October is finally here, and the Smoky Mountains are coming to life with a bounty of fall festivities and events. If you are planning a trip to the mountains this weekend, Oct. 9-12, make sure to check out this list of top things to do around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg for the perfect autumn getaway.
Editor’s Note: We update this article each Thursday to reflect happenings for the upcoming weekend.
5. Rocky Top Mountain Coaster Fright Night’s Coasts and Goblins
We’ve all heard of haunted houses, haunted forests and haunted corn mazes – but have you ever heard of a haunted coaster?
On Friday and Saturday nights in October from 6-10 pm, starting this weekend Oct. 9, Rocky Top Mountain Coaster transforms their attraction with special effects, live-actor ghosts and goblins and surprises at every turn. Event is included with regular admission.
Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is located at 2940 Veterans Boulevard, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. To learn more, visit Rocky Top Mountain Coaster’s Facebook page.
4. Enjoy a good scare at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure’s Fright Nights
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure kicks off its annual Fright Nights event this weekend, with a brand-new theme for 2020 – “Grimsby & Streaper: Back from the Dead”. The event will take place each Friday and Saturday night in October from 6 pm to close. Tickets can be purchased as Haunted Adventure General Admission.
Children must be six to enter, but guests should note, this venue is geared toward guests 12 and up. Visit the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure website for more information.
3. Get lost at the Kyker Farms Korn Maze
Kyker Farms consistently hosts one of the most popular fall events in the area with corn mazes, hayrides, pumpkin patches and autumn-themed entertainment for guests of all ages.
This corn maze is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 4-7 pm, Saturdays from 10 am-7 pm and Sundays from 1-6 pm. The last hayride leaves one hour prior to closing.
To learn more, visit their website.
2. Check out Autumn at Anakeesta
Now through Oct. 31, Anakeesta guests are invited to experience this award-winning Gatlinburg theme park for seasonal decor, food, drinks, games and live entertainment including Movies on the Mountain.
Movies times vary based on the sunset, but are expected to begin around 7 pm each Friday and Saturday night during the month of October. Movies will be Halloween themed and family-friendly with G or PG ratings.
This Friday, Oct. 9, Anakeesta will be featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks meet Frankenstein and Haunted Mansion. On Saturday, Oct. 10, featured movies will be Halloweentown 1 and Halloweentown 2.
Anakeesta is open daily but operating times vary. Check out Anakeesta’s event calendar for details.
1. Dollywood Harvest Festival & LumiNights
And last but certainly not least, we have the area’s premier event – Dollywood’s Harvest Festival and LumiNights.
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival will run through entire month of October with live music, seasonal treats and larger-than-life displays.
Each night as the sun goes down, the park transforms with thousands of illuminated pumpkins.
New additions to this year’s Harvest Festival include a “colossal pumpkin” display with real pumpkins weighing 300-1500lbs, and two new LumiNight displays in Wildwood Grove.
Don’t forget … Dollywood will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays in October (we’ve all made that rookie mistake). The park will be open until 9 pm during the festival.
Pro-tip: For guests who only wish to attend the nighttime LumiNights portion of the event can purchase a special admission ticket online for just $35 plus tax for entry into the park after 5 pm. That particular offer excludes Saturdays, and limited tickets are available, so we suggest you book early if you’d like to secure a spot.
These special “after dark” tickets must be purchased in advance online at Dollywood.com.
What are your plans this weekend? Let us know in the comments!