Fall Colors in Gatlinburg

Smoky Mountains Fall Colors | Leaves Changing Colors in Gatlinburg

Come See the Fall Colors in the Smokies

Changing Leaves in the Smokies

Color is coming. As the evening air turns crisp and the afternoons get shorter and shorter, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will soon be bursting with a vivid array of oranges, reds, and yellows.

A lot of people talk about fall foliage “peak weekend” as if the changing of the colors happens so quickly that you’ll miss it if you can’t be in the mountains during a special couple of days. Not so. The “peak” simply refers to the predictions about the probable times when the most trees will have the most color. But remember that the turning relies on several factors — including temperatures, rainfall, and Mother Nature — so that prediction will only be accurate within a few days on either side anyway. This color-coded fall leaves changing map will give you week by week updates for East Tennessee and surrounding areas.

Fall Colors 2017 Smoky Mountains

Colors of Fall in the Smoky Mountains

Since the leaves at the higher elevations begin changing colors a little sooner and the lower elevations slightly later, you can expect to see the forest kaleidoscope for several weeks starting in late September and ending in early November. If you come to Gatlinburg earlier in the season, head for higher ground to see the most color. The Sugarland Mountain Trail or the trek up to Mt. LeConte are safe bets through the first week of October.

If you want to venture more into the wilderness for the immersed experience, head to the Appalachian Trail at Clingman’s Dome. Newfound Gap Road, the Foothills Parkway, and Rich Mountain Road out of Cades Cove are great drives for seeing a lot of fall color from the comfort of your car.

By mid-October, dazzling color will surround the Gatlinburg area. Anywhere you turn, you’re likely to see trees in fully impressive display. This is the perfect time to drive the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Late October will see the trees at Gatlinburg’s elevation fading a little, but you’ll still have plenty of options for a couple of weeks yet. Hike up the Alum Cave Trailhead or cruise down the Blue Ridge Parkway to view the leaves before they have dropped for the year.

What is your prediction for the Smoky Mountains fall colors best time? Will Smoky Mountains changing leaves happen earlier or later than usual this year?

The really beautiful thing about fall is it comes every year so you can make your Smoky Mountain getaway an annual tradition!

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