If you want to know the most ideal time to visit our scenic corner of eastern Tennessee, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference. The Smokies provide an ideal backdrop for anything you on a great holiday, no matter what month is listed on the calendar. Here’s a handy list of how you can figure out when would your ideal season would be. You might find that you’ll have more than one time of year that suits you well.
When is the best time to visit the Smoky Mountains? Here’s how to decide:
Spring in the Smoky Mountains
Pros: Do you love viewing wildflowers? Then springtime is your window of opportunity. During five days in April, the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage takes place in and near the National Park. Visitors can participate in art and photography workshops, nature and history walks and motor tours. You’ll see beautiful flowers in bloom and feel the first blush of the new season. The crowds also won’t be as numerous as they are in the summertime.
Cons: The weather can be unpredictable during March and April. Warm sunshine can appear in the morning, then turn to snow later in the day. This usually happens more in early spring and becomes more mild by April. But more rain falls during this month as well, so be prepared for more moisture if you visit during this time.
Summer in the Smoky Mountains
Pros: What’s not to love about a Smoky Mountain summertime? This is the season where just about every festival in the area happens, such as Gatlinburg’s weeks-long Tunes and Tales Festival, the Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge, and an endless slate of outdoor music concerts, farmers markets, and other celebrations. Summer brings plenty of active pursuits as well. Hike in the National Park or on other nearby trails, go river rafting, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or explore Asheville on the other side of the Smokies. There’s also biking, horseback riding, boating, fishing – anything you like to do in the outdoors.
Cons: The two biggest drawbacks to a Smoky Mountains summer are the crowds and the heat. Even with its elevated location, Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas become hot and humid during the daytime but become exceptionally pleasant in the evenings. Try to plan the bulk of your activities in the early morning to avoid both issues.
Fall in the Smoky Mountains
Pros: The months after the hectic and sultry summer are simply wonderful, especially for nature lovers. Vibrant fall foliage appears right at the end of September and into October, and the cavalcade of hues rival those in New England. Of course, the climate cools down and dries out for sweater and jacket time, but it rarely become bone-chilling cold in early and mid autumn. You’ll also spy more wildlife, particularly around Cades Cove in the National Park. You’ll also find quite a few fall festivals in the area.
Cons: Perhaps the one negative about coming to the Smokies during this time is the occasional cold weather that can take some visitors by surprise. Always check the forecast before your visit. Also each year, more visitors are arriving to see the fall colors, so you may encounter some crowds during this time.
Winter in the Smoky Mountains
Pros: From Thanksgiving to Presidents Day, the Smoky Mountain receives the fewest visitors. But don’t let that stop you from heading this way, because you won’t have as much tourist and traffic congestion to fight. Christmas festivals, celebrations and decorations fill the calendar. In the Park, you’ll likely see wildlife better because the trees have less cover that normally hides the animals. Since it’s offseason, accommodation rate will be cheaper. Finally, the weather will be pleasant enough to explore, but not so cold that it’s uncomfortable.
Cons: Snowfall is perhaps the most significant difficulty about visiting the Smokies in the winter. You can still hike many of the trails, but some roads close due to icy conditions. Always check ahead of time for updates.
You’ll find that you may like one season over the other, but truly anytime of year is the best time to visit the Smoky Mountains. No matter when you do, make a reservation at Christopher Place, your Smokies retreat, and we can tell you more about the unique treasures that each season brings. Get in touch with us today.
Spring photo of the Smoky Mountains by Your Reflections Photography.