America's Best Fall Color Drives
Courtesy Gatlinburg Department of Tourism
Cades Cove, The Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, TN
The Route: 49 miles.
Foliage Update: gatlinburg.com
Straddling the Tennessee–North Carolina border, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America. For optimal leaf viewing, start at the “top of Ole Smoky” at Newfound Gap, and drive down the mountainside to Cades Cove. You’ll experience the fiery yellows of American beech and birch and vibrant reds of mountain ash, pin cherry, and mountain maple. Take the 11-mile loop around Cades Cove, winding past foliage surrounded by waterfalls, streams, and panoramic views.
Where to Stop: Shop for handmade baskets, scrimshaw, and leather goods at Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community; bite into a stack of flapjacks at the Pancake Pantry; hike, bike, or horseback ride Cades Cove to view the 19th-century homesteads.