Great Smoky Mountain Fall Hikes

Hiking within the Great Smoky Mountains is one of the best ways to really experience the magic of the Smokies. It is also one of the best ways to explore the area and see a lot of things you otherwise would not be able to see. A lot of people worry that there just isn’t a trail that they can physically do when they visit our area. However, there are over 850 miles of trails and there is a variety of levels of trails so most people can enjoy. check out this list of Great Smoky Mountain Fall Hikes that are loved by visitors to this area!

Grotto Falls

Featuring a 25 foot waterfall, this hike is extremely popular! Not only does it offer a beautiful waterfall at the end of the hike, but it the only waterfall that you can actually walk behind! You can imagine, that really makes it nice to visit in the summer. However, hiking it during the Fall offers some amazing chances to see the Fall Colors up closely. This is a wonderful hike to do if you do not have a lot of time to travel deep into the National Park. The trail-head for Grotto Falls is located off of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is accessed via the Parkway in Downtown Gatlinburg at traffic light 8.


Abram Falls

Coming in at a little over 5 miles roundtrip, this is a beloved hike for those visiting the Cades Cove area. To reach the trailhead, you would travel about 4.8 miles down the Cades Cove Loop. You would then see a gravel road to the right. Take that right and you will come to the parking for the trailhead. Once you begin the trail,k you will want to stay to your left. If you go right, you will end up walking over to the Oliver Place. The trail weaves its way through the many ridges that dominate the area and mostly follows Abrams Creek for the majority of the length of the hike. 

Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high. However, this waterfall is super popular due to the intense, large volume of water that rushes over the cliff. The volume certainly makes up for the height. Swimming here is considered very dangerous due to strong currents and the presence of an undertow. This is one of the most popular hikes within the Park so go ahead and assume that you will meet many people on the trail. The area around the waterfall is fairly large though so you should have plenty of room to enjoy the beautiful waterfall. 

Grapeyard Ridge Trail

Another great trail to enjoy this Fall in the Great Smoky Mountains is Grapeyard Ridge Trail. At 5.8 miles roundtrip it is considered a moderate trail that is a great addition to any plans for hiking in the Smokies. The trail begins near the Porters Creek trail in the Greenbrier area. At about nine-tenths of a mile, you will reach Rhododendron Creek, which is the first of five crossings. As you continue your way on the trailhead, you will come across several old homestead sites. They were once part of a community called Big Laurel (or Laurel Creek), which was the name of Rhododendron Creek at that time. Later on in the trail, you will reach Injun Creek which is where you will find the old remains of an old steam engine lying in the creek. The engine, a Nichols and Shepard self-propelled, steam-powered machine, was used to saw wood for the Greenbrier School in the 1920’s. When the driver was returning, he lost it due to being unable to do a switchback. Many of the parts were salvaged, but the rest was left in the creek. This trail is popular for this very reason as many like to hike to see the “lost” train engine. 

Andrews Bald

Andrews Bald

This hike begins at Clingmans Dome. From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, you will would drive about 13 miles along Newfound Gap until you see the sign for Clingmans Dome on the right. From Cherokee, Clingmans Dome is roughly 20 miles and will be on the left. 

Andrews Bald used to be one of the most rugged and rocky trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail was heavily improved in the fall of 2008 though, making it even more popular today. Just after World War II, this site was became known for being the site of a major military plane crash. In 1946, on June 12th, a B-29 smashed into Clingmans Dome during a night flight. It happened about one-eighth of a mile east of where the Tower stands today. 

The first part of the trail passes through a spruce-fir forest. At about 1.7 miles, hikers will reach Andrews Bald. The views from this spot are spectacular anytime of year, but during the Fall, it is simply magical. Andrews Bald is also the highest bald in the Smokies. 

Fall colors are expected to peak a little later this year in the Smokies, around the first week of November. Of course, the higher elevations will turn sooner than that so if you do expect you will hike a bit while vacationing in the Pigeon Forge area, I would suggest you visit mid to late October. As always, it can be a bit difficult to get the dates exact for the best time to view the fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains. Regardless of the time you visit this Fall, these are some Great Smoky Mountain Fall HIkes you do not want to miss. Other great hikes to enjoy are Charlies Bunion, Little River Trail and Spence Field. 

With any vacation to our area, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Resort Properties Vacations. Not only would we love to help you find the perfect vacation condo rental, we love to help people make the most out of their Pigeon Forge Vacation! We hope to see you soon. 

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