Favorite Part of Fall in Gatlinburg, TN

Discover what people love the most about fall in Gatlinburg, TN. Discover the secret places to drive, hike, eat, shop, etc during the autumn season in the Great Smoky Mountains!

This contest has ended. Thanks for all the great entries and congratulations to our winner!

Fall is arguably the best season to experience Gatlinburg, TN and the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains as the air turns crisp, the trees begin to change color, craftsmen flood the area with amazing talent, fireplaces start lighting up, etc. It’s simply an amazing experience with all that the area has to offer during the fall season.

We know what we love about the fall, but we want to hear from you! We want to know what you love most about the fall season in Gatlinburg or the surrounding area. Perhaps it’s a special place you like to drive to or hike. Maybe you have a favorite restaurant you have to visit. Perhaps there’s a particular craftsman or shop that you absolutely have to purchase something from. Or is there a hotel, cabin, or other place that you love to stay at during your fall vacation to the Smoky Mountains? Whatever it is that you love most about fall in Gatlinburg, TN we want to hear it! We want to hear it so much that we’ve made it into a contest!
In order to enter the contest, all you have to do is post your favorite part of fall in Gatlinburg, TN in the comments section at the bottom of this page. Simply share what you love most about the fall season in the Smokies and you’ll automatically be entered! At the end of October, 2008 we will randomly choose one of the comments and award the prize to the author. It may as well be you! It’s really that easy to enter!

So you must be asking, “What do I win?!?” The person that is randomly chosen will receive 2 free admissions to the Miracle Theater AND 2 free admissions to Magic Beyond Belief in Pigeon Forge, TN! This is 2 nights worth of entertainment for 2 people that we’re giving away simply for someone sharing their favorite part of the fall season in the Smokies!

So what are you waiting for? Jump to the bottom of this page and share your favorite part of fall!

Top 5 Reasons to Stay in Large Cabins in Gatlinburg

Are you planning a Gatlinburg family reunion, church function or smoky mountain retreat? Looking for the perfect space to host a get-together with family or just a weekend away with you and some of your closest friends? Large cabins in Gatlinburg are exactly what you need to accommodate your large group while ensuring their comfort and enjoyment throughout your Gatlinburg getaway.

Are you planning a Gatlinburg family reunion, church function or smoky mountain retreat? Looking for the perfect space to host a get-together with family or just a weekend away with you and some of your closest friends? Large cabins in Gatlinburg are exactly what you need to accommodate your large group while ensuring their comfort and enjoyment throughout your Gatlinburg getaway. Here’s our top 4 reasons to stay in our large cabins in Gatlinburg: Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons to Stay in Large Cabins in Gatlinburg”

Crawdaddy’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Since October of 2002, Crawdaddy’s has been serving up great food and good times for people of all ages as they visit Gatlinburg and ask the age old question:  Where are we going to eat?  For those that make that decision, they are in store for great seafood and steaks, great service a memories that they will have for all time.

Once you step inside, you will be sold on the fact that Crawdaddy’s offers some of the best seafood to be had in Gatlinburg.  They even have some items on the menu that you might not see anywhere else, certainly not anywhere else in Gatlinburg.  Daddy’s Blue Balls, Conch Fritters, Crawfish Dip, Daddy’s Baked Oysters, Alligator Po’Boys are just some of those specialties that Crawdaddy’s boasts on their menu, but with a name like Crawdaddy’s it is no wonder that the crawfish are what brings the people in.  They have a Cajun Crafwish Boil that is as authentic as you will get this side of the Mississippi.  One pound of crawfish with new potatoes, corn on the cob and andouille sausage all cooke din the same pot – mmm mmm good.

And to go along with all that food, Crawdaddy’s has one of the best bars in town.  Margarita’s made with New Orleans in mind, Boubon Street Tea and a Category 5 Hurricane.  The hurricane is known for its tie to New Orleans and though it is an east drink to make, it is a crowd pleaser everytime.  Light rum, Bacardi 151, red passion fruit and orange juice all go into the mix and then the drink is finished with Myers Dark Rum.  Three kinds of rum, one drink – you will think you are Mardi Gras.

