What Weather to Expect in Every Season at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mountain weather can be harsh and unpredictable, so always be prepared with warm layers and waterproof gear when exploring in the park. Keep in mind that elevations in the Smokies vary by almost 6,000 feet, so the weather you’ll find up on the high peaks can be very different from what’s going on in the lower valleys.
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Summer in the Great Smoky Mountains

An aerial view of Lake Fontana in North Carolina

A summer storm comes in at Lake Fontana in North Carolina

Generally, summer is hot and humid at the lower elevations and warm and pleasant up high, with frequent thunderstorms. Air quality often takes a dip in the warmer months, with hazy days more common.

Autumn Weather in the Park

The Smoky Mountains in autumn

The Smoky Mountains in autumn

Fall is an excellent time to visit the park, with its warm (60- to 80-degree) days, cooler nights, and drier weather. Haze begins to clear up this time of year. Expect freezing temps and even snow at the higher elevations by November.

Winter in the Great Smoky Mountains

Laurel Falls in the winter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Laurel Falls in the winter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In winter, the weather is usually mild in the lower valleys, with highs in the 50s fairly common. Nights are colder, and subfreezing days are also a possibility. It’s much colder on the high peaks (temps sometimes dip well below zero), with snow accumulating a few times a year.

Springtime in the Park

A monarch butterfly on a milkweed flower.

A monarch butterfly on a milkweed flower. Watch the annual migration in Cades Cove

Come spring, snow gives way to 70- and 80-degree days by April, and wildflowers explode across the park. Spring also brings rain and sometimes snow showers up high.

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