Fall is for Leaves and Festivals
Football, festivals, and leaves are a fun season in the 9 Lakes Region The official start of Fall is Sept 23, but when should you plan to take leaf peeping trip?
When to experience the season is up to you…but we have some suggestions to help with your planning.
Smokies High Elevation – Gatlinburg- the highest elevations of the Smokies are predicted to be at peak color between Oct 8 and Oct 15. To avoid traffic, consider hiking Mount Cammerer Trail or driving the Foothills Parkway East near Cosby.
Smokies Mid-Elevation– Townsend on the “quiet side of the Smokies” will see peak colors Oct 15- Oct 22. Take your time to enjoy the beauty by biking the 9 mile Townsend Historical Trail or driving through Cades Cove.
Cumberland Mid-elevations—The elevation changes will begin as early as Oct 15 and peak in the lower elevations by Oct 28. Make it an October Fest adventure by hiking in Obed. The Lily Bridge and the Nemo Bridge trails offer spectacular views of the gorge, waterfalls, and towering hardwood canopies. Grab lunch and a beer at the Lily Pad Hopyard near Lily Bridge or a stop at Tanners Café in Wartburg.
Valley– The long Appalachian valleys of the Smokie and Cumberland Mountains are leaf peeping destinations at the end of October and early November. Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and farmer’s markets, and festivals bring more color and sounds to this harvest season.
Plan your leaf peeping trip to include a stop at one of the many East Tennessee fall events and festivals. Here are a few of our favorites across the 9 Lakes Region:
- Now- Oct 30- Dollywood Harvest Festival – Annual tribute to the harvest season with pumpkins, fall food, and shows.
- Sep 23: Throwdown-N Motown Jeep Festival– Morristown- In its 4th year, show-n-shine awards, food, and Jeep fun.
- Sep 29-30: Townsend Fall Heritage Festival– Townsend- Two days of live music, demonstrations, and traditional foods.
- Sep 30: Louie Bluie Festival– Caryville- Annual Music and arts festival named after talented legend- Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong.
- Sep 30: Rugby Roundabout– Rugby- Cycling event with several routes, children’s event, live music, and food. The fall colors should be peeping through.
- Sept 30: Scots Irish Festival- Dandridge- Music, highland dog parade, pipe and drum, and children’s activities. The event is free.
- Oct 5-22: Gatlinburg Fall Craft Fair– Gatlinburg- 200 plus booths of hand made arts and crafts. Live music.
- Oct 6: Pickin in the Park– Norris- Annual bluegrass playing and pickin at Norris Dam State Park.
- Oct 6-7: Clinch River Antique Festival– Clinton- This is the one you wait for each year as hundreds of antique vendors line the streets of downtown Clinton. Free.
- Oct 6-8: Fall Market Place– Townsend- Stroll the artisans and shop for one of a kind gifts. The event is free.
- Oct 7-8: 37th annual Newport Harvest Street Festival– Newport- 2 days of live music, street food, and crafts. Free!
- Oct 7: Union County Heritage Festival- Maynardville- Annual event spotlighting the musical heritage of Union County.
- Oct 7- Oct 22 weekends: 8th Annual Medieval Faire– Harriman- Each weekend, the Faire will open for you to experience the age of chivalry with music, jousting, and good fun.
- Oct 19-21: Windrock Park Fall Jamboree– Oliver Springs- ATV fun with rock climb, haunted trail ride, mud bog, bonfire. Onsite camping is available.
- Oct 21: 26th Annual Harvest Festival- Bean Station- Enjoy live music, crafts, and the heritage of this farming community.
- Oct 21: October Sky Festival- Oliver Springs- Car show, food, and crafts.
- Oct 21-22: Grassy Fork Festival- Hartford- Fall is in the air with hay rides, crafts, kids’ activities. Free admission.
- Oct 26, Nov 2 and 3: Fall Heritage Days at the Museum of Appalachia- Norris-
- Oct 28- Cherohala Skyway Festival– Tellico Plains- Live bluegrass music, hayrides, leaf peeping, food, and children events.
- Oct 28: Mountain Makins– Morristown- Appalachian heritage with demonstrations, food, artisan booths, and live music.