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Fall Colors Peak in the Great Smoky Mountains

Vibrant Display of Fall Leaves Smoky Mountains Autumn Grandeur Fall Colors in the Smokies Vivid Mountain Colors Smoky Mountain Peak Fall Colors
When is the best time to enjoy the peak fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountains? There's no way to accurately predict the exact dates for peak color in the Smokies. Peak season for fall colors varies depending on many factors including temperatures, how many days are sunny or cloudy and rainfall amounts.

As early as the middle of September, when nights get longer and cooler, bursts of color begin appearing on the higher mountaintops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You'll start seeing the spectacular yellows of American beech and yellow birch as well as the brilliant reds of mountain maple, pin cherry and witch-hobble.

Elevations above 4,000 feet usually reach their peak colors in early October with vivid hues of autumn color from American beech, yellow birch, mountain ash, mountain maple and pin cherry. Autumn colors are beginning to appear at lower elevations with early changing sourwood, sumac, dogwoods and maples. For the best places to see the fall colors in early October, try hiking along the Sugarland Mountain Trail or Appalachian Trail and you will discover amazing views. If you're not into hiking, you'll enjoy a scenic drive along Clingmans Dome Road, Newfound Gap Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Heintooga Ridge Road or Foothills Parkway heading into the high country.

Fall Leaves on Display in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
From the middle of October until early November vivid colors are breaking out all over in lower elevations with a kaleidoscope of colors from sugar maples, red maples, scarlet oaks, hickories and sweetgum. Mountain valleys are full of vivid color with the vibrant reds of sourwood, black gum, sumac and dogwood plus the golds of birch, beech, hickory and black walnut. Baskins Creek Falls, Old Settlers, Little River and Porters Creeks trails are great hikes during mid-October, while popular late October trails include the Chestnut Top Trail, Rich Mountain Loop, Kanati Fork, Smokemont Loop, and lower Mt. Cammerer. For beautiful displays from you car during mid-October try the Foothills Parkway on the east or west side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cove Creek Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Newfound Gap Road and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. In late October