Top 5 Fall Adventures in Tennessee
September 26, 2023 | RV Travel
You know the early days of fall have arrived when the weather turns crisp, and the skies are a vibrant blue. In Tennessee, the trees start turning brilliant shades of red and gold, signaling outdoor adventurers to begin planning their next fall trip.
Memphis is known for R&B, Rock n’Roll, Blues, and Soul music, and Nashville is famous for its country music. But Tennessee is also home to natural wonders and diverse attractions from the Great Smoky Mountains in the east and the Cumberland Plateau to the Mississippi River in the western part of the state.
If you’re seeking outdoor adventures, we’ve got you covered with some ideas to experience Tennessee’s great outdoors this fall.
Tour Franklin in the Fall
Established in 1799, Franklin’s Downtown is featured on Architectural Digest’s list of the “Most Beautiful Main Streets Across America.” Its historic downtown is where you’ll find genuine Southern hospitality. There’s always a supply of fun things to do in this quaint downtown.
Fall-themed activities kick off in September, starting with the Pilgrimage Music and Culture Festival with six stages featuring local musicians. In October, one of Tennessee’s largest fall festivals, Franklin’s Pumpkinfest, stretches along Main Street, teeming with autumn-inspired food, vendors, and entertainment.
When you’re ready to relax for a movie or musical performance, Franklin’s iconic Art Deco movie theater features more than 500 hosts over 500 performances a year, including live music, movies, and plays.
See the Great Smoky Mountains
The Smokys are at their most beautiful during the fall. The mountains are filled with vibrant gold, red, and orange hues, making it the ideal time to capture stunning photographs of the changing leaves. But that’s not all. The park has ten campgrounds, including horse camps, backcountry campsites for backpackers, and group campgrounds.
The Appalachian Trail[ runs through the Smokys, and some of the sections of the trails can be hiked in a day. For example, you can walk on the Appalachian Trail next to the roadway to reach Clingman’s Dome.
One of the most popular attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains is driving the famous Cades Cove Loop road. The 11-mile one-way loop road travels around a lush valley surrounded by the Great Smokys, giving you the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. If you’d rather hike or bike the loop, enjoy vehicle-free access on Wednesdays, May through September.
Discover Tennessee’s Secret Waterfalls
Tucked away amidst Tennessee’s breathtaking landscapes lie hidden treasures that nature lovers and adventure seekers will find irresistible—secret waterfalls. Who could resist?
Jackson Falls – Duck River: On the Natchez Trace Parkway, at milepost 404.7, Jackson Falls is a picturesque waterfall nestled within the South Cumberland State Park. Surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs and a refreshing swimming spot to cool off on a hot summer day.
Machine Falls – Tullahoma: Machine Falls is a hidden gem within Short Springs State Natural Area. This beautiful waterfall showcases an awe-inspiring 60-foot drop surrounded by moss-covered rocks, providing a tranquil and picturesque setting and opportunities for great photos.
The Walls of Jericho – Belvidere: The Walls of Jericho Falls is a rugged hiking destination ideal for the outdoor adventurer as it is a strenuous 7-mile hike; the “Walls” themselves are a natural stone amphitheater featuring towering limestone cliffs and are located within an 8,900-acre designated nature area.
Carve the Cumberland
The Cumberland Plateau is a rugged and scenic upland area characterized by rolling hills, plateaus, deep gorges, and sandstone cliffs. It is home to several state parks, including Fall Creek Falls State Park and Cumberland Mountain State Park, which offer hiking trails, waterfalls, and camping facilities.
Motorcycle enthusiasts come from near and far to ride the twisty roadways through one of Tennessee’s most beautiful regions. Motorcycle routes through the Cumberland Plateau range from around 75 to more than 175 miles, and riders will have numerous opportunities to stop at scenic overlooks, rivers, and streams.
Climb Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome, located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of Tennessee, is a must-see destination. Standing tall at 6,643 feet, it is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. You can reach the dome via a steep half-mile trail that leads to an observation tower perched at its summit.
From the tower, you’ll have a 360-degree view that stretches across the vast expanse of the national park, showcasing the lush greenery, rolling mountains, and ethereal mist that makes the Smokies so unique.
Clingmans Dome is a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts, and, as a result, it can get very busy. For a more peaceful experience, arriving early in the day is advisable to avoid crowds.
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