When is Gatlinburg Least Crowded

The National Park Service, which runs Gatlinburg, says a handful of the busiest weekends this fall will be in early to mid-October. The peak is typically around Thanksgiving, but the park service is planning for that date earlier than normal because of milder weather in the eastern U.S. as we head into October.

The Population of Gatlinburg

First things first: as of 2011, the population was 6587 ( read “2011 Census Data Shows 2012 Number Trending Downward For Sevier Co. Despite Making 60% Growth in Population Since 2000”) . That figure was based on a countywide enumeration done Oct. 1 of that year and reflects just official residents who were registered to vote at the time- those figures aren’t available by statehood until then anyway but you can bet it will be in the thousands by then.

Locally, an estimated 60% of current residents live in Sevier County while 40% currently call another county home (and likely will because these numbers increase quickly when people decide to make Gatlinburg their permanent address).

When is Gatlinburg Least Crowded? Explained

When it’s the coldest, kinda snowiest and widely underestimated by visitors.

I’m usually not a fan of cliches but sometimes they’re right on (this is one). You see , almost everybody thinks Gatlinburg is packed year round. Not quite true.  Most folks think that July/August or January-February are peak seasons yet these newcomers from other parts of the country arrive around Halloween time and in May for school sports. If a crew of visitors comes here in December for some warmth, there are plenty of vacancies to fill…but by then it’s mid-March and snow is clearing.

Amount of  People Visit Gatlinburg Each Year

This is the most commonly asked question. Recent census data shows that an average of half a million people come to Gatlinburg annually (read “Largest Growth in Visitation Since 2000, In Depth”). The stats don’t cover this entire year but break them down by month and they look like this: 300K visitors yearly in May; 500-600K November through late January when school has started again at Christman Middle School and students come home for break; 1MM- 2 MM in February, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Of course, those numbers will rise significantly from now on as the school year progresses.

Popular Attractions in Gatlinburg

The day’s popular attractions can be found in any one of the Seven sisters: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Below are some specific favorites you might or might not seek out while spending a few days in wine country.

Things to do in Gatlinburg

In Gatlinburg:

  • Slot car racing at the Small-town Raceway on Mt. Cammerer or visitors can test their skills around Paul Reagans Last Video before it closes for good (December 2014)  at Balsam Mountain Ski Area & Lodge;
  • Hiking trails abound in and near Gatlinburg, including Diamond Falls Trail with a beautiful gorge giving way to open green pines above you as you’re trapped in an instant. Also try up behind our resort on the Upper parking lot of Woodland Park just past Forest Service Road 488 to Wedge Top Falls, a beautiful cascade that drops about 30 foot into rocky gorge with waterfall 36′-52″ high
  • Gatlinburg is home to one of Tennessee’s finest waterfalls within The Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Roaring Fork Falls. Watch as torrential white spray froths over the series of cascades that is the Great Smoky Mountains’ most photogenic waterfall. Don’t be overwhelmed, though – Roaring Fork Falls is easily navigable and not high or technical at all.
  • Take a ride on The Maury River Rail-Trail from Gatlinburg to Townsend before turning around again and arriving back in Gatlinburg; breathtaking scenery time after time along this natural trail through dense forested hills with rushing creek waters and unobstructed views at every turn.
  • Bike the Upper or Lower American Road for an easy leisurely 2 mile ride on rolling green hills in beautiful lush woods and trees that was originally built as a country road connecting mountain communities from Knoxville to Pigeon Forge, but now can only be toured by foot.

Where can I find a Map of the City of Gatlinburg?

The best way to find the map is to look around. The City of Gatlinburg has numerous laminated sheets that can be found throughout downtown and at a number of restaurants, which contain all sorts of businesses, services & even GPS marked locations on them. Professionally printed maps are also available in most shops through their display racks; whereas if you’re really particular about what you want, please contact Teton Outfitters (info below) for the most recent and updated maps.

Where can I Find Hike Information in the Gatlinburg area?

Please visit: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trail Information

Then, if you are more of a weekend warrior and looking for more detailed advice on specific hiking trails through East Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP), please contact one of the following three specialty travel companies in Gatlinburg.

1) Hazelnut Hiking Adventures – 336-658-1701 [email protected] the best resource to get accurate up- to-date trail information. Hazelnut is not only the most experienced local company but they are also one of the top rated organizations in all three major Tennessee state tourism publications which feature them highly on the pages and online.

2) Bike Gatlinburg –  865-544-0844 [email protected] The best resource to get accurate up-to-date bike serving information, as well as biking trails that are marked with TOPO.


1.Is it better to visit during spring or fall season in gatlinburg?

The best time to visit Gatlinburg is during the fall season because it offers the most color and you can experience a wide range of attractions.

During spring, everything is green and new. The weather is warm and there are a lot of things to do like hiking or mountain biking. However, there isn’t much color which means that you won’t be able to enjoy some of the local activities as much as in fall.

2.Which season of the year is most suitable for visiting Gatlinburg, TN?

The most suitable season for visiting Gatlinburg, TN is the summer. The average high temperature in this city during the summer months is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

During this time of year, the city gets an average of 10 inches of rain each month which makes it a perfect destination for a rainy day!

3.How do I know when is gatlinburg least crowded?

This is a tough question to answer. There are no clear answers and each year the number of visitors changes.

Here are some factors that can help you decide when is gatlinburg least crowded:

  • The weather in Gatlinburg depends on what time of the year it is, for example, wintertime will have less visitors than summertime.
  • If there’s an event happening in town like a festival or concert, then that would be another reason why the city would be less crowded.
  • Traffic can also make or break a trip to Gatlinburg. If traffic is heavy, then the likelihood of finding parking close to your destination becomes slim.
  • Crowds vary greatly from season to season and when you check their individual tourist advisories, it might be best for you visit Gatlinburg at the end of summer or during a rainy day.

4.What are the best times to visit gatlinburg?

There are many times of the year that Gatlinburg is open for visitors.

The best time to visit gatlinburg is during spring and fall because it is the busiest time of the year. In spring, tourists flock to take advantage of all the activities like hiking, mountain biking, golfing, boating, etc.

In fall, when leaves start changing colors and temperatures cool down a bit, there are many festivals like Arts & Crafts Festival in October or Festival of Lights in November that attract thousands of people from around the world.

5.Is there a way to find out the busiest days in gatlinburg?

There are many ways to find out the busiest days in Gatlinburg. One way is to use Google Trends which will give you an idea of what times are most popular for searches on a particular topic.

Another way is to use Google Calendar, where you can search for dates and see when they have the highest number of visits.

Finally, there is a good chance that this question has already been answered by someone else in the comments section.


Gatlinburg is a popular tourist destination in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. It’s most famous for its yearly “Gatlinburg Christmas” celebration and for being one of the only places in the world where you can see the sunrise over the Great Smoky Mountains. The area around Gatlinburg is a National Forest, so you’ll find plenty of trails and things to do when you visit.

Gatlinburg is easily accessible by car, the Appalachian Trail. It’s best known for its local spots like The Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, but it can entertain visitors of all kinds and ages with numerous attractions that are sure to leave a lasting impression and plenty more things yet unseen (like this answer section…).

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