We are enjoying the last days of August after a very hot summer with lots of rain. Right now, the world in East Tennessee is lush and green. It feels like we are headed into a splendid fall season. Top on our bucket list this year is a trip to take in the fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountains. The mountains are spectacular and definitely rivals other areas of the country with top fall foliage viewing. It’s time now to make plans to reserve a Smoky Mountain cabin rental for a home base to fully enjoy the Smoky Mountain fall colors.
When is the best time to see the Smoky Mountain Fall Foliage?
Peak fall color varies a little from year to year, usually the true peak will hit the third week of October. You may want to plan your trip starting from mid-October to the early part of November to catch the Smoky Mountain fall foliage in the middle and lower elevations. The forest in these areas have the most growth of colorful sugar maples, incredible deep red maples, scarlet oaks, hickories, sweetgum and dogwood. The Great Smoky Mountains boast of nearly 100 species of native trees which all put on a great fall show.
You may want to also plan a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway which is well-known for its scenic vistas and is especially beautiful in the fall. The Blue Ridge Parkway links the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Shenandoah National Park and runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.
Where is the best place to stay for a Fall Foliage Vacation?
The Great Smoky Mountains is listed as one of the 10 best places for a fall foliage vacation. Once a little known secret, this area now has large numbers of visitors that flock to the most popular areas near the park. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have many fall events, but don’t overlook the outer areas surrounding the Smokies. The smaller towns and communities have quaint, peaceful places to stay. Many are family owned and you’ll have a more personalized look at the mountains.
Cocke County, Tennessee is located in the shadows of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains, just east of Gatlinburg. The Cosby entrance to the park is a convenient exit off of I-40 from Knoxville, TN or Ashville, N.C. Besides the many outdoor adventures and great hiking, you’ll find some of the best Smoky Mountain cabin rentals. Here are a couple of places to start your online search.
Creekwalk Inn and Cabins at Whisperwood Farm is privately owned and operated and offers both rustic and luxurious accommodations. Choose to stay in a delightful cabin rental or a bed and breakfast with old world charm and romance. This beautiful Smoky Mountain cabin rental is a perfect springboard for enjoying the outdoors, either relaxing or hiking, taking in the fall foliage or shopping in nearby Gatlinburg, TN.
If you are more of the outdoors type and want to find a campsite in the Great Smoky Mountains, you may want to reserve a spot at Triple Creek Campground. This beautiful, clean and well-maintained campground is situated by three creeks and all campsites are creekside. Large shade trees and an open grassy area for events with a playground make this campground a great place to take in the Smoky Mountain fall foliage and the beautiful fall weather and crisp fall nights by a campfire.
They offer tent cabin rentals as well.
Where is a good place to eat in near the Great Smoky Mountains?
Your Smoky Mountain cabin rental is your home base and the establishment may offer excellent dining on the premises. Sometimes your host will pack a delicious lunch to take on a hike or an outdoor adventure.
No matter, try to take time to experience the many choices of Appalachian region’s cuisine in the area. We suggest that you stay clear of the big chain restaurants and make it a goal to visit some of the local mom-and-pop restaurants.
Here are the Top 5 Places to eat in the Great Smoky Mountains on our list.
- Most famous in the Cocke County area is Carver’s Orchard & Applehouse Restaurant in the little town of Cosby. The restaurant overlooks the Great Smoky Mountains and 75 acres of apple orchards. Old fashion southern cooking includes a basket of apple fritters served with apple butter and a juice glass of apple cider before every meal. The family farm includes a gift store with Appalachian specialties made for perfect gifts to take home and a fun Candy Shop.
- Great dining is close by at the Fox and Hounds Restaurant in Newport, TN.Serving both lunch and dinner, this restaurant offers choice cuts of beef, including Black Angus Prime Rib. Enjoy both old world charm with great southern hospitality, incredible sandwiches, happy hour and a convenient To Go Orders online.
- Rustic Cow Ice Cream Eatery and Cow Cafe is perfect for a sweet tooth and to fill the tummy. You’ll find 20 flavors of hand dipped ice cream, smoothies, old-fashioned ice cream sodas, banana splits and more. Rustic Cow is located in a rustic setting in downtown Newport, TN and only a few miles from the eastern Cosby entrance to the Great Smoky National Park in Cocke County.
- The very popular Janice’s Diner in Newport, TN offers true home style cooking. We highly recommended it for the best chicken fried steak in East Tennessee. She offers daily specials and you can always get a perfect bowl of bean and cornbread to warm your insides on a chilly fall day.
- The Grease Rack restaurant in Newport, TN is a must for an evening dinner out. Historically, this was a Texaco gas station, hence the name. Remodeled into a bar and grill, it is now known for its “Great Steaks Since ’72” and they are delicious. A family owned steak & seafood restaurant, you’ll need to catch them when they are open from Wednesday – Saturday, 4:30-9:00pm.
Where are the best views of the Smoky Mountain Fall Foliage?
Some of the prettiest views of Smoky Mountain fall foliage is found in the less traveled areas of the park. The Cocke County Cosby entrance into the Great Smoky National Park has less traffic and fewer crowds. You may want to do some hiking or driving to reach some of these destinations. Here is quick list that you can research. Many of them will be close to your Smoky Mountain cabin rental or campsite.
Where to find more information about East Tennessee
You can find lots more fun, romantic things to do in Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain region by visiting the East Tennessee Travel Guide at TownMagic.com.