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Fall in Bryson City

Enjoy the Fall Colors of Bryson City


From early October to late November, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and surrounding region are packed with people taking in the breathtaking colors.

Where and When to Go

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is likely to give you a nice experience of the color, both on the roads and throughout its many trails.  However, if you want somewhere that is less crowded, Bryson City is the perfect location. Bryson City is a bit east of the park and yet only a short drive from the true "hot spots". You can easily make many visits into the park in a single weekend, but you should plan for a bit of traffic on the roads.


While you may think that a single weekend would do the trick, you may want to try to plan on a longer stay in the area. This will guarantee that you are able to really get out and see the peak colors, especially if the weather has been tricky, and the roads and trails are much less crowded during the week.  A good plan would be to book accommodations for a week or very long weekend, and at a place that is already in the woods or with a nice mountain view. For instance, Bryson City Cabin Rentals is a wonderful choice for those hoping to enjoy fall color, right from the comfort of their cabin. 

From any of the Bryson City Cabin Rentals cabins, you can enter the park or head out to other recommended areas. Remember too that you want to consider altitudes as you start looking for leaves as well. This is because the leaves at the higher ground change earlier, and in a single week's time you can see radical differences. This is why you want to plan your visit from the "top down" as they say.


Start with adventures in the higher locations like Clingman's Dome or the Blue Ridge Parkway. As a week passes, you can head down towards less crowded local areas, such as taking a short drive out to Fontana Dam, the Mountain Farm Museum in Cherokee, Deep Creek in Bryson City, or even to the Road to Nowhere to see how the colors are going.

If you are in Bryson City you should also book a trip on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad as they do an annual 4.5 hour fall foliage tour that usually knocks the socks off those who experience it. The Nantahala Excursion Tour travels across the Little Tennessee River and Nantahala River with a one hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center for sightseeing.  The Tuckasegee River Excursion travels along the Tuckasegee River for 32 miles roundtrip.  There is also an hour layover in the adorable town of Dillsboro.  If you are looking for a more child centered activity, the Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express is the perfect ride for you!  What an ideal way to round off a few days of leaf peeping in the area around Bryson City.  

*Photo Credits are as follows:

-Nantahala River & Parkway Photos by J.R.vanLienden

Photos Courtesy of the Bryson City / Swain County NC Chamber of Commerce.

Karen Proctor Wilmot, Executive Director

- BCCR Photo By Norman Beauchesne