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What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Gatlinburg TN?

Amazing fall colors near Gatlinburg TN.
September 27, 2016

While some cities are primarily summer vacation destinations or winter resort towns, Gatlinburg doesn’t fit neatly into any of these categories. In fact, Gatlinburg gets millions of visitors all year round! There isn’t just one best time of year to visit Gatlinburg TN, as each season offers something special to see and do. To help you decide when to schedule your next getaway, we have put together the following guide to vacationing in Gatlinburg throughout the year.

Best Time to See the Fall Colors in Gatlinburg

With some 100 species of native trees, Gatlinburg is home to some of the nation’s very best fall foliage. Leaves of every shade of red, yellow, and orange cascade down the mountainsides to create some truly breathtaking scenery.

While weather patterns can change the timing of the fall leaves each year, “peak season” typically occurs around the last two weeks of October into the first week of November. This is when the colors are at their most vibrant in the lower elevations of the mountains.

(See Also: Top 6 Places to See Fall Colors in Gatlinburg)

If you visit earlier in the season, around the end of September or the beginning of October, you can see the changing leaves in the higher elevations of the mountains. For instance, Clingmans Dome (the highest point in the national park) offers breathtaking views of the autumn colors in the mountains during this period.

For an up to date look at this year’s fall foliage, check out the National Park Service’s Fall Colors Report .

Best Time to Go Skiing in Gatlinburg

A snowcapped mountain near Gatlinburg TN.

Gatlinburg is home to Tennessee’s only ski resort: the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area. This excellent resort offers spectacular snow tubing, skiing, and snowboarding in the winter months. Ober opens the slopes at different times each year, depending on the temperature, but here is a rough idea of when you can expect to enjoy your favorite activities at the resort:

  • Snow Tubing
    Begins mid – late November (around November 20 in years past)
    Ends mid March (around March 13 in years past)

  • Skiing and Snowboarding
    Begins early – mid December (around December 18 in years past)
    Ends mid March (around March 13 in years past)

For the most up to date information, check out Ober Gatlinburg’s Slope Report .

Best Time to See Wildflowers in Gatlinburg

Many people consider the spring to be the best time of year to visit Gatlinburg TN because of the season’s beautiful wildflowers. The Gatlinburg area is home to 1,500 species of flowers, and the Great Smoky Mountains are sometimes referred to as “Wildflower National Park”.

April is peak season for wildflowers in Gatlinburg. Visitors will see a spectacular variety of beautiful blooms, including yellow mandarin, violets, wild ginger, fire pink, white trillium, and many other stunning flowers. During mid-April, Gatlinburg hosts its annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage , a collection of guided hikes and workshops that celebrate springtime in the national park.

While April may be the absolute best time for wildflower viewing, you can also see stunning spring wildflowers in May and June. Even summer, fall, and winter offer some great wildflowers, so always remember to keep your eyes peeled during your hikes in the park!

Best Summer Weather in Gatlinburg

Father and son playing in a pool during the summer

While some places in the South get oppressively hot in the summer, Gatlinburg’s mountain location keeps the climate pretty temperate. June, July, and August all have highs around 87 and lows around 60, which is pretty much ideal for a summer vacation. When you stay at one of our Gatlinburg cabins with swimming pool access, you really can’t go wrong!

Have you decided what the best time of year to visit Gatlinburg TN is for you? Start planning your vacation by browsing our selection of Gatlinburg cabin rentals. Tucked away in the foothills of the mountains, our cabins are the perfect place for a getaway in the Smokies!

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