Best Time to Visit Gatlinburg TN – Complete Guide to Seasons

Planning a trip to Gatlinburg TN? Hold your horses! Our Gatlinburg visitors guide will help you figure out the best time of year to go to Gatlinburg Tennessee.

Winter, spring, summer, or fall? While the warmest weather seems the most attractive option to visit the mountain resort city, others are equally attracted by Gatlinburg’s magical winter scenery. We’ll help you decide when is the best time to visit Gatlinburg! Follow along as we share important insights and tips on Gatlinburg’s seasonal events and activities.

Gatlinburg Peak Seasons

While Gatlinburg tourism keeps the town busy all year, the two peak seasons in Gatlinburg are the summer season (June, July, and August) and the month of October.

Many people travel to the mountain resort city to see the fall foliage at its zenith. If you’re planning to visit for a weekend, you’re not alone! Weekends in October draw the largest crowds in the fall. In other words, visiting Gatlinburg in October means higher prices for accommodation and attractions getting fully booked as fast as lightning.

aerial view of ski lift taking visitors through the smoky mountains in the spring in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USASeasons in Gatlinburg: Activities and Tips for Visiting Gatlinburg


As the last traces of winter melt away in Tennessee’s mountain resort city, the grass starts getting greener and the flowers prepare to bloom.

A dazzling display of spring wildflowers grows at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is why The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage has been a Gatlinburg tradition for over 65 years! Visitors from far and wide join this blooming event, which offers professionally guided walks through the most scenic areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Over at Anakeesta, the Blooms and Tunes event also occurs to welcome spring as well as the re-opening of this one-of-a-kind outdoor family adventure park! Enjoy seasonal flowers in bloom plus whimsical spring-themed art installations throughout the theme park.

Related Post: 6 Irresistible Reasons to Visit Gatlinburg in the Spring

Spring is also a great time to visit Pigeon Forge. If you’re wondering how long to drive to Gatlinburg Tennessee from Pigeon Forge, the distance between the two towns is only about five miles away.

Your Gatlinburg accommodation will still be near top Pigeon Forge attractions such as:

Exploring Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in Spring with a budget is possible. Tripster offers Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge vacation packages and ticket combos for the smart saver.

aerial view of Anakeesta surrounded by trees with mountains in distance during day in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
photo credit: Anakeesta via Facebook


Outdoor enthusiasts often visit Gatlinburg during the summer season. Many agree that it’s the perfect place to visit for a summer getaway, as temperatures typically do not exceed highs in the upper 80s and lows in the mid-60s. In other words, the optimal times to go for an outdoor adventure are all day long!

White water rafting is arguably the most popular water sport in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. It’s also considered one of the best family adventures since there are dozens of expedition tours that provide white water rafting options for any age and skill level.

Dive into a wet and wild white water rafting expedition with these three tours:

If you’re wondering how many days in Gatlinburg are ideal for a family vacation in the summer, plan for at least three days. There are tons of places to visit and attractions to experience!

Things to do in Gatlinburg in September, when the days get a little bit cooler but are still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, include the Smoky Mountain Llama Treks and the Moonshine Mountain Coaster.

Join an experienced guide along with fluffy, trained llamas up the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, or enjoy a thrilling ride around the rails on a terrific, family-friendly mountain coaster while taking in the stunning views of the Smoky Mountains. Squeeze every last drop of the best summer vacation in Gatlinburg!

group white water rafting in Gatlinburg TennesseeAutumn

Autumn in Gatlinburg is a magical time of the year, especially early to mid-October. It’s the best time to visit Gatlinburg for fall colors. Autumn in Gatlinburg can be warm during the day and colder by night, so it is not uncommon to take a day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to take photos of the fall foliage.

Related Post: Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage: Tips and Guide for the Best Fall Colors Experience

Are you wondering how long does it take to drive through the Great Smokies? A driving tour only takes about two hours, but you’ll want to take a couple of stops to admire the views.

Downtown Gatlinburg offers restaurants and shopping! This bustling little tourist town is tucked away at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Try one of the restaurants after a fall foliage tour!

During chillier days, go for indoor entertainment, and you won’t regret it. Gatlinburg is home to a number of live comedy shows, such as Impossibilities – Magic, Mindreading, and Mayhem! Master magician and comedian Chris Collins is an expert in combining magic and mindreading with hilarious comedy. You might hustle inside the theater feeling cold from the frosty wind, but you’ll come out warm with genuine laughter!

fall foliage view of the smoky mountainsWinter

Is Gatlinburg worth visiting during winter? You’d be happy to know that the mountain resort city keeps visitors entertained all year, from action-packed fun under the sun to cozy holiday activities.

Gatlinburg TN reviews reveal that Ober Gatlinburg ski resort is the number one Gatlinburg destination for those looking for a true winter wonderland. This top attraction offers a fair share of thrills–from skating to snowboarding.

Related Post: Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN in December: Ultimate Winter Guide

Things to do in Gatlinburg in February include a ride at the iconic Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. Enjoy spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains featuring stunning winter scenery.

Meanwhile, things to do in Gatlinburg in November include attending the annual most awaited event, Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic Tour of Lights. Also known as the Trolley Ride of Lights, this trolley tour typically runs from November until early February. It’s a great way to see the beautifully prepared light displays, such as animated animals, iconic characters, dancing fountains, and traditional Christmas scenes.

aerial view of the great smoky mountains in the snowy winter in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USABest Time of Year to Visit Gatlinburg Tennessee

Done reading our recommended activities and tips for visiting Gatlinburg each season but you’re still wondering when is the best time to visit Gatlinburg TN?

Gatlinburg reviews provided mixed answers to the best time to visit Gatlinburg TN, but if you’re looking to maximize your time exploring as many open attractions as possible, we recommend visiting Gatlinburg in the summer. However, please note that Gatlinburg TN tourism is at its peak during the summer months.

If you’re just looking for a relaxing getaway away from the crowd, the off-peak season is during January, February, and March. Not to mention, these off-peak months offer the lowest rates on accommodations.

Enjoy the most magical home away from home in Ober Gatlinburg and pay the lowest price! Alternatively, check out some of the best Gatlinburg winter lodges and resorts on Tripster. Keep your eyes peeled for winter special deals!

Gatlinburg TN Vacation Packages for All Seasons

Plan a trip to Gatlinburg Tennessee this season! Let us help plan your Gatlinburg trip with the best vacation packages. Combine your choice of hotels with Gatlinburg ticket attractions and find the best deals on dozens of shows.

Delight in each season’s best activities in Gatlinburg!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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