The cooler fall weather is officially here, and some people may mistakenly view that as a reason not to plan a trip to Gatlinburg. While it may be the end of the 2016 rafting and tubing season, there are still many great things going on in the cities of Pigeon Forge, Townsend, and Gatlinburg. With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas fast-approaching, many popular local businesses and attractions are hosting seasonal events that you won’t want to miss. Below we have listed just some of the awesome, upcoming fall 2016 events in the Smokies, but make sure to check out this larger calendar to see what events you might want to check out with your friends or family.
- Cades Cove Evening Hayride: September 17, 2016 – October 26, 2016
It’s not too late to enjoy the evening hayride through one of the best nature-viewing spots in all of the Smokies. The ride is guided by a park ranger, who will take you through Cade’s Cove and help you spot the amazing wildlife. The ride meets at the Riding Stable and lasts for two hours. Hurry up and plan now, because Wednesday, October 26th is the last one for 2016!
- Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival: September 23, 2016 – October 31, 2016
Set at Ober Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival includes their annual OktOberfest and features Bavarian-style food, live music, and indoor and outdoor “biergartens.” You can also enjoy the Aerial Tram that runs high above the surrounding forests. According to Gatlinburg.com, the tram provides “fest-goers spectacular views of fall foliage spanning for miles across the Smoky Mountains and Tennessee Valley.”
- Autumn Color in the Smokies: October 1, 2016 – November 14, 2016
Contrary to popular belief, mid-October is not the best time to go leaf watching in the Smokies. While the leaves do begin to turn at the peaks of the mountains, it takes time for them to make their way down the mountainside and into the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas. Autumn Color in the Smokies helps you see it all — at the right time. This event takes place throughout the entire park, and park authorities urge visitors to come and see the colors all the way through mid-November.
- Christmas at Dixie Stampede: November 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
Christmas already? It’s October! Correct, BUT this event starts on November 1st, 2016, and for those of us that like to beat the crowds, it’s a good opportunity to experience the show before the Christmas rush. The arena at the Dixie Stampede is transformed into a winter wonderland full of Christmas trees, poinsettias, and holiday costumes. Did I mention there’s a four-course meal? Experience a live nativity with your family, and enjoy all of the other amazing features of Christmas at Dixie Stampede.
There you have it — the four events that we’re most looking forward to this fall (and early winter). But remember to come back, as there are many more fantastic reasons to visit the Smokies during the winter, spring, and summer! Check back with us, or go online to see what else might be interesting to you or your family!