Of course, don’t forget the fun.  People of all ages are going to have a good time at Crawdaddy’s.  Kids Eat Free!  Yup, you read that correctly, kids eat free every night.  While you are there with the whole family, you ought to try their karaoke.  People of all ages, and all skill levels get up to strut their stuff on the stage, singing their hears out to their favorite tune.  You might think you don’t like the idea of karaoke but if you give it a shot, you might find you love it.

Crawdaddy’s is the place for fun and great, Cajun style seafood in Gatlinburg.  From mounds of oysters and crawfish to people singing karaoke and of course beverages to make any barkeep in New Orleans smile, Crawdaddy’s has a lot to offer people that give it a try when they are ready to relax and have great food and good fun while they are on vacation.  Located right on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, it is easy to find and you will find that you might pass it a couple of times while you are walking back and forth window shopping.  Step through the door and give Crawdaddy’s a shot, I bet you come back for more.

Crawdaddy’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
762 Parkway #5
Gatlinburg, TN

Free Trolley Rides Along the Parkway

The city of Gatlinburg will offer a free trolley ride throughout the summer for anyone in town from June 15 to August 18.

Information on this page refers to 2017:

For anyone wanting to come take a tour of downtown Gatlinburg, now would be as good of a time as any to do it. Right now, the city of Gatlinburg is offering free trolley rides to summer visitors along the length of the Parkway running from June 17 through August 12.

The free Parkway Trolley has been a program that has garnered huge returns in years past. Basically anyone who wants can catch a ride on one of three specially designated trolleys at numerous stops along the Parkway for FREE. The shuttle service route extends from Traffic Light No. 1 at the north end of town to Light No. 10 at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“We are pleased to once again offer this free trolley service during our peak season,” said Cindy Cameron Ogle, city manager. “It will provide our visitors, residents and business community more accessibility to sections of our downtown business district.”

Nearly 1,300 patrons took advantage of the service during its trial run two years ago.

The free open-air shuttles is operating from 10 am to 10 pm daily through August 17. All Gatlinburg trolleys are handicap accessible. Extra stops have been established along the special route to bring the number to 40 along Parkway.

As a part of the Gatlinburg Mass Transit System, the system provides service for 50 cents or $1 per rider along a half-dozen routes. Approximately 800,000 patrons use Gatlinburg’s trolleys annually, making it the fifth-largest mass transit system in the state of Tennessee. Started in 1980 with only six trolleys, Gatlinburg’s fleet has grown to 20-plus trolleys servicing approximately 50 miles of trolley routes.

Gatlinburg Trolleys run all day long throughout the year for just $2 a day with unlimited access to the Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow and Green Trolley routes. The $2 Pass is sold at Gatlinburg welcome centers as well as at Gatlinburg City Hall and the mass transit center, plus at numerous Gatlinburg hotels and other local attractions .

For more information, visit any Gatlinburg City Welcome Center or call (865) 436-0535.

Old Settlers Trail

The Old Settlers Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not for the weak at heart. It’s a 15.8 mile trail that takes hikers from the Ramsey Cascades Road to the trail’s junction with the Maddron Bald Trail. And while it may see daunting length-wise for some people, it makes up for it with the number of historic Smokies sites found along the way.

Simply put, if you’re into history, and especially the history of the Smoky Mountains, the Old Settlers Trail is one not to miss.

To reach the Old Settlers Trailhead, travel east from Gatlinburg on U.S. 321 and turn onto Greenbrier Road at the national park entrance. You’ll pass the picnic area and ranger’s station, then cross a bridge toward the Ramseys Cascade Trailhead. The Old Settlers Trailhead will soon come up on the left.

Standing chimneys and old rock walls are commonplace on the Old Settlers Trail and give hikers a glimpse at mountain life before the Smokies were designated a national park. You’ll also pass over more than a dozen creeks during the hike. If you’re backpacking the trail, it’s a relatively enjoyable two-day trip if you decide to use backcountry campsite No. 33.

