If you haven’t visited Dollywood yet this fall or haven’t even made plans on things to do this fall, but coming before the end of our Harvest Celebration—you’re in luck! We’ve had unseasonably hot temperatures so far this October, so that’s pushed back the timeline for fall foliage.
According to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. (That’s us at Dollywood! We’re in the foothills of the Smokies.) The park service says that this time frame offers the most spectacular display because it includes colorful trees like sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and hickories.
Just pulling into the parking lot at Dollywood gets me excited this time of year. One of the things I love the most about our park is that it’s so well incorporated into its surroundings. Dollywood is tucked into mountain hollows, which makes it hard to see from the parking lot. What you do see is trees. Lots and lots of trees. Everywhere you walk, you’ll have the opportunity for fall photo ops. Here are some of my suggestions!
Dollywood Fall Color Viewing
Clearly, the view from the top of attractions like Wild Eagle, Tennessee Tornado, Lightning Rod, and especially Drop Line will be worth the price of park admission during the fall. You aren’t allowed to have a phone or camera with you on these attractions, but it’s a good opportunity to just savor the moment. No worries about lighting or filters or how many likes it will get. Breathe in the crisp air and make a memory with your mind’s eye.
What you can do is look for photo ops like this one from Wild Eagle’s loading station.
The Dollywood Express is another great chance to get some fall photos. The train depot in The Village area of the park makes a picturesque backdrop—but keep that camera handy. Hop on board and when you get to the top of the hill, you’ll have even more options for colorful leaves.
Craftsman’s Valley is one of the more shaded areas of the park, so opportunities abound here. My personal favorite has to be the area around our Robert F. Thomas Chapel: the white, little church set against fall-colored leaves is a GORGEOUS scene.
Another iconic picture spot is outside the Grist Mill—this is the place for rich, harvest colors! And a good location to take a cinnamon bread break.
Dollywood Lodging Fall Color Viewing
The color kaleidoscope isn’t limited to our theme park. If you stay with us during your mountain visit, I can give you some more tips on places to see pretty leaves.
There isn’t a room with a bad view at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. In fact, the building is designed so that all guests can enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. In addition to our guest rooms, please stop and enjoy the view from any and all porches. Loiter beside The Barn and take in the autumn scenery, or ask for a table on the terrace as you dine at Song & Hearth. If you aren’t staying on the 6th floor, ride the elevator to the top and gawk out the window when you get there. You’re sure to leave feeling like you just witnessed something special.
Did you know Dollywood manages luxury mountain cabins, too? Again, there’s no bad view from a Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabin, but here’s my list of recommendations for spectacular fall foliage. Click here to search for these cabins by name!
- Heavenly Sunrise
- Angel’s Abode
- Absolute Tranquility
- Castle on a Cloud
- On Eagles Wings
- Starr Crest Lodge
- Amazing View Lodge
- Serenity Now
- Skyline Retreat
- Beverly’s Bearadise
- Majestic Mountain Lodge
- A Five Starr Retreat
- Cloud 9
- Clouds and Mountains Lodge
- High Mountain Mist
- The Sun Also Rises
- High Hopes
- Rocky Top Retreat
- Eagles View Lodge