links to other sites that may be helpful to you and try to show only those with authority on each subject.  Please be aware that once you leave SmokyMountainStarlight.com, each outside site has their own individual privacy policy.


You may contact SmokyMountainStarlight@gmail.com.


Thank you for being a Smoky Mountain Starlight Subscriber! Happy you are here!