7 Fall Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails You Should Hike Right Now

There is nothing better than enjoying a relaxing fall Smoky Mountain hike. The weather has begun to cool off, so you won’t find yourself hot and tired halfway through the trail. Not to mention, the leaves changing colors creates a very peaceful and scenic experience.

That all being said, where are the best fall Smoky Mountain hiking trails?

With over 100 different hikes to choose from, we at Alpine Mountain Chalets have helped guests narrow the search by naming our absolute favorite fall Smoky Mountain hikes.

Did your favorite make the list? Find out below!

(Also popular: Top 4 Reasons to Spend Fall in the Smoky Mountains)

Early Fall Smoky Mountain Hikes

Now through the end of September is when the leaves in the higher elevations will begin to change colors. Here are our favorite hikes for this time of year:

Andrews Bald

One of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains, Andrews Bald is the perfect trail for families looking to explore together during their vacation. During this hike, guests will experience breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains fall colors.

woman enjoying a fall Smoky Mountain hiking trailTrail Summary:

  • Location: Clingmans Dome area
  • Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Mt. LeConte

One of the highest peaks in the Smoky Mountains, Mt. LeConte is a popular hikers’ destination all year long. The spectacular views found at the top, however, are why we highly encourage visitors to experience this trail early in the season. Because the leaves at the higher elevations are the ones that have changed by now, you will have a front-row view of the beginnings of fall in the Smoky Mountains on this trail.

Trail Summary:

  • Location: Newfound Gap Road
  • Distance: 11 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

girl hiking in the Smoky Mountains fallJump-Off

The best fall Smoky Mountain hiking trail for guests looking to avoid the crowds on the more popular trails, the Jump Off is located just south of Mt. LeConte. This time of year, the trail is known for spectacular fall colors, and in the spring it is known for being home to some of the best views of the Smoky Mountain wildflowers.

Trail Summary:

  • Location: Newfound Gap
  • Distance: 6.5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Rocky Top

Made famous by the popular song with the same name, Rocky Top is one of the more challenging fall Smoky Mountain hiking trails. From its peak, visitors to Rocky Top will have a clear view of Fontana Lake, Cades Cove, Townsend and Maryville. On a really clear day, you can even see all the way to Knoxville, home of the University of Tennessee that made the trail’s namesake song popular by using it as its fight song.

Trail Summary:

  • Location: Cades Cove
  • Distance: 13.9 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Late Fall Smoky Mountain Hikes

Just a few short weeks away, fall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be in full swing. All the leaves will have transitioned into their vibrant fall colors, and the entire area will look as if it directly out of a story book.

Here are the best fall Smoky Mountain hiking trails for this time of year:

Mt. Crammerer

Although one of the longer fall Smoky Mountain hiking trails on our list, Mt. Crammerer is different from other long trails because the elevation gain found here is not as dramatic. This trail also ends with a scenic overlook that offers a 360-degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Smoky Moutnain fall leaves in a forestTrail Summary:

  • Location: Cosby
  • Distance: 12 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Spence Field

This hiking trail starts off at the far end of the Cades Cove picnic area. After hiking along the Anthony Creek Trail for a little ways, visitors will finally meet up with Spence Field, and the amazing views that go along with it. The meadows found along this fall Smoky Mountain hiking trail offer outstanding views of the North Carolina side of the Smokies.

Trail Summary:

  • Location: Cades Cove
  • Distance: 10.3 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

man decending a fall Smoky Mountain hiking trailSugarland Mountain Trail

Although it is located across the street from the popular Laurel Falls trailhead, the Sugarland Mountain trail is surprisingly calm this time of year. This fall Smoky Mountain hiking trail starts off with a rather steep incline, however it eventually levels out with a scenic opening that offers a direct view of Gatlinburg. A little further down the trail, visitors will find clear views of both Mt. LeConte and Brushy Mountain.

Trail Summary:

  • Location: Little River Road
  • Distance: 6 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate

If you are looking for a relaxing Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin to stay in after your fun-filled day of exploring these scenic fall Smoky Mountain hiking trails, be sure to check out the large inventory offered by Alpine Mountain Chalets. Our rentals range in size from one to over 5 bedroom cabins in the Smoky Mountains.

To find out more about our cabins and chalets, please feel free to give us a call, or fill out the Alpine Mountain Chalets contact form on our website.