Smoky Mountains in August: Events in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge [2023]

Smoky Mountains in August

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August is a transitional month in the Smokies.

For the better part of the month, crowds are plentiful and the sun is scorching. But towards the end, crowds begin to thin (slightly) as kids return to school, and the heat becomes (ever so slightly) less harsh.

But while the end of summer is right around the corner, there’s still plenty of time to soak up some last-minute fun in the Smoky Mountains.

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Splash Country has a true lazy river, whereas Soaky Mountain's is more of an thrill ride (photo by James Overholt/
Float down the lazy river at Dollywood’s Splash Country (photo by James Overholt/

Things to do in the Smoky Mountains in August

There are a variety of fun things to do in the Smokies, Sevier County and the surrounding area in August.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While inside the park, we highly recommend popular spots such as Clingmans Dome (the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, located on the North Carolina side), Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cades Cove Loop Road and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

You may even want to consider taking a packed lunch and enjoying one of the park’s picnic areas.

Just be sure not to get too close if you happen to see any black bears – which are abundant throughout the entire park this time of year.

Also, don’t forget that the Cades Cove Loop Road, a drivable 11-mile loop tour of the Smokies, can be crowded during the popular summer season. So plan extra time for this attraction if visiting on Saturday or Sunday.

In Gatlinburg, be sure to check out popular attractions like Anakeesta (with incredible views of Mt. Leconte – the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains), Ober Gatlinburg and the SkyLift Park SkyBridge.

And in Pigeon Forge, be sure to spend at least a day or two at Dollywood, if time allows.

If you’re looking for a way to beat the heat, we highly suggest popular summertime outdoor activities like rafting or visiting one of our local waterparks (like Splash Country or Soaky Mountain).

All in all, we think that August is a perfect time to visit the Smokies.

If you’re looking for a little activity inspiration, be sure to check out our events calendar below:

a man fishes in gatlinburg
Expect warm days and cool nights in August in the Smokies (photo by Picture This Images/

Weather in the Smoky Mountains in August

August is all about warm days and cool nights.

Expect warmer weather and high temperatures in the Smokies in the late summer. Daytime temperatures average at about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower elevations, with slightly cooler temperatures in the higher elevations – such as Mount Leconte – (at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit).

But expect cooler weather at night and into the early morning with average low temperatures in the 60s.

Pack tank tops, shorts and tees if you're planning on a lot of outdoor activities or visiting outdoor attractions like Dollywood (photo by Morgan Overholt/
Pack tank tops, shorts and tees if you’re planning on a lot of outdoor activities or visiting outdoor attractions like Dollywood (photo by Morgan Overholt/

What should you wear in the Smoky Mountains in August?

We recommend packing tanks, tees, shorts and comfortable shoes. You may also want to bring at least one light sweater if you plan on spending time in the upper elevations.

And above all, don’t forget to bring a bit of rain gear – or at least an umbrella. Afternoon thunderstorms are common.

Allow at least a half-day to a whole day if you plan on driving the Cades Cove Loop Road as crowds can be thick in the summertime (photo by Daniel Munson/
Allow at least a half-day to a whole day if you plan on driving the Cades Cove Loop Road as crowds can be thick in the summertime (photo by Daniel Munson/

How busy is Gatlinburg in August? A look at crowd sizes

While the Smokies are famous for their beautiful fall colors in the autumn months and their gorgeous snow-capped mountains in the winter months, the summer months of June, July and August are actually peak season as far as crowds are concerned.

But don’t let that stop you. We still think the month of August is a great time to visit, you’ll just need to do a bit of extra planning to make your trip enjoyable.

Anticipate crowds, and long lines, almost everywhere you go. Make reservations for special activities and dining whenever, and wherever possible.

And if you prefer fewer crowds, consider pushing your trip out to late August after the kids to back to school.

Are you planning a summer vacation in the Smoky Mountains? Let us know in the comments below.

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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Kimberly Grayson

Kimberly Grayson is a freelance virtual assistant and public relations manager for LLC.

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