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.
There are so many fun things to do, including summertime activities like hiking, kayaking, zip-lining, whitewater rafting and tubing.
Also, popular area outdoor attractions like Dollywood, Soaky Mountain and Anakeesta are back to their regular schedules. But we still recommend checking the attraction calendars when planning your trip.
Remember, 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.
And if your trip extends through the end of the month, be sure to look out for the beloved Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales event, where performers take to the streets of Gatlinburg daily throughout the month of July.
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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 and see some mountain peaks – 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 Clingmans Dome observation tower – the highest point in the Smokies), the nearby Andrews Bald, 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. You can get maps, guides and supplies from the National Park Service.
Also, from late May to early June, thousands of visitors gather near the Elkmont Campground to observe the unique synchronous fireflies. But note that park officials limit access to reduce traffic congestion.
There are also some swimming holes where you can take a refreshing dip around the Smokies. Just remember to follow park rules and use caution around slippery rocks.
Metcalf Bottoms and Midnight Hole are some of our favorite spots.
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). For example, take 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 wildlife, like 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 Railroad in Bryson City.
Activities for those who just want to cool down
Some visitors may be feeling less than enthused about the summer weather. If you’re 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.
Alternatively, kids of all ages can cool off at a waterpark and enjoy some water slides or a lazy river. Soaky Mountain and Dollywood’s Splash Country are the best waterparks in the Smokies.
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 (where it is cooler) and at night.
Evening lows are around the 60s and 70s.
According to the National Park Service, temperatures above 80 degrees are rare in a high elevation area such as Mount LeConte.
Temperatures will be on the rise throughout the month as they reach the 90s in July and August in the lower elevations.
Guests can 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 – with an average of nine days of precipitation.
What should you wear in the Smoky Mountains in June?
It’s not quite the wettest month of the year. But 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. Wear shorts, tank tops, T-shirts and 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 months 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 June? 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.