Dome at Stone Mountain State Park

With a fabulous forecast in the region this week and weekend, I’m headed to the Smoky Mountains! Nothing like fresh air, beautiful scenery—hopefully some local apples—to invigorate the soul!

If you headed to the Smokies and are interested in camping at the beautiful KOA in Cherokee, North Carolina, good news: I called and learned that primitive cabins OFF the river are still available and there are plenty of deluxe cabins ON the river. We stayed in a deluxe cabin earlier this summer and loved it.

Cherokee events

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian always has great programs and this weekend is running a haunted Indian village while The Cherokee Historical Association, not to be outdone, is producing a “Little Dorm of Horrors.”

I will not see you at either of those, but we might bump into each other at the Oconaluftee Indian Village. November is Native American Heritage Month.

Leaf peeping and even some wildflowers on view

View  of New Found Gap,

View of New Found Gap, courtesy of the National Park Service

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSM) gave this advice about leaf peeping: stick to roads that take you through the middle elevations for the best leaf viewing. The lower elevations areas haven’t hit 100% peak yet.

The service updates this page on its website as leaf season progresses, so check it as you make your plans.

For real-time updates, here are a couple of webcams at Purchase Knob and at Look Rock.

New Found Gap Road is top of my list because it’s in that middle elevation and you get to it on a twisty road (U.S. 441)  from Cherokee, North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

View Larger Map

In the lower elevations, the leaves are still about 50% green. The peak will depend on the weather in the next 14-21 days.  The peak usually hits the last few weeks of October through the first week in November, and all depends on the weather. The National Park Service doesn’t know when the peak will be even yet this year.

Many people also go to the park to view wildflowers, and while the peak for wildflowers has past, there are still some to view.  Thanks, Mother Nature!

Events for adults and junior rangers, too

Several fall events are listed on the GSM web site.  Here’s what came up on the search I ran for this weekend, with my personal choices below: