Nolan Creek is definitely stunning in the fall. Naturally, this can be stated in many areas of the Smoky Mountain National Park. Nolan Creek combines an idyllic setting of frolicking stream, thick deciduous canopy, and broad curving trail, almost more of a country roadway than a hiking trail.
Considering its nearness to the roadway and civilization, in general, this is, in fact, a low traffic area as many visitors head to the end of Lake View Drive and then head straight west from the trailhead to Lake Fontana.
Think about taking a fall trip where you and the family hike the 1.3 miles to Bearpen Creek and established camp. This is a nice little series of websites, tucked back into a draw that is practically cozy. Set up, have a picnic, play in the creek, and after that head back into Bryson Springs to capture the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad afternoon train to Nantahala Gorge. It runs pretty much all of October is a wonderful ride, regardless of the rather steep cost.
Get dinner or ice cream or both in town and after that head back out to the campsite. The next day, depending on the energy level, consider treking north 4miles to Solola Valley at the next trail branch. You will not be disappointed.