Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a popular tourist destination primarily due to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The natural biosphere reserve is spread over a vast area of land and is home to over 100 varieties of native trees. At the same time, a wide variety of wildlife species including birds, mammals and fishes are also found here. If you want to explore the many splendours of the national park, you must visit Gatlinburg during a particular time of the year when the trees begin to show their distinctive colours.
When is the best time to visit Gatlinburg?
Gatlinburg witnesses a wide variety of climatic conditions throughout the year. Spring lasts from March through May and conditions remains rather unpredictable as clear skies suddenly give way to snowfall. Spring is followed by summer which lasts till August. Summer months are characterised by hot and humid weather conditions as temperatures reach 32 degrees Celsius. Ideally, you should avoid visiting Gatlinburg during these months due to unfavorable weather conditions. While it is true that most tourists prefer travelling during the summer months as schools remain closed, the Smoky National Park is a pale shadow of its glorious self during the summers.
September and October are the best months to visit Gatlinburg. It is towards the end of September that the trees at the Smoky National Park reach their full blooming potential. Around the beginning of October, the mountains of Smokies are bathed in a spectrum of fall colours ranging from pale yellow to brighter shades of red and orange. This is also the best time to a take a walk around the Cades Cove which is one of the most popular destinations within the Smokies. A little later in October, mountains situated in higher altitudes reach their peak as they are painted in distinctive fall colours. Trees growing in these regions like black gum, dogwood, sumac etc. change colour a little later than others. The brilliant colours are also visible towards the end of October and beginning of November even as they are well past their peak.
On the flip side, Gatlinburg is extremely crowded during autumn as tourists flock to the city to witness the beauty of the Smoky National Park. Hence, you must make your reservations and hotel bookings well in advance. Alternatively, if you prefer quiet holidays, you can visit Gatlinburg during winter which lasts from late November through February. It is a completely different experience as you get to see the Smokies laden with snow even as the sun shines over them. The weather is moderately cold in areas situated at lower altitudes and you can find lodging quite easily.