With so much to see and do in The Smokies and East Tennessee this season – we thought it would be helpful to create this little April round-up of upcoming local events. April is a beautiful month here in the Smokies. In April, visitors will start to see signs of springtime with blooming rhododendrons, budding trees, roaming wildlife and spectacular sunrises. We also get to celebrate Easter and the many holiday-related activities that come along with it like area Easter egg hunts. April also marks the return of the Pigeon Forge Rod Run – the area’s largest car show.
Subscribe to our newsletter for area news, coupons and discounts
Things to do in the Smoky Mountains in April
Theme park lovers will enjoy attending Dollywood’s Flower and Food Festival and seeing Anakeesta in full bloom. If you are a car fanatic or enjoy sitting in traffic for long periods, you may also want to check out Rod Run (more on that below). We also love listening to live local music by attending performances at Puckett’s, Hard Rock Cafe, The Listening Room and Ole Red on the weekends.
And of course, the warmer weather also opens up other possibilities – of the outdoor variety. Spring brings us a later sunset and longer days, so it’s ideal hiking weather. You may want to consider a hike on one of the popular trails in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park like The Gatlinburg Trail, the Trillium Gap Trail (to the Grotto Falls waterfall), Clingmans Dome (Clingmans Dome Road normally reopens in April), the Little River Trail or the Ramsey Cascades Trail. You can also explore many of the area’s beautiful waterfalls. Not sure where to start? Be sure to visit one of the area’s many visitor centers.
If hiking trails aren’t your thing – there’s also The Gatlinburg Wine Trail. Or perhaps you prefer a self-guided tour from the comfort of your vehicle? Popular scenic drives like the Cades Cove Loop Road (near Gatlinburg), Newfound Gap Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway (on the North Carolina side of the Smokies) are also always solid options. And don’t forget – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail usually reopens in April as well. Be sure to look for wildlife on your scenic drives – but keep a safe distance. In the spring, black bears will be most active in the early morning and late evening hours. The mating season does not happen until July.
After a long day on the trail, take in a dinner show at the Pirates Voyage, Dolly Parton’s Stampede or the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. And don’t forget to add some adventure into your stay with area ziplining, mini golf, go-karts and ATV rentals. Below you will find a list of events happening throughout the area. Be sure to hit the “details” button for additional information on each event.
Weather in the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg in April
We finally start to see some warm weather after a long cold winter around mid-April. Daytime temperatures are typically in the 70s or 80s. However, don’t be surprised if you also encounter a few chilly nights during your stay as lows are known to creep down into the 40s and 50s. As a general rule of thumb, consider April a transitional month as far as the weather is concerned. The earlier in the month you visit, the colder it may be. Plus, temperatures always drop in high elevations compared to lower elevations. Also, you’ll want to remember to pack an umbrella. Precipitation and afternoon showers are fairly constant in the Smokies in the spring. The average rainfall is about 3.9 inches.
What should you wear in the Smoky Mountains in April?
Pack a variety of clothes when planning for a trip to the Smokies in April. Temperatures can vary greatly depending on the time of month and time of day. You may even want to pack a medium-weight jacket if you are planning on visiting earlier in the month when the weather tends to be a bit cooler. The same logic applies if you plan on spending a lot of time in higher elevations. And as we mentioned before, it rains a lot in the springtime here in the Smoky Mountains. Don’t forget to bring some rain gear as well.
How busy is Gatlinburg in April? Crowd sizes in the Smokies
The busiest week in April will likely be during the Pigeon Forge Rod Run event. Traffic, especially on the weekend of the event and the days leading up to it, is usually nothing short of a nightmare. We’ve even heard reports of a normally 30-minute commute from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg taking upwards of 2-3 hours. Unless you want to be in town for the car show, we strongly suggest picking a different weekend for your Smoky Mountain adventure. Otherwise, April is a moderately busy month for the Smokies. Typically speaking, January-February is the “slow” season. June, July and August are the busiest months before kids go back to school in September. Things usually pick back up again around November and December. Traffic can be moderate to heavy at times, especially on the weekends and holidays. Reservations are recommended where available.
Easter in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains
Easter will be another hoppin’ weekend in the Smokies this April (bunny joke). Several area attractions usually host Easter-themed events like arts and crafts festivals, parades, special church services and Easter egg hunts. Bookmark this page for all the latest updates as Easter events are announced. Are you planning a trip to East Tennessee or Western North Carolina in April? If so, let us know in the comments below.
If you’re a local attraction that would like to add an event to our calendar, please contact our editorial team.