North Carolina September 01, 2019
5 Ways To Enjoy The Fall Foliage In The Great Smoky Mountains Of North Carolina
There is no season quite as magical as fall in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. As temperatures slowly begin to drop, the leaves transition to brilliant hues of red, gold, and orange, and the effect is mesmerizing.
Head to Bryson City, North Carolina and you’ll find yourself completely surrounded by opportunities to enjoy the fall landscape. Whether it’s a scenic excursion on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, a drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a zip line adventure, hike, or something else altogether, you’ll be enchanted by your time in the mountains. When planning your visit, keep in mind that higher-elevation areas tend to experience the changing colors first and work their way down over a 5-6 week period. So without further ado, here are 5 ways you can enjoy the fall foliage in the mountains of North Carolina:
1. Hop aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
All aboard! Are you ready for a unique train excursion through Western North Carolina’s countryside? The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers several scenic train rides that are sure to get you in the spirit for autumn. The adventure begins at the historic train depot in Bryson City and meanders along the Nantahala River and through the beautiful fall foliage. All rail car rides are narrated by expert guides, so you'll learn about the history of the railroad, land, and the people who call this area home. For more information about this scenic railway excursion,
2. Take a scenic drive to admire the fall foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Bryson City is conveniently located at the southern border of the iconic Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fall proves to be an especially beautiful time to visit this treasure trove of mountains, rivers, vistas, and trails. One especially gorgeous drive is Newfound Gap, which winds through the southern Appalachian mountains. You’ll quickly discover why Western North Carolina is so famous for its scenic mountain roads. Read about all of the scenic drives you can enjoy by
3. Paddle along the picturesque Fontana Lake
There are hundreds of miles of rivers and endless lakes to explore in this region of North Carolina. Whether you’re a whitewater rafter seeking Class V rapids or someone seeking the peaceful surroundings of nature, you’ll find the perfect backdrop near Bryson City. In fact, the town has been rated the third-best paddling town in the U.S. Head to Fontana Lake where you can enjoy secluded coves and the 100-foot Bird Falls. For more of the area's kayaking and paddling opportunities,
4. Zip your way through the forest canopy with Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours
While there are many ways to enjoy North Carolina’s breathtaking fall foliage, none are quite as unique as the perspective you’ll enjoy from a zip line. Zip tours offer an unforgettable experience of the forest canopy and a fascinating perspective of the land. You’ll also learn plenty about your surrounding landscape from your guide. Up for more of a challenge? Try your hand at the adventure ropes course at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, photographed above. There are several zip companies in the area, which you can learn more about by
5. Enjoy the view from a breathtaking mountain overlook
Hiking might just be one of the most beloved pastimes in Bryson City. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 800 miles and is nothing short of heavenly for those that enjoy a good hike. The Deep Creek area of the park is particularly scenic, and just so happens to be located two miles from downtown Bryson City. Take Lakeview Drive, also known as "The Road To Nowhere," for a particularly memorable drive. Curious to find a trail that's perfect for you? You can
for a helpful overview. Note that dogs aren't allowed within the boundaries of the national park. If you're looking for some beautiful hikes where you can bring your four-legged friend,
Of course, you could easily spend all day strolling the picturesque downtown area. Locally-owned bookstores, shops, galleries with working artists, cafes, and breweries make for a memorable visit to this laid-back and friendly small town.
Have you visited Bryson City, North Carolina before? If so, we’d love to hear all about your experience! For more ideas about what you can do during your visit in the fall, click here.