June marks the official start of summer in the Smokies.
With sunny days galore, the cold winter months feel like nothing more than a distant memory.
And fun summertime activities like hiking, kayaking, zip-lining, white water rafting and tubing are back in full swing. As are popular area outdoor attractions like Dollywood, Soaky Mountain and Anakeesta who shed their limited seasonal schedules and are once again open to the public in all of their full-time operating glory.
But be warned, the Smokies and the surrounding areas of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are popular destinations in the summer months. This means guests may experience crowds and traffic congestion along the Parkway.
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Things to do in the Smoky Mountains in June
Activities for nature lovers
If you’re looking for things to do in the Smokies during the month of June, you might want to start with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Nature enthusiasts will enjoy our many miles of trails, picnic areas and scenic drives.
It’s a perfect time to go for an early morning hike – for those who can stand the heat, that is.
Our more popular include the Trillium Gap Trail (to the Grottos Falls waterfall), Laurel Falls, Alum Cave Trail, Clingmans Dome (to the Clingman’s Dome observation tower – the highest point in the Smokies), Ramsey Cascades Trail and Baskins Creek Trail.
Just be sure to stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center if you’re on the Gatlinburg side before heading out on your Smoky Mountain adventure for maps, guides, and supplies from the National Park Service.
Those who prefer nature “lite” can opt for naturing by car (one of the best ways to see the park on a hot day in our opinion) on one of our popular scenic drives like Cades Cove Loop Road, Newfound Gap Road or Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot a few black bears.
There’s also the Blue Ridge Parkway – another popular scenic drive – and the Tail of the Dragon, both located on the Western North Carolina side of the Smokies.
And if you do happen to venture to the North Carolina side – be sure to check out the Great Smoky Mountains Rail Road in Bryson City.
Activities for those who just want to cool down
For those who may be feeling less enthused about the summer weather, and looking for ways to cool down on warm days, there are also plenty of indoor activities to enjoy at one of our many top attractions.
Popular area museums include Alcatraz East, WonderWorks and the Titanic Museum.
Head to downtown Gatlinburg for other popular (mostly indoor) attractions including Ober Gatlinburg (and the aerial tramway) and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Or cool off at one of our waterparks: Soaky Mountain or Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Weather in the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg in June
In June, expect average daily high temperatures of about 79-83 degrees in the lower elevations, and 58-64 degrees in the higher elevations and at night.
Expect sunny skies mixed with significant afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Rainfall is common in the Smoky Mountains during the summer months. On average, there’s a 46% chance of rain with rainfall accumulations at about 3.5 inches – every day.
What should you wear in the Smoky Mountains in June?
While it’s not quite the wettest month of the year – soggy weather conditions are the norm for the Smokies in June. Especially in the late afternoons.
With that in mind, you’ll want to pack, and dress, appropriately.
Prepare for those hot summer days and soggy afternoons with shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, comfortable shoes (water repellant shoes if possible). And always keep a light rain poncho or umbrella nearby.
How busy is Gatlinburg in June? Crowd sizes in the Smokies
This brings us to the bad news. Gatlinburg is crowded in June. It’s quite possibly one of, if not the busiest, month in the Smokies. Especially on the weekends.
And if there’s a car show in town – crowds may be severe.
Battle traffic congestion by looking for an alternative route rather than braving the Parkway. And plan ahead when it comes to meals. Make reservations whenever possible.
Are you planning a trip to the Smokies in April? If so, let us know in the comments below.
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