Gatlinburg is known worldwide as a destination for all types of travelers. Visitors come from far and wide to hike the Smoky Mountains, sample the endless cuisine, experience Dollywood, and see what makes Gatlinburg great. While planning your trip to the Smokies, you might ask, how much does a trip to Gatlinburg cost?

The answer: it depends on the type of vacation you prefer!

Do you want to save money and still have fun? Would you like to spend a little bit for some extra memories? Or, are you prepared to go all out for a luxury Smoky Mountain vacation? Determining how much your Gatlinburg trip will cost depends on your choice of vacation style:


Choose your type of vacation from the list above to get started.

How Much Does a Trip to Gatlinburg Cost

One of the best things to do during a Gatlinburg vacation is explore the great outdoors.

Budget-Friendly Gatlinburg Vacation

When I travel, I prefer not to drain my savings account to do so. Plus, traveling on a budget is entirely possible when you visit Gatlinburg. Instead of frantically worrying about the cost of your trip, you can relax knowing you’ll save money and see the stunning Smoky Mountains at the same time.


To truly save money, your best option is to drive to Gatlinburg, TN. Of course, if you live far away, this isn’t a possibility. Although, keep in mind flying into the Knoxville airport can be a bit pricey. One way to get around the high airline prices is to fly into Nashville or Atlanta airport and drive to Gatlinburg from there. These larger airports not only have cheaper tickets, they also offer more flight options per day. However, if driving to Gatlinburg is within reason, I highly recommend doing so to save time and money.

Also, try to travel in the off-season in the spring, early fall, and winter. Visiting during the peak season can escalate flight prices and traffic jams.


Gatlinburg is also known for the various types of lodging available to guests. Fortunately, many of these options are also affordable.

If you’re like me, you want your budget-friendly Gatlinburg vacation to be adventurous as well. Those who love the great outdoors should look into camping in the Smoky Mountains! The national park offers a wide variety of inexpensive camping options. When you’re looking to save money and have fun, head to the mountains!

I know, not all travelers are into nature, bugs, and hiking. Not to worry! Gatlinburg is home to a multitude of affordable hotels such as:


Do note that visiting during peak season (June through August and October) will result in a higher nightly rate.

While the cabins in Gatlinburg are often promoted as luxury cabins, they are still affordable. These spacious accommodations can fit multiple people, meaning your price per person (when shared among friends/family) can be quite low! For instance, if you rent a $200 per night, 2 bedroom cabin for 4 people, that’s only $50 per night per person.


Part of pondering how much does a trip to Gatlinburg cost includes budgeting for food. Gatlinburg offers several low-cost restaurants, but the best way to save money is by going to the grocery store. Whether you’re camping, staying in a cabin, or at a hotel, buying food and preparing your meals is the cost-effective way to visit Gatlinburg.


It doesn’t get much better than free, does it? When in Gatlinburg, save money and maximize your fun by enjoying these 14 free activities. Plus, the area also boasts inexpensive attractions such as mini-golf courses, go-karts, and more for the whole family.


While Gatlinburg does offer fantastic shopping, plan to skip the stores on a budget-friendly vacation. Instead of spending money on souvenirs, use your funds for memorable experiences such as a day at Dollywood or hiking the Smoky Mountains.

How Much Does a Trip to Gatlinburg Cost

Bring the entire family to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Average Gatlinburg Vacation

When I was little, my family had a “vacation fund” jar in our kitchen. We were all instructed to put our loose change in the jar, thus making us accountable for our vacation. Looking back, this may have jump-started my love of travel. But more importantly, it taught me how to save for travel. While we never saved enough for a lavish getaway, we always saved enough for a flexible family vacation.

Whether you’ve saved up for months or have money set aside, planning a family vacation to Gatlinburg with an average budget is the way to go!


If home is too far away from Gatlinburg, flying is always an option. Remember to check the price and flight times at larger airports such as Nashville and Atlanta. It’ll require a short drive after, but well worth the savings.

However, I’ll still recommend that you drive to Gatlinburg. You’ll reap the rewards, but you’ll also drive through jaw-dropping landscapes.


Those planning a middle-of-the-road budget Gatlinburg vacation have an abundance of lodging options. Camping is available for the outdoorsy families and multiple hotels and cabins are all within your budget. When looking for Gatlinburg lodging, consider these affordable hotels and cabins:


Remember that when you visit will have a direct effect on hotel and cabin rates.


When asking yourself how much does a trip to Gatlinburg cost, always consider the cost of food. When I travel, I tend to spend the most on food since I want to try it all! In Gatlinburg, you have a whole world of cuisine at your fingertips. Some of the best Gatlinburg restaurants include Cherokee Grill, Wild Plum Tea Room, and of course, Pancake Pantry.

