October Events in the Smoky Mountains (2024)

A list of upcoming events in the Smoky Mountains for October

There’s hardly a better time to visit the Smokies than in fall. In October, fall festivals and festivities – like Autumn at Anakeesta, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, and LumiNights – are in full swing. Guests visiting mid-to-late October will be happy to know that they may see some fall foliage. Leaves usually begin to turn late in the month. They tend to reach peak color around the end of the month and sometimes even into early November.

We highly suggest popular leaf-peeping scenic drives on the East Tennessee side including Cades Cove Loop Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Newfound Gap Road and the Foothills Parkway. And don’t forget Clingmans Dome Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway on the North Carolina side of the Smokies. Scenic drives are a great way to take in the autumn leaves from the comfort of your car.

Also consider making your way up to the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower – the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. Just be sure to bring a jacket – the weather can be quite cool in the higher elevations. Also, don’t be surprised if you manage to spot a bit of wildlife along the way. You might spot a wild turkey or a black bear. It’s a common misconception that all black bears hibernate. It rarely ever gets cold enough for bears in East Tennesee to fully hibernate. While their activity might be a bit more limited when it’s chilly outside, bear spotting is still fairly common in October.

smoky mountains in october
Expect cooler weather in the fall in the Smokies (photo by James Ovetholt/TheSmokies.com)

If you own or operate a local attraction in the Smokies and wish to add your event to the calendar, please contact our editorial team here.

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Disclosure: We have used and experienced all the products and activities recommended on The Smokies. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products and experiences featured.

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