Great Smoky Mountains fall foliage in Cades Cove in Tennessee
Take a drive through Cades Cove and see how the fall colors look in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as of October 11, 2022.
Brianna Paciorka, Knoxville News Sentinel
Summer is coming to end, but that doesn’t mean vacations and weekend getaways must. As cooler weather breezes into the mountain air and vibrant hues of orange take over the landscape, East Tennessee makes for a great destination during the fall.
Gatlinburg was ranked No. 1 as the best place to visit during the season and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is named among the top 10 best places in the country to take in the natural wonder of fall colors.
The lists are independently selected by USA TODAY editors and readers, according to the publication.
Gatlinburg named No. 1 destination for a fall getaway
Gatlinburg claimed the top spot on the 10Best list as the perfect fall destination. The city’s attractions, food, locations and the easy access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park helped the East Tennessee area get the No. 1 ranking.
But that’s not all. “Upon arrival, visitors can tour iconic institutions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, while the Gatlinburg Space Needle is perfect for basking in the beauty of the surrounding region from roughly 400 feet in the air,” USA TODAY added.
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Another city not far from East Tennessee made the list too. Asheville, North Carolina, was ranked No. 10.
“Though best known for its spectacular beer scene, the region is also equipped with its fair share of gorgeous natural sites to explore, with area destinations ranging from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the North Carolina Arboretum,” USA TODAY said about Asheville.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park a top place to see fall colors
There are several places throughout the country to enjoy vibrant colors during autumn. The 10Best list includes locations from New York to Colorado, with Great Smoky Mountains National Park at No. 6 on the list.
“The splendor of Appalachia is on full display across Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and this sprawling natural wonder is a true sight to behold during peak fall foliage season,” USA TODAY noted.
Cades Cove and Cataract Falls were suggested as places to explore, and the waterfall view on the Rainbow Falls Trail could be a great hike for seasoned hikers to tackle.
The park, which began charging a daily parking fee this year, will offer free parking for two upcoming National Park Service fee-free days : on Sept. 23 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.
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