To save money, choose a few meals to prepare ahead of time. For instance, you could pack sandwiches and have a picnic in the Smoky Mountains. Just remember to carry your trash out!


The first item on any Gatlinburg itinerary should be a day (or two) at Dollywood. Remember that if you visit after 3:00 pm on the first day, you can visit again the next day for free!

Since your vacation budget is a bit flexible, be sure to get your tickets to these attention-worthy attractions and shows as well:


You’re bound to find the perfect activity (within your family vacation budget) for your Gatlinburg vacation.


Since your vacation budget has a bit of wiggle room, you could purchase souvenirs for friends and family (and of course, yourself.) From outlets to small souvenir stores, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in Gatlinburg.

How Much Does a Trip to Gatlinburg Cost

Treat yourself to a luxury Gatlinburg vacation in a log cabin.

Luxury Gatlinburg Vacation

Perhaps you’re looking to go all out on your Gatlinburg vacation. In fact, you’re not asking “How much does a trip to Gatlinburg cost?” You’re saying “Let’s go now!”


Since budget isn’t an issue, flying into the Knoxville airport will be no problem at all. Although, if you want to take your time and enjoy the scenery, a road trip to Gatlinburg is always an option.


If you want to experience the peak of luxury in Gatlinburg, reserve a cabin for your group. These cabins are cozy, feature unparalleled amenities, and often offer gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains. Check out the available cabins from these rental companies:


Nightly rates depend on the cabin company, the number of nights reserved, and the size of the cabin.


With a flexible budget, there are no limits when it comes to dining on vacation. For the finest cuisine in Gatlinburg, make reservations at these top restaurants:

  • Peddler Steakhouse
  • The Restaurant at Buckberry Creek
  • Buckhorn Inn Restaurant



Since you have a larger budget to work with, your Gatlinburg vacation can include a multitude of activities! Whether you want extreme thrills or elegant tours, there’s an activity for every traveler. Consider adding these activities to your luxurious Gatlinburg vacation for the ultimate vacation:


Don’t forget to get your tickets for Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country, too!


With a flexible budget, feel free to shop until your heart’s content!

So, How Much Does a Trip to Gatlinburg Cost?

Whether you’re ready to splurge on an elegant vacation or would rather save your money and explore the mountains, there’s a Gatlinburg trip for everyone. Choose the budget that suits your vacation style and start planning your Gatlinburg vacation today.

When vacationing in the Smoky Mountains, the last thing you want is to be hit with a parking charge at your hotel or lodging accommodations. Fortunately, your have plenty of Gatlinburg hotels with free parking to choose from.

Hotel parking fees can add up fast, especially if you plan to stay several nights and have more than one car. Instead of wasting your vacation budget on parking fees, save money by staying somewhere with free parking. That way you can use your funds for fun instead of for fees!

Take a look at some of our favorite Gatlinburg hotels with free parking.

Gatlinburg Hotels with free parking

Image via Park Place Condominiums / Facebook

Park Place Condominiums

In addition to being one of the hotels in Gatlinburg with free parking, Park Place Condominiums also offers guests a wide range of amenities. From being just steps away from the National Park to the picturesque landscape, you’ll love staying at Park Place Condominiums.

Bearskin Lodge on the River

Located at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bearskin Lodge on the River provides amenities including complimentary breakfast, free WiFi, and non-smoking rooms. With cozy accommodations and free parking, this is an ideal hotel for Gatlinburg visitors.

Gatlinburg Hotels with free parking

A stay at Old Creek Lodge includes free parking.

Old Creek Lodge

As one of the Gatlinburg hotels with free parking, Old Creek Lodge seeks to provide guests with the top amenities. While staying at the lodge, you can enjoy free breakfast, a convenient hotel location, a heated outdoor pool, and more. Within close proximity to everything, Old Creek Lodge is a great choice for families vacationing in Gatlinburg.

Glenstone Lodge

A classic Gatlinburg hotel, Glenstone Lodge provides guests with comfortable rooms, convenient amenities, and a gateway to the area’s top attractions. The hotel not only offers free parking, but also a children’s pool, free WiFi, smoking and non-smoking rooms, and a prime location near downtown Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg hotels with free parking

A golf getaway and free parking can be found at RiverStone Resort & Spa.

RiverStone Resort & Spa

Although technically located in Pigeon Forge, the RiverStone Resort & Spa is situated along the Gatlinburg golf course. Anyone looking for a golf getaway at one of the Gatlinburg hotels with free parking will appreciate all that this resort has to offer.