The trail starts out along the Little Pigeon River on fairly level ground as you make your way through what was the Greenbrier community. A couple general stores and churches made up the area in the early 1900s and supported hundreds of farming families at one time. Records also show that 250 children were educated at the community school. The communities were removed when land was sold to make way for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Bird Branch is crossed 0.3 miles in before climbing and descending a ridge. Moving along, you’ll reach Copeland Divide where you can see Greenbrier Pinnacle to the east. After a short hike along the ridge, you come to Copeland Creek which flows to the Little Pigeon, and which you must cross. Snakefeeder Branch is crossed a few times as you keep moving on the trail and you’ll notice a standing chimney at a point. Soak Ash Creek is also crossed a number of times during this part of the hike. Its tributaries make their way through and around the Old Settlers Trail.

The trail forks 5 miles in, take to the right up to Evans Creek. More rock walls and chimneys are passed as you move along Evans Creek before you reach backcountry campsite No. 33 – a heavily used site. From here, you descend along the trail to Ramsey Creek. You’ll cross the creek at a beautiful rock chimney that’s a popular place for photo opportunities. You’ll cross the creek four more times as you notice old homesites and the like along this portion of the trail.

Next, you’ll turn right at a roadbed 8.9 miles in to keep on the Old Settlers Trail, hiking along Noisy Creek and traveling upward. Points along the trail titled Tumbling Branch and Chestnut Ridge are hiked through. Here, forests and creeks are passed as you explore the depths of the Smokies. You’ve also now reached the highest point along the trail. From here, it’s a downward hike to Texas Creek at 10. 7 miles in. You’ll notice as many as four home sites following the creek crossing and a number of small waterfalls that develop.

Bear to the right at the fork in the trail at mile 11.7. One of the better rock walls you’ll encounter on the Old Settlers Trail is at mile 12.5 and it eventually borders the trail on both sides. You’ll follow the Webb Creek from here and pass a number of home sites along the creek.

Hiking on, Indian Camp Creek is passed over by way of a newly erected foot log. You’ll soon rock hop Maddron Creek – the final creek crossing before coming to the Maddron Bald Trailhead and the finale of the Old Settlers Trail. Happy hiking!

Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen

With two locations in Gatlinburg, it is no wonder that people have been stopping for decades at Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen to pick up their favorite candy or sweet treat while they walk the Parkway in Gatlinburg.

Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen has locations in the middle of Gatlinburg and at the front entrance of The Village.  You will be able to smell the candy and chocolate from feet away before you enter the wonder that is a professional candy kitchen, complete with people making candy in the front window and a taffy puller and wrapping machine that will make you stand for hours watching the wrapped taffy fall into a wicker basket.  Homemade chocolate, taffy, brittle and much more cover every shelf and every side of the counter at both locations of the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen.  Let’s look at their chocolate first.

The counter itself is a mountain of chocolate.  Covering everything from cherries to peanuts, made into bark and flavored with mint and all manner of flavorings, the chocolate chefs at Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen produce mouthwatering mounds of morsels just waiting to be purchased and eaten.  Fudge of every flavor and of course, chocolate in milk, dark and white varieties.  Chocolate, to be piled into bags and eaten as you roam further down the parkway looking in the windows of the shops.

And, if you are not a chocolate fan, then you can always jump on the brittle.  Peanut brittle of course but there is also something different:  cashew brittle.  A personal favorite of mine, the cashew brittle, is something unusual and though I have seen it in other places since first having it here, I still think the cashew brittle at Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen is the best.  You can buy it in small bags or if you are like me, you know that the bag is not going to satisfy your thirst for brittle so just buy a tub of it and much as you walk.

Half the fun though of coming to the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen is watching them make their mouthwatering fare.  The cooks, dressed in their whites are going to be in the window making fudge, candy apples and taffy.  You can watch them load the ropy mess of taffy onto the puller, see then add the flavorings and the colorings and then they will put it on the wrapping machine.  Everyone that visits this traditional stop in Gatlinburg has whiled away the hours watching the taffy get first stretched then cut and finally wrapped in simple wax paper and dropped into a basket.

If you have never been into the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen you are missing one of the most fun stops in town.  Stand right outside the door and take a deep whiff of the air.  Let the smell of freshly made candy invade your nose.  Step through the door and wait for the split second before your mouth starts to water.  Make the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen part of your Gatlinburg vacation tradition.

Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen
744 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

One of America’s largest aeriel tramways, Gatlinburg’s has been in operation since 1973. Take the Ober Gatlinburg Tram next time you’re in town.

There is nothing like soaring above a town in a tram car. Attached to a cable that runs from the middle of town up the mountain is the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, one of America’s largest aerial tramways. This landmark attraction has been part of the Gatlinburg skyline since August 5, 1973. Until that point skiers had to visit Ober Gatlinburg via twisting mountain roads, up and down the sides of Mt Harrison. With the addition of the Ober Gatlinburg Tram the cold mountain winters no longer deter skiers and Ober Gatlinburg has flourished ever since. A ride on the Aerial tramway is one of the best ways to see Gatlinburg and one of the most fun ways to get to Ober Gatlinburg itself.

The Ober Gatlinburg Tram’s downtown hub is located on Gatlinburg’s west end. The downtown hub is full of gift shops and information about both the ski resort and the other attractions at Ober Gatlinburg’s mountainside location. The booth for buying tickets is located towards the back of the building. After you get your ticket you walk up the ramp and join the queue that is waiting for the next tram to arrive. During the winter months the wait can be lengthy. Skiers in all of their gear are standing in line eager to pile onto the tram stack up in the queue. During the summer months those wishing to take in the best view of Gatlinburg are eager for that same ride.

And the view of Gatlinburg is spectacular. As you leave the tram hub in Gatlinburg and start ascending the mountain you are treated to the reason for Gatlinburg’s popularity. You get to take in the quaintness of the town. You get to peak at the small mountain town that now wears the trappings of the tourist city. You can see the tops of the buildings and the layout of the city itself. As you ride up the wire to the top of the mountain you are treated to the cabins and chalets that line the mountainside, some only viewable from the tramway or the street they reside on. Gatlinburg takes on a whole different perspective from the bottom of the mountain to your final destination: Ober Gatlinburg itself.

You sit or stand in a tramway gondola. These Ober Gatlinburg Tram cars were replaced in April of 2007. Each car can transport 120 people up the mountain but the new cars provide 15% more viewable glass area. Since the tramway opened the two tram cars have transported more than 18 million people. Many of those visitors have traveled back and forth year after year enjoying the gentle swaying of the gondolas as the climb the mountain. Skiers stay year after year ready to take the slopes after they have ascended the mountain and then looking forward to the light show that is Gatlinburg as they head back down after a full day. The Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is one of the greatest ways to see Gatlinburg and an experience in and off itself, make sure to make it part of your next trip to the Smokies.


Calhoun’s is an East Tennessee tradition.  They started from their Pellissippi location and now they have several in Knoxville, one near Fort Loudon, one in Pigeon Forge and of course, one in Gatlinburg.  The one in Gatlinburg is tucked right up next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It is in a beautiful location, right on the parkway.  The staff is always ready to make your day with a smile and one of the best selections of food you will find in Gatlinburg.

Calhoun’s is known for their ribs.  They are fantastic.  They are tender, slide off the bone tender and they are juicy.  Calhoun’s ribs never disappoint and if you have never had them, then you have to try them the next time you go to Calhoun’s for lunch or dinner.  But if I was to pick one of my favorite items on their menu it is their “Ale” Pork Chops. These chops have been marinate din olive oil, mustard, garlic and Calhoun’s own Cherokee Red Ale.  This microbrew starts the tenderizing process and the chops come to the table fork-tender.  You can get the dinner with one chop or two and the place a pad of Worcestershire butter on top of the steaming chops that melts around the plate when they sit it on the table.  These are perhaps the best pork chops that I have ever had in a restaurant.

And with those chops you are going to get two sides.  Now, they suggest mashed potatoes and one other side.  And while those mashed potatoes are good, they are not as good as the Tennessee Corn Puddin’.  And when paired with the Spinach Maria you have two of the best side dishes ever concocted.  Spinach Maria is creamed spinach done Calhoun’s style.  Cooked in a little ramekin, cheese is melted over the top and this serving of creamed spinach gives you just a little heat on top of the creaminess of the spinach to give you a perfect mixture of flavors.  Then you have the Tennessee Corn Puddin’.  This is a pudding made of creamed corn.  It is the perfect consistency, almost like a souffle.  The corn is buttery and works so well with the tang of the Spinach Maria that I have never tried any of the rest of their sides.

Calhoun’s is also very easy to find it is one of a hand-full of restaurants in Gatlinburg that has parking readily available for all of the people that walk through the doors.  Now, it is located right on the Parkway and it is certainly within walking distance from a number of great hotels and motels, but it also has parking in the rear.  If you turn off the parkway in between Calhoun’s and Cherokee Grill, you will continue up the road next to a set of retail shops and then find parking behind all of the Calhoun’s Village area.  This is for people eating or shopping in this area only so make sure that you are there with a purpose and if you are there to eat make sure it is in Calhoun’s.

If you spend much time in Gatlinburg, you are going to pass Calhoun’s at some point.  Stop by an check out their menu, they have one posted at the door. As you stand there, breath deep.  Get the smell of the food in your nose.  Follow your nose into the restaurant that has been winning awards for decades.  Give Calhoun’s a chance to become one of your favorite places to eat in Gatlinburg.

1004 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN

The Village

The village is one of the premier shopping areas in Gatlinburg. Thousands of people each year come to walk through the shops and window shop at the windows that point out into the courtyards. From galleries to small boutique clothiers, The Village has a full selection of shopping opportunities. You can even grab something to eat or one of the best cups of coffee that you will ever find.

Shops in the Village

  • Best Gift Idea Ever: BGIE specializes in LETTER ART, photographing everyday objects to find natural “letters” within the image.
  • Cartoons and Toys: Largest selection of Hello Kitty, John Deere, Darda Race Sets, Groovy Girls, Care Bears, and much more.
  • Celtic Heritage: Fine gifts imported from Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • Coffee & Company: Gatlinburg’s oldest roasting coffee shop. Serving handcrafted cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolates and more…
  • God’s Corner: A unique Christian shop with a wonderful selection of Christian music.
  • Life is Good: Life According to Jake is your source for “Life Is Good” products and apparel.
  • Master’s Editions: A fine art gallery dedicated to pairing clients with the perfect piece of artwork.
  • Pepper Palace: Pepper Palace carries everything for the spicy food lover. Hot Sauce, Salsa, BBQ Sauce, Marinades, spices, rubs…
  • Tervis at The Village: Lifetime Guaranteed insulated tumblers that keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.
  • The Candle Cottage: Downtown Gatlinburg’s largest and most complete candle shop.
  • The Cheese Cupboard: Gatlinburg’s premier cheese shopfeaturing a large array of imported and domestic cheese, unusual crackers and wonderful chocolates.
  • The Day Hiker: if your plans include day hiking, don’t hit the trails unprepared.
  • The Donut Friar: Open 5 a.m. daily. Experience the taste of freshly made donuts, cinnamon bread, and pastries.
  • The Hayloft Comfort Footwear: Step into some comfort. Make your feet happy with shoes from Born, Naot, MBT, Sanuk, Keen, Soft, and others.
  • The Hayloft: A Gatlinburg tradition with a large selection of Moccasins for men, women and children.
  • The Honey Pot: A delightful collection of hand thrown pottery, Russian dolls, flags, Fenton, and many other unique gift items
  • The Lamplight Gallery: Two-story art gallery that features the works of master artists as well as rare artwork.
  • The Lazy One: Comfy and funny pajamas and lounge wear.
  • The Silver Tree: A whole shop dedicated to the true silver lover! Affordable, contemporary sterling jewelry for all ages.
  • The Sock Shop: The Sock Shop has a huge variety of fun, crazy and cool socks.
  • The Spice & Exchange of Gatlinburg: Offering food lovers, chefs and tea enthusiasts a unique shopping experience filled with culinary delights.
  • The Village Cafe & Creamery: An old fashioned soda shop offering hand-dipped ice cream and gourmet coffee.
  • U Name It: A large selection of purses, duffle bags, diaper bags, baby blankets, baby bibs, and much more.
  • Verbenas at The Village: Family-owned specialty boutique specializing in products for the body, bath, home, and soul.
  • Zi Olive: Taste the finest gourmet extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world.