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 just 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 Great Smoky Mountains.
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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 border), Cades Cove Loop Road and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
The Cades Cove Loop Road is a drivable 11-mile loop tour of the Smokies. It can be crowded during the popular summer season, so plan extra time for this attraction if visiting on Saturday or Sunday.
There are also some beautiful waterfalls in the area. Not sure where to start? Swing by the Sugarlands Visitor Center, which can be a great resource to kickstart your adventure.
You may even want to consider taking a packed lunch and enjoying one of the park’s picnic areas. Or for the more adventurous, take on the rapids with a whitewater rafting activity.
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.
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 Mountain (formerly known as Ober Gatlinburg) and the famous SkyBridge at the Gatlinburg SkyPark.
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 such as visiting one of the local waterparks, like Splash Country or Soaky Mountain.
All in all, 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:
Weather in the Smoky Mountains in August
August is all about warm days with heat and humidity and the occasional rainfall.
In other words, expect warmer weather and high temperatures in the Smokies in the late summer.
Daytime temperatures reach an average high of about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower elevations, with slightly cooler temperatures in high elevations – such as Mount LeConte – (at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
Sometimes, though, you may be surprised by occasional cool nights. Average low temperatures can be in the 60s. Also, August sees an average of 5.3 inches of precipitation, according to the National Park Service.
If you plan to go for a hike, make sure to bring breathable layers and plenty of water.
It’s too early for fall foliage, which won’t begin until about October.
What should you wear in the Smoky Mountains in August?
We recommend that visitors pack tanks, tees, shorts and comfortable shoes for their August trip. You may also want to bring at least one light jacket 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 fairly common.
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 go back to school.
Are you planning a summer vacation in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee or Western North Carolina? 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.