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Spend fall break enjoying 'the peaceful side of the Smokies'

Avoid Sevier County traffic and head up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park through Blount County!

TOWNSEND, Tenn. — While the temperatures may not feel like fall yet, leaves are gradually falling from tree branches and by mid-to-late October the fall colors will be in full effect.

While the Sevier County side of the Smokies might be more well known for visitors, there is more than one way to reach the national park. 

You can avoid the dense traffic if you travel to the park from the Townsend side, also known as "the peaceful side of the Smokies.”

“On any weekend, we're going to have some cars out here, but we're not going to ever have traffic jams,” Houston Oldham said, a spokesperson with Apple Valley Mountain Village and Café. “Townsend is a quick way into the park. Cades Cove is going to be busy, but in Townsend it’s quiet and there's no traffic.”

RELATED: Autumn has arrived in East Tennessee! Here are the fall activities near you

Foothills Parkway and Cades Cove are both premiere locations to see fall foliage in East Tennessee.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to travel on foot, Cades Cove has a handful of trail heads to hike. The area also has a campground open all year long.

If you want to skip the exercise and enjoy the fall beauty from your car, Foothills Parkway and Cade’s Cove Loop Road are options as well.

“Blount County is a great place where you can just rent a cabin and just sit out in the woods and just enjoy the silence,” Jeff Muir said, communications manager for the Blount Partnership. “There is great wildlife to view in this area too.”

RELATED: Where to see fall foliage near you in East Tennessee


If you don’t want to travel to Townsend, the Maryville-Alcoa Blount County Greenway is a great convenient option to walk and enjoy the season. The 11-mile greenway runs along a stream with plenty of foliage around it.

The Dancing Bean in Townsend is a quick and easy place to grab an energizing dose of coffee before your daily activities. If you want a treat after, you can try Apple Valley Café’s fried pies, which are highly praised by visitors.
Apple Valley Mountain Village opens at 9:00 a.m. during the fall season.