The Park Vista – a DoubleTree by Hilton

This spacious Gatlinburg hotel offers something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re visiting on business or a family reunion, The Park Vista hotel does not disappoint. Take advantage of amenities such as a picnic area, a 24-hour business center, and a bar with an outdoor patio and fire pit.

Browse Gatlinburg Hotels with Free Parking

To see a full list of Gatlinburg, TN hotels that provide free parking, check out Reserve Gatlinburg. From condos to hotel rooms, you’ll find the perfect hotel for your Smoky Mountain vacation.


When you’re on vacation you still want to be connected. At Gatlinburg hotels with free internet service you can easily access your email, check your flight status, or confirm any last minute tickets you might want to purchase through Reserve Gatlinburg. A large majority of Gatlinburg hotels offer free internet service finding one that fits your vacation needs is a breeze.

A few of the Gatlinburg TN hotels with free internet service we recommend include:

Bearskin Lodge on the River

With its unique mountain charm located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bearskin Lodge promises the best that nature has to offer in Gatlinburg. At Bearskin Lodge, you’ll find state-of-the-art amenities among its traditional mountain craft decor and massive log beams. Downtown Gatlinburg shops, restaurants, and attractions are just outside your door. As a result, you’ll stay connected with the free WiFi at a convenient Gatlinburg location.

Glenstone Lodge

Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, Glenstone Lodge features a great location, phenomenal views, and abundant amenities. When looking for Gatlinburg hotels with free Internet service, what more could you ask for? The Glenstone Lodge is set in the heart of Gatlinburg, within walking distance of all of the best Gatlinburg attractions, shops, and restaurants. Glenstone Lodge is also located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which features swimming holes, hiking trails, and even a Historic Motor Nature Trail.

Fairfield Inn Gatlinburg North

Always fresh, always clean, the Fairfield Inn guest rooms are full of thoughtful amenities, including a well-lit desk, remote control TV with free cable, and complimentary weekday newspaper. Relax while splashing in a refreshing swimming pool after a day of exploring all that Gatlinburg has to offer. You’ll find that fun and excitement are right at your doorstep, with Davy Crockett Mini-Golf located in the shadow of the Inn.

Highlands Condominium

The Highlands Condominium has the very best view and location with easy access to Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pigeon Forge. Each condominium has a complete kitchen with fireplace and private balcony with an excellent view! There are two pools on site, one indoor and one outdoor, hot tub and also an exercise room. As one of the many Gatlinburg hotels with free Internet service, the Highlands Condominium offers complimentary Internet access in every room.

Old Creek Lodge

Old Creek Lodge has all the amenities you expect and some you wouldn’t! You’ll find a fireplace in every room; remember this is the mountains. Take a dip in the pool and you’ll think you’re in a mountain stream – it’s so close. Enjoy your breakfast from the deck overlooking where two streams meet. In addition, the lodge offers plenty of free parking for your convenience. With these cozy and rustic amenities, Old Creek Lodge is sure to be one of your favorite Gatlinburg hotels with free Internet service.

Park Place Condominiums

For an outdoor adventure, Park Place is a natural choice for the perfect vacation. Surrounded by lush hardwoods and mountain views, condos line the banks of the rushing Little Pigeon River. Park Place is literally steps away from both the quiet solitude of the National Park and charming downtown shops, restaurants and attractions of Gatlinburg. But, you’ll stay connected in the middle of this pristine nature scene thanks to the free WiFi!

River Terrace Resort

River Terrace Resort and Convention Center is located along Little Pigeon River in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, adjacent to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and also near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition, River Terrace Resort is a short drive from Pigeon Forge, Dollywood theme park, entertainment venues, family-friendly restaurants, shopping opportunities and other attractions. Hiking trails, championship golf, and whitewater rafting are also nearby.

Stay connected while on vacation and receive the guaranteed lowest rate available by reserving your stay at one of the many Gatlinburg hotels offering free WiFi.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Filled with endless activities, shows, restaurants, and of course, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s no wonder Gatlinburg is such a popular vacation destination. While visiting Gatlinburg will provide you with lifelong travel memories, there are a few things you need to know before you go.


Gatlinburg Has Something for Everyone

Whether you’re on your honeymoon or traveling to the Smoky Mountains for a vacation with the kids, everyone will love spending time in Gatlinburg. Be sure to enjoy one or more of these iconic activities and attractions while visiting Gatlinburg:

Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg

If you love the great outdoors, then a vacation in Gatlinburg is exactly what you need. When planning your Smoky Mountains vacation, make sure these outdoor activities are part of your plans:


Of course, this is only a handful of the exciting outdoor adventures that await you in Gatlinburg!

Shopping in Gatlinburg

Those visiting Gatlinburg for the first time need to take advantage of the prime shopping opportunities. Browse through these shopping malls during your trip to the Smokies:


If you’re looking for a handcrafted gift or work of art, head over to the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community where you’ll find shops such as:


Gatlinburg Attractions

When visiting Gatlinburg, there are specific attractions that you must experience in order to have a true Smoky Mountain vacation. In addition to exploring the magnificent national park, make sure these top-rated Gatlinburg attractions are part of your itinerary:


Whether you want to see the Gatlinburg landscape from high in the sky or your children want to play mini golf, there’s something for everyone in Gatlinburg.

Shows in Gatlinburg

Lastly, you have to reserve seats for one of the many jaw-dropping shows. From the mesmerizing production quality to the side-splitting humor, the shows in Gatlinburg and just next door in Pigeon Forge are a must-see. Get your tickets for one of these phenomenal shows:


From the great outdoors to show-stopping performances, Gatlinburg has something for everyone in the family to enjoy.


Where to Stay in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg offers visitors a wide range of lodging options. Visiting Gatlinburg is a breeze when you stay at one of the many hotels, cabins, resorts, or camping sites.

The hotels in Gatlinburg are second to none. With luxurious amenities and comfortable rooms, every type of traveler will enjoy staying at one of these top hotels:


For those who want a more laid-back vacation when visiting Gatlinburg, consider staying at one of the premium cabins available. Cozy cabins are located all over the Smoky Mountain region, so you can find one near the specific attractions and activities you’d like to experience. Reserve a cabin for your family with one of these cabin companies in Gatlinburg:


Perhaps you prefer the all-inclusive route when on vacation. The Smoky Mountain region offers several different resorts to choose from, including the Resort at Governor’s Crossing and RiverStone Resort and Spa.

Of course, if you want to rough it in the wilderness, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers plenty of campsites. Follow all rules, regulations, and guidelines laid out by Park Rangers and the National Park Service. Also, be on the lookout for wild animals such as bears. Should you choose to go camping when visiting Gatlinburg, make sure you understand what to do if you encounter a bear!


Where to Eat in Gatlinburg

Now to the most important part of any vacation — the food. Gatlinburg is home to a wide assortment of restaurants, distilleries, breweries, cafes and so much more. Trust me, you won’t regret visiting or dining at any of Gatlinburg’s top food and drink spots:


From a home cooked meal to sampling moonshine, you won’t be disappointed with the food choices when visiting Gatlinburg on vacation!

Visiting Gatlinburg

Tips for Visiting Gatlinburg for the First Time

Once you know what to do, where to stay, and where to eat, it’s time to answer your Gatlinburg vacation questions

When Should I Visit?
As you might have guessed, the Gatlinburg area can become extremely congested during the peak seasons, which are:

  • Early January
  • June through August
  • October
  • December


For fewer crowds, visiting Gatlinburg during the months of February, March, April, May, September, and November is your best bet.

How Bad is the Traffic?
Brace yourself for the infamous Gatlinburg traffic. No matter when you decide to travel to Gatlinburg, you will encounter traffic. One way to avoid this is to utilize the Gatlinburg Trolley. Not only is it a great way to see the area, it also eliminates parking fees and pesky traffic.

Also, driving through Gatlinburg at off-peak times of the day will help you combat traffic. Try driving in the middle of the morning or afternoon, rather than at typical rush hour times.

What Should I Pack?
The Gatlinburg area experiences all four seasons, so pack accordingly! Even if you plan on visiting Gatlinburg in the summer, you’ll want to have a sweatshirt or two on hand. It tends to be chilly during the evening and early mornings in the mountains.

In addition, don’t forget to bring:

  • Sneakers
  • Hiking Boots
  • A Swim Suit
  • A Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Weather Appropriate Clothing


Will Visiting Gatlinburg Break the Bank?
With so many activities, attractions, and shows, it may feel as though visiting Gatlinburg will break your vacation budget. Not true! Thanks to discounted tickets and lodging rates at Reserve Gatlinburg, and free activities such as hiking in the Smoky Mountains, visiting Gatlinburg is incredibly affordable.

Now that you know everything about visiting Gatlinburg for the first time, start planning your vacation!

Are you one of the many people who’ve set their sights on a vacation in Gatlinburg? Millions of visitors flock to this mountain hamlet to explore The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, quirky downtown Gatlinburg and neighboring towns such as Pigeon Forge. If you’re short on time, though, and only have a weekend in Gatlinburg, I’m here to help.

