Gatlinburg Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Family Winter Vacations
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Best Times to Visit Gatlinburg

The best time to visit Gatlinburg is between September and October. The two peak seasons in Gatlinburg are summer (June, July and August) and the month of October, when the fall foliage is at its zenith. July is the busiest month of the summer season, while weekends in October draw the largest crowds in the fall. Summer is hot with temperatures in the 80s, but normally less humid than surrounding areas due to the city's high elevation. Keep in mind: that elevation is also responsible for rapid changes in the weather pattern, meaning you should pack layers no matter when you visit. The fall foliage begins to appear in mid-September at the higher elevations. That, coupled with moderate temperatures, offseason rates and few crowds, make September a great month to visit. Crisp fall days in October when the foliage reaches its flaming peak draw huge crowds, and visitors can expect traffic delays, especially on holiday weekends. Meanwhile, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort draws aficionados during the winter months. Early spring (March to May) constitutes Gatlinburg's low season. If you time your visit for April or May, you'll likely catch the explosion of spring wildflowers.

Weather in Gatlinburg

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
48
25
53
28
61
33
70
41
77
50
83
58
86
63
85
61
80
55
71
43
61
34
51
28
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
4.6
4.7
4.7
4.2
5.91
5.5
5.8
4.6
4.3
2.7
4.1
4.3
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

September-October

September is an excellent time to visit, especially for outdoor enthusiasts, with temperatures still soaring into the 80s during the day. Rates drop to offseason lows and attractions are less crowded on weekdays. Fall color begins to appear in the higher mountain elevations around mid-month. October, on the hand, heralds a return to the peak pricing of summer, as locals and out-of-state visitors flock to see the foliage at its peak.

Key Events:

November-February

Winter in Gatlinburg is focused around two things: holidays and winter sports at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. While this time of year is technically a low season, note that rates are higher on weekends and during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The ski resort offers snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating and a freestyle terrain park. It generally opens between late November and mid-December (depending on weather conditions) and closes in mid-March. Temperatures are moderate, ranging from the mid-30s to the mid-50s, and some secondary roads may close due to inclement weather.

Key Events:

March-May

The weather can still be chilly in March with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to the low 60s, but April and May bring warmer temperatures and an explosion of wildflowers. These months are considered to be off-peak, but the best deals are available on weekdays, as weekends still draw many in-state visitors.

Key Events:

June-August

Summer is the high season in Gatlinburg, when the town overflows with thousands of visitors at any given time, especially in the peak month of July. Although temperatures are in the mid- to upper 80s, the high elevation means there's less humidity than most other parts of the state. Visitors can cool off in the Little Pigeon River or at the indoor ice skating rink in Ober Gatlinburg. Reserve hotel rooms or cabins up to a year in advance and be prepared for long lines at attractions and restaurants, as well as traffic delays on weekends and holidays. The trolley route on the downtown parkway is free from mid-June to mid-August.

Key Events:

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