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November is a great time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains with the whole family. A bit of fall foliage still lingers on the trees but there is a definite nip in the air. It’s the last month of the autumn decor and vibe, and the beginning of the Christmas season, with all the great things that time entails.

Gatlinburg is such a great place to visit during this time as the town comes alive with holiday festivities and great events toward the middle to the end of the month.

It’s a popular destination anytime of year, and spending the holiday season here is the perfect way to spread some cheer.

In this guide, we will take a look at everything you need to know to enjoy your trip to Gatlinburg in November.

Smoky Mountain stream with fall foliage
Catch the last of the fall foliage as you drive from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg Weather in November

It’s fairly mild in Gatlinburg during the month of November. Early November is much like October, and you might even get to see the last bit of fall foliage. But as the month goes on, it gets cooler and turns into a wonderland of winter lights.

The average temperature during the day for November is 61 for the high and 35 for the low in degrees F. That means it’s fairly mild during the day but can be a bit chilly at night.

Our Favorite Things to Do in Gatlinburg in November

snow tubing rings close up. hill on background.

Snow Tubing at Ober Gatlinburg

Ski season and snow tubing season begins in Ober Gatlinburg in November (usually the middle of the month), and you can continue to enjoy all of the exciting activities throughout the winter. In Ober Gatlinburg you can find skiing, snowboarding, snow tube riding, an alpine slide, ice skating, and many more things to do.

The aerial tramway that transports guests to the mountain from downtown Gatlinburg is also fantastic. They’re also open on Thanksgiving!

Location: 1339 Ski Mountain Rd, Gatlinburg

Learn more about Ober Gatlinburg here

Great Smoky Mountains Entry Sign

Hiking or Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you don’t enjoy the bustle and excitement, head outside and enjoy nature in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are several wonderful hiking routes and activities to do in the woods, and the weather isn’t usually too chilly this time of year, so it’s an excellent opportunity to discover the natural beauty of the Smokies.

It’s also a great time for a scenic drive. Some roads close December 1st, like the road to Clingman’s Dome, so bring a winter coat and head up before it closes for the winter.

Learn more about the National Park here

Veteran’s Day Celebration

Every year on November 11, which is Veteran’s Day in the US, Gatlinburg holds a celebration to honor those who have served our country. This event has happened in the city for over 20 years, and it’s an official Regional Site for the Observance of Veteran’s Day.

Learn more about Gatlinburg’s Veteran’s Day Celebration here

Gatlinburg Winter Magic KickOff

This event also features a chili cookoff, so you can try some great chili. Enjoy live entertainment and a tree lighting ceremony in downtown Gatlinburg for the kick off of the holiday lights event and the winter season – and as the city is transformed into a winter wonderland.

Learn more about the Winter Magic Kick Off

Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is amazing in Gatlinburg TN, and the best way to celebrate it in the area is to get a cabin for your family. You can choose to eat in one of the many restaurants that are open for the holiday meal, or you can grab a heat and go meal and heat it up in a cabin kitchen.

There are also many activities available in the area for Thanksgiving.

See our guide to Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg here

Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Show

This is an annual event that includes talented artisans from the region. It’s held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, and it’s a fantastic location to acquire one-of-a-kind handmade presents for Christmas.

Handmade Arts and Crafts goods, such as quilts, paintings, pottery, candles, soaps, woven baskets and old-fashioned straw brooms are just a few of the things you’ll discover for Christmas presents from the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community.

Location: 234 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg

Learn more about the Arts and Crafts Community here

Skylift Park’s Lights Over Gatlinburg

Ride the original scenic chairlift (SkyLift) to the top of Crockett Mountain, where you will find many wonderful things to do including the SkyBridge, the US’s longest suspension pedestrian bridge, enjoy the views from the SkyDeck and have a quick bite at the SkyCenter.

This is even better when they decorate for the season with Lights Over Gatlinburg! Enjoy brightly lit Christmas trees, photo ops and tons of holiday lights.

Location: 765 Parkway, Gatlinburg

Learn more about Gatlinburg Skylift Park here

Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter

Anakeesta is a beautiful park located high up in the mountains that features ziplines, play equipment for children, and an outstanding observation deck with stunning vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains. Shops, restaurants, and bridges are also available.

They are open on Thanksgiving and you may even get your dinner there. The chondola ride to the top will provide you with magnificent vistas while you travel in style to the top, and for the Enchanted Winter event they decorate for the holidays.

Location: 576 Parkway, Gatinburg

Learn more about Anakeesta here

Stroll Along the Downtown Gatlinburg Strip

Shopping and taking in the sights in downtown Gatlinburg is still one of my favorite things to do in the area. I remember all the times as a kid my family would go, and it’s still pretty close to the same today. Watch candy being made, browse the gift shops, and enjoy a fantastic local brew downtown.

downtown Gatlinburg at night

How Busy is Gatlinburg in November?

The answer to that question is, “It depends.” If you’re planning on coming during the week in November, Gatlinburg will be pretty quiet. However, if you’re planning on coming on the weekends or during Thanksgiving week, expect Gatlinburg to be pretty busy.

October is the second busiest time of the year (after the summer season, especially July), and those crowds taper off as the fall colors disappear. But, as the holiday season draws closer, the crowds pick up again. We’ve been several times during Thanksgiving week and it gets busy then as people come into town for the special events and to get into the holiday spirit.

Black Friday is especially busy, so don’t plan on going near the outlet mall or stores on that day.

What to Wear in Gatlinburg in November

Wearing layers is always a good idea in the Smokies. The temperature can range from the mid-30s at night to the 60s during the day, so you’ll want to be prepared for both. I would also recommend bringing a jacket or coat for the cooler temperatures, as well as comfortable shoes for walking around downtown Gatlinburg.

It can be rainy in the area in November, so bring a light rain jacket and/or umbrella. You don’t usually see any winter weather yet, so unless you plan on heading to the higher elevations you can leave the parkas at home (but always check the local forecast first).

Our Favorite Things to Do Near Gatlinburg for November

Downtown Gatlinburg isn’t the only place with a lot going on in the Smoky Mountains. Here are some other things in the nearby towns of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville that are worth visiting in November.

wildwood grove area of dollywood decorated for christmas

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

Every year, Dollywood closes from the end of October until early November to decorate for Christmas. When they reopen, the Harvest Festival and all of the Pumpkin Luminaries are all gone, and in their place are millions of holiday lights and decorations.

(See: When does Dollywood decorate for Christmas?)

This is really an amazing experience you don’t want to miss. You get all the fun and excitement of Dollywood plus the magic of all the holiday decor and food. (Definitely don’t miss the cinnamon bread!)

Also, check our guide to Dollywood rides for Christmas.

Titanic Winter Celebration

Enjoy the Titanic Museum decked out for the holidays! This museum is really a must-see for anyone who has ever been curious or interested in the Titanic. You can see all of the amazing memorabilia from the Titanic but also enjoy the lights and holiday decor.

Learn more about the Titanic Museum here

Horseback Riding

Early in the season, before the weather gets too nippy, we like to go horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains. There are several good stables in the area, and it’s a great experience for the entire family.

See our guide to horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains here

Common Questions for Gatlinburg in November

Does it snow in Gatlinburg in November?

It’s not uncommon for there to be a few snowflakes in Gatlinburg in November, but it’s usually not enough to stick around or do anything special. However, if you’re hoping to see some snow, I would recommend coming in January or February when the chance of snow is higher.

Is November a good time to visit Gatlinburg Tennessee?

Yes, November is a great time to visit Gatlinburg! The weather is usually mild and the crowds are thinner than they are in the summer or during major holidays. Plus, there are still plenty of things to do in Gatlinburg in November.

What does Gatlinburg look like in November?

Gatlinburg looks beautiful in November! The leaves are almost done changing color in the beginning of the month and the weather is usually perfect for exploring all that Gatlinburg has to offer. Downtown Gatlinburg is also decked out for the holidays come mid-month, so it’s a great time to visit.

Can you see bears in Gatlinburg in November?

Yes, you can see bears in Gatlinburg in November! However, they will be preparing for hibernation, so they may not be as active as they are in the spring and summer. If you’re hoping to see bears, I would recommend taking a drive through Cades Cove or taking a hike on one of the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Can you hike in Gatlinburg in November?

Yes, you can hike in Gatlinburg in November! However, I would recommend checking the weather forecast before heading out. If it’s going to be cold, I would recommend wearing layers and bringing a jacket. Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and pack plenty of water.
See our guide to hiking trails near Gatlinburg

Final Thoughts

November is a great time to visit Gatlinburg, especially if you’re looking for mild weather and thinner crowds. There are still plenty of things to do in the town, from exploring the shops and restaurants in downtown Gatlinburg to taking a hike in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you’re hoping to see some snow, I would recommend coming in January or February. However, if you’re just looking to enjoy the town and all it has to offer, November is a great time to visit Gatlinburg!

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