Follow this guide touting what to do and where to go for a memorable weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Happy male traveler showing thumb up in summer mountains at sunset, point of view shot

Day 1

Explore the National Park

My absolute favorite thing to do in the Smoky Mountains? Explore the great Outdoors. With the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Gatlinburg’s doorstep, it’s a prime location for doing just that.

IMG_3296 Crockett Camp RSZ

Breakfast: Start your day with breakfast Crockett’s Breakfast Camp. This restaurant serves hearty portions sure to fuel your day of activity.

I recommend stopping by the Sugarlands Visitor Center to pick up any hiking maps and auto-tour guides (and maybe a souvenir or two!). Afterwards, it’s time to begin exploring.

Auto-Touring: At over 800 square miles, there’s a lot of ground to cover in the Smoky Mountains National Park. Accordingly, auto-touring is one of the best ways to see the sights. There are plenty of overlooks to stop at, providing pristine views of the park. Below are a few of the most popular auto-touring routes.

  • Cades Cove Loop Road
  • Cataloochee Valley
  • Newfound Gap Road
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail


Dawn in the Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA.

Lunch: While you’re out exploring the National Park, there aren’t many places to stop for a bite to eat. I recommend picking up a to-go lunch so you’re not lost in the woods without a snack. Calhoun’s Restaurant will box up barbeque to-go. Alternatively, you can also stop by the local grocery for sandwich fixings, or hit up Subway.

Hiking: So many trails, so little time. This is always my struggle while at the National Park, as I want to do it all. When you only have a weekend in Gatlinburg, I’m sure you’ll think the struggle is real too. So, to make the most of your time I’ve highlighted a few of the most rewarding hikes in the Smoky Mountains.


Dinner: After a busy day of exploring, your belly will be rumbling. Treat yourself to one of the finest dinners in Gatlinburg at the Peddler Steakhouse. The food is superb, and the scenery is sublime.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA townscape in the Smoky Mountains.

Day 2

Experience Gatlinburg Attractions

On day 2 of your weekend in Gatlinburg, it’s time to experience some of Gatlinburg’s best attractions.

Breakfast: A visit to Gatlinburg isn’t complete without a pancake pit stop. For breakfast, dine at the Pancake Pantry. Just be prepared for a wait, as this place is very popular.

people are going on horse through forest

Horseback Riding: Sugarlands Riding Stables hosts guided trail rides through the Smoky Mountains, which is a unique way to see the sights just like the early settlers did.

Gatlinburg Sky Lift: For a bird-eye-view of the scenery, take an open air chair lift ride with Gatlinburg Sky Lift. As you ascend 1,800 feet to the top of Crockett Mountain, you’ll gain access to some of the most breathtaking views of Downtown Gatlinburg.

Lunch: For a quick and delicious lunch, you can’t beat the Smoky Mountain Brewery. From calzones to burgers, this Alpine lodge-style eatery will win your taste buds over. Likewise, if you didn’t pick up a to-go lunch from Calhoun’s the day before, you should stop in for lunch today.

Gatlinburg Sky Lift RSZ (11)

Ripley’s Aquarium: Home to a variety of exhibits exploring life under the sea, families can spend hours viewing tropical fish, coral reefs and interactive displays. There’s even penguins living here!

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster: Up next is a ride aboard the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. Relatively new to the Gatlinburg attraction scene, this mountain coaster puts you in the driver seat—literally. You control how fast you go on this silent track, which twists and turns through scenic forests and wilderness.

Loco Burro Facebook RSZ

Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina/Facebook

Dinner: Loco Burro is a lively place to eat at night, especially if you can score a table on the rooftop. Twinkling lights, fire pits, live music and views of the Parkway set the scene. Of course, the large portions of fresh Mex and strong margaritas are a big draw too!

After dinner, be sure to visit a distillery or two for samples of moonshine. Ole Smoky Moonshine and Sugarlands Distillery serve some of the finest ‘shine this side of the Mississippi! Then, finish the night by going to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. From it’s vantage point, the entire hamlet of Gatlinburg twinkles.

Pigeon Burg Work Trip (1021)

Day 3

If you’re lucky enough to have a 3 day weekend in Gatlinburg, it’s worth taking some time to hop over to nearby Pigeon Forge. The towns, while similar, offer different ways to experience Appalachian culture. Highlights of Pigeon Forge include:

The Island: Home to the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, Margaritaville, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen and over 30 other rides and attractions.

Dollywood: A family-friendly theme park with over 40 rides and attractions.

The Old Mill: A fully operational 1830s grist mill anchors the Old Mill, which is home to multiple shops and a one-of-a-kind homestyle restaurant.


Where to Stay

During your weekend in Gatlinburg, I recommend staying near the Parkway. This way, you’ll never be far from all the fun! Below are some of the best places to stay in Downtown Gatlinburg.

  • Bearskin Lodge on the River
  • Old Creek Lodge
  • Hilton Garden Inn

Get Ready for a Wonderful Weekend in Gatlinburg

With this helpful guide detailing what to see and do in Gatlinburg, you’re ready for an action-packed weekend in Gatlinburg. Be sure to check out our events calendar to take advantage of seasonal events and festivities. You never know what might be brewing in the Smokies!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Autumn is one of the most scenic times of year to hike in the Smoky Mountains.  The bright colors of fall are painted across mountains and valleys, creating a setting that beckons one to explore.  With over 500,000 acres comprising the Great Smoky Mountains National Park choosing where to hike and sight see can be a bit overwhelming.  Use this helpful list of the best fall hikes in the Smoky Mountains to get a head start on your journey.

Best Smoky Mountain Hikes to See Fall Foliage

Albright Grove Loop Trail
Trail Location – Cosby
Distance – 7 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Strenuous

An excellent example of a hardwood forest, Albright Grove is one of the most diverse forests in America. Hiking here during the fall offers a rich blend of different colors and foliage. Plus, come of the oldest and tallest trees in the Smokies are found along the way.

Alum Cave Flickr CC hikes in the smoky mountains

Alum Cave Trail: Flickr/Daveynin

Alum Cave Trail
Trail Location – Gatlinburg
Distance – 5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Moderately Strenuous

Hikes in the Smoky Mountains don’t get much better than Alum Cave Trail. With an elevation of almost 5,000 feet, Alum Cave Trail offers outstanding views of the Smoky Mountains. Sweeping views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge to the west and Myrtle Point to the Northeast give hikers quite the reward.

1280px-Leaf-Colors-at-Newfound-Gap-NPS1 RSZ hikes in the smoky mountains

View from the Appalchian Trail

Appalachian Trail
Trail Location – Clingmans Dome or Newfound Gap Road
Distance – Varies
Difficulty – Moderate

I recommend hiking the 7.5 mile section of the Appalachian Trail located from Clingman’s Dome to Newfound Gap.  Canvassed with color, the peaks and valleys you pass through are a true highlight this time of year.

Roaring Fork 163730579 RSZ

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a favorite route for fall color

Baskins Creek Falls
Trail Location – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Distance – 3 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Easy

Hike to Baskins Creek Falls to enjoy a canopy of fall foliage complemented by a two-tiered, 40 foot waterfall.

639px-Littleriver Wiki hikes in the smoky mountains

The Little River Trail follows the river of the same name: By Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons

Little River Trail
Trail location – Elkmont
Distance – 4.9 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Moderate

History and outdoor beauty combine at the Little River Trail. The entire length of the trail hugs a river of the same name, with a slow elevation gain making it an easy climb.

1024px-Sterling-from-cammerer-nc1 hikes in the smoky mountains

Mount Sterling, looking south from the Mount Cammerer lookout: By Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons

Mt. Cammerer
Trail Location – Cosby
Distance – 12 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Strenuous

If you’re up for a challenge the 12 mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mt. Cammerer is a fantastic fall hike. The summit offers exceptional views of peaks and valleys; Some say they’re the best in the National Park.

Mountain ridges glow with autumn color, Great Smoky Mountains National Park hikes in the smoky mountains

Mountain ridges glow with autumn color, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mt. LeConte
Trail Location – Newfound Gap Road
Distance – 11 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Strenuous

Mt. LeConte rises 6,593 feet, making it the third highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains. The reward at the top are endless views. In addition, the hike can be combined with Alum Cave so you get two experiences in one.

Fall 001 Pixabay RSZ

A walk through the woods doesn’t get prettier than this!

Old Settlers Trail
Trail Location – Greenbrier
Distance – 17 miles one way
Difficulty – Moderate

Old homesteads and a diverse collection of flora and fauna make the Old Settlers Trail a unique fall hike.

Porters Creek Trail Facebook hikes in the smoky mountains

An old homestead on Porters Creek Trail: Robyn Barbee Malone/Facebook

Porters Creek Trail
Trail Location – Greenbrier
Distance – 4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Moderate

A variety of scenery, including historic sites, waterfalls and a meandering stream, create an easy yet rewarding Smoky Mountain hike.


Even driving to the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains is beautiful

Sugarland Mountain Trail
Trail Location – Clingmans Dome Road
Distance – 7 miles roundtrip
Difficulty – Moderate

The Sugarland Mountain Trail follows the ridge between Clingmans Dome and Little River Road. Peaceful and pristine, the forest here features a wonderful walk through the bright leaves of fall.

The Mountains are Calling

Get outside this autumn and see the splendor of Mother Nature.  The entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just minutes away from Gatlinburg, so you can easily access the best fall hikes in the Smoky Mountains.

Be sure to headquarter yourself in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for easy access to all trails.  River Terrace Resort, Glenstone Lodge, Old Creek Lodge and Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort are a few nearby lodging options.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

If you’re looking to get away for Labor Day, consider the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. These two beautiful cities are tucked into the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each offers an exciting mix of indoor and outdoor activities. With a splendid selection of shopping, shows, attractions and outdoor adventures, a quick trip to the Smokies is the perfect way to enjoy your time away from work. Find out all that you can do during a Gatlinburg Labor Day Weekend.

Gatlinburg Sky Lift RSZ (7)

See a Show

When you first arrive in Tennessee, you’ll notice the rolling mountains and blue skies that go on forever. You’ll also notice several signs pointing your way to shows like the Dixie Stampede, Country Tonite and Smoky Mountain Opry. Shows in Pigeon Forge are very popular, and with good reason. Whether you enjoy dinner and a show, a little bit of rock ‘n roll or a bit of country, there is a show to fit your style.

Experience Smoky Mountain Attractions


Dixie Stampede

Attractions in Pigeon Forge offer a mix of fast paced excitement and interesting exhibits. For those looking for speed this Labor Day, visit Lazerport Funcenter, NASCAR Speedpark and Speed Zone Go-Kart Tracks. A more leisurely way to experience the area is by visiting Scenic Helicopter Tours. This Pigeon Forge attraction takes visitors up, up and away. Soar above the clouds to beautiful areas such as Douglas Lake and the Foothills.

Gatlinburg is home to a myriad of Ripley’s Attractions. The full line-up includes Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium, Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Ripley’s Aquarium and Ripley’s Moving Theater. These exceptional attractions offer a little bit of something for everyone, and something no one will want to miss. Other things to do in Gatlinburg include playing a round of golf at Bent Creek Golf Course and a thrilling white water rafting adventure, courtesy of companies like Smoky Mountain Outdoors and Rafting in the Smokies.

Explore the Great Outdoors

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Clingman’s Dome

With the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, you’ll certainly want to explore your beautiful surroundings. Several outdoor activities and scenic spots are at your doorstep. Some of my favorite spots are Clingman’s Dome, Laurel Falls, Newfound Gap Overlook, Cades Cove and Grotto Falls. You can also go horseback riding in the Smokies and visit historic homesteads and mills.

Sleep Sweet

Of course, when you getaway for a Gatlinburg Labor Day it’s important to have a nice place to stay. With two great cities so close together, you’ll have your options wide open. Lodging in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg provide quality yet affordable facilities. There are motels, hotels, cabins and condominiums to choose from. RiverStone Resort, Park Place Condominiums, Old Creek Lodge and Quality Inn are just a few of the places to stay in the Smokies.

This Labor Day Weekend, treat your self to something a little bit country and a little bit city. With such a great combination of activities to choose from, you’ll be glad you visited the Gateway to the Smoky Mountains for your Labor Day Getaway!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When you travel to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park you want to stay close to the mountains. That’s why reserving from our selection of hotels in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the perfect start to your vacation plans. Downtown Gatlinburg hotels place you in the heart of things to do in the quaint town, while also providing easy access to outdoor sights in the nearby national park.

There are several hotels to choose from, but these are some of the hotels in Downtown Gatlinburg we recommend:

Bearskin_Lodge_on_the_River_(001)Bearskin Lodge on the River

Bearskin Lodge promises the best that nature has to offer in Gatlinburg with its unique mountain charm located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy a relaxing float on the lazy river or a dip in the swimming pool that looks upon Mount LeConte. Features include fitness facility, free breakfast, gift shop, free Internet access, meeting facilities, and non-smoking rooms.

Old_Creek_Lodge_(001)Old Creek Lodge

Old Creek Lodge is located in Gatlinburg on a cool mountain stream where every room has a balcony over the water. It’s just a short walk to the many attractions including Ober Gatlinburg Tramway & Ski Resort and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Features include 24-hour front desk, express checkout, outside corridors, free breakfast, free Internet access, outdoor pool, and non-smoking rooms.

Holiday_Inn_Club_Vacations_Gatlinburg-Smoky_Mountain_(001)Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountains

Holiday Inn Club Vacations Gatlinburg-Smoky Mountain is located in Gatlinburg’s Sugarlands Visitor Center Great Smoky neighborhood. Recreational amenities include an indoor & outdoor pool, spa tub, and fitness facility. All rooms feature fireplaces, washers/dryers, kitchens with stovetops, microwaves, refrigerators, and bathrooms with jetted bathtubs and hair dryers.

River_Terrace_Resort_by_Westgate_Resorts_(002)River Terrace Resort

River Terrace Resort and Convention Center is located along Little Pigeon River in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. On site amenities include two heated outdoor pools, picnic areas, Gatlin-Burger Grill, Duck Blind Lounge, pool table, fitness center, and motor coach parking. The Convention Center features 20,000 square feet of meeting space, including ballroom, breakout rooms & conference center.

Park_Place_Condominiums_(001)Park Place Condos

Park Place is surrounded by mountain views and all units line the banks of the rushing Little Pigeon River as it flows out of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is steps away from charming downtown shops, restaurants and attractions of Gatlinburg. It offers express checkout, fitness facilities, guest laundry, health spa/massage, hot tub, free Internet access, meeting facilities, and outdoor pool.

Olde_Gatlinburg_Rentals___Condominiums_(006)Olde Gatlinburg Condominiums

Located in downtown Gatlinburg, Olde Gatlinburg Place offers all the comforts of home in well-appointed one and two bedroom condominiums. Within walking distance of downtown Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Aquarium, and Mynatt Park. Features include guest laundry, free Internet access, meeting facilities, smoking and non-smoking rooms, outdoor pool, and outdoor corridors.

Book any of these fine hotels in Downtown Gatlinburg today and enjoy comfort and convenience at the guaranteed lowest rate online.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Located along a meandering creek in downtown Gatlinburg, Old Creek Lodge is a rustic retreat featuring cozy yet spacious accommodations. The lodge really brings home the feel of mountain living, as every room is outfitted with a balcony over the water as well as a flagstone rock gas fireplace. Plus, the property’s location makes it easy to walk to all of Gatlinburg’s shops, eateries and attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium, and provides easy access to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

A stay at Old Creek Lodge Gatlinburg is a very pleasant one. The main room type available is a Spa Queen Room. It is equipped with every amenity one needs while on vacation, including a microwave and fridge, and upgrades like a walk-in tile shower, granite counters, flat screen TVs and fine linens. The beds are very comfortable and the two-person whirlpool is the perfect way to relax after a day of exploring the Smoky Mountains. Rooms are decorated with earth tones and log furniture, and have a plush leather chair with ottoman as well as desk. Everything feels very new and in excellent condition. Size-wise, the Spa Two Queen Room is spacious and seems larger than your everyday hotel room.

A heated pool is also available for guest enjoyment. Although somewhat small, it is certainly sufficient for a swim. You can also fill up in the morning on the property’s deluxe continental breakfast, and keep connected 24/7 as there is free Wi-Fi available throughout the property. Riding the trolley around town is also an easy way to get around, and Old Creek Lodge is located on a trolley route for your convenience.

I would recommend at stay at Old Creek Lodge to anyone looking for a true Smoky Mountain experience. When you vacation in Gatlinburg, stay in mountain style without losing the comforts of an upscale property. It’s all available at Old Creek Lodge Gatlinburg TN.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Have you made plans for the 4th of July yet?  If not, there’s still time to vacation in Gatlinburg where you can enjoy one of the Southeast’s finest Independence Day celebrations.  For the 38th annual year, Gatlinburg kicks off America’s 4th of July celebration with the nation’s first parade, which takes place at 12am on Wednesday, July 4th. More than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend. 

In addition to the parade, there is a River Raft Regatta and “Stand Here” Fireworks Finale scheduled on July 4th.  The River Raft Regatta is scheduled for noon on the Little Pigeon River in Downtown Gatlinburg.  Anything floatable can be entered in the race.  The starting point is at the Christ in the Smokies Bridge on River Road.  Prizes will be awarded in categories such as Hand-made Decorated, Floatable Object (no creativity), Small Entry (pill bottle sized) and Oldest Entry, among others.  At 10pm, the “Stand Here” Fireworks Finale lights up the mountain skyline of Downtown Gatlinburg.
One of the best ways to enjoy the Independence Day festivities in Gatlinburg is by renting a downtown Gatlinburg hotel.  This way, you can walk to many of the events as well as have easy viewing access for the fireworks display.  There are a variety of lodging options available.  We recommend staying at Old Creek Lodge, Mountain Vista Luxury Rentals, Brookside Resort and Park Place Condominiums.  All of these properties offer affordable rates and a great location your Gatlinburg vacation.