My family and I recently returned from a trip to Gatlinburg; we had heard so many wonderful things about the beautiful fall colors as they made their way down from the higher elevations. So, we decided to forgo our yearly November outing for a warmer and more scenic time of year. What we didn’t realize until we arrived was that October in Gatlinburg is BUSY! However, views like these made it difficult to complain. But was dealing with the crowds worth it?
To be honest, I am used to crowds and waiting in line. I have been to Disney in June and am not really bothered by this. Gatlinburg, though, is different. There is something about being out on a trail with no one else around except my family–and that was almost impossible on popular hikes to Grotto Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Alum Caves. Parking was warning enough that we would not find the serenity that we were used to on some of our favorite paths, so we looked for “roads less traveled.” We found them–and are certainly glad that we did. We came across some new-found favorites like Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls and Grapeyard Ridge (this one led to an overturned steam engine):
For vacationers wondering if it is worth it to travel during peak season, I leave you with a word of caution: Beware! Beaches will be filled to capacity, lines will have lengthy queues, flights will be overbooked, and prices will be steep. If you have no other choice, then opt for something nearby–a place that you can drive to–and find those diamond-in-the-rough locations. If you must fly to an exotic location, then choose a resort room category with a higher level of service. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did.