Upcoming Events in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: November 2018

After peak colors pass and the leaves begin to fall from the trees in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, many people assume that they’ll be forced to wait until spring to check out the park’s best drives and hikes. Many, however, remain fully accessible in November and even December. The views are just as impressive in late autumn and early winter, and better yet, the crowds are minimal.

Enjoy Autumn Colors or Views for Miles While Hiking the Park’s Most Beautiful Trails

Photo provided by @stephen.b.rice

Location: Smoky Mountains National Park

By the time mid-November arrives, most of the leaves will have fallen off the trees at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This by no means indicates that hiking season is over, however. Depending on the weather, you can hit up the park’s best trails while avoiding the crowds that often arrive at the most iconic spots during the peak of fall colors. What’s more, the departure of all those colorful leaves can, in some cases, make the views even more scenic. Suddenly, you can see for miles.

Not sure where to start? Porters Creek is always a great option, especially on chilly days in which you prefer a lower elevation. The Gregory Bald Trail offers some of the best views of the fall colors in exchange for a tiring hike that typically lasts six hours. If you’re on the hunt for an adventure that’s a little less time-consuming and a lot easier on your body, you’ll appreciate the panoramic views from the fully-paved Clingmans Dome hike. Dress warm and keep an eye on the weather; unexpected snowfall can make otherwise easy hikes a lot more challenging.

Experience the Park’s Beauty From the Comfort of Your Vehicle During Late Autumn and Early Winter Drives

Photo provide by @photosoftheglobe2018

Location: Smoky Mountains National Park

Not feeling up to hiking in the autumn chill? You’re certainly not alone. Thankfully, the park’s roads should still be easy to navigate throughout the month of November. December driving can be slightly trickier depending on the weather, but may be worthwhile if you’re determined to avoid peak season crowds. Keep in mind that some roads (such as the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail) may close for winter. Check the National Park Service website regularly to get a better idea of which roads might be open at the time of your drive. When in doubt, stick with the Cades Cove Loop Road, Little River Road, and Newfound Gap Road. which are typically open year-round (weather permitting, of course).

Tap Your Toes to Traditional Tunes at the Back Porch Old-Time Music Jam

Photo provide by @glorytalbott

Location: Oconaluftee Visitor Center Porch
Date: November 17

Kick back and relax at this quaint jamboree. The performance is free of charge and begins promptly at 1 pm. It lasts two hours, but you don’t need to be physically present the entire time; you can stick to the porch or meander throughout the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and surrounding area as you enjoy spectacular scenery and old-timey music. Feel free to bring your instrument and join the fun. Although the event is typically held on the porch, it may be relocated to the inside portion of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, depending on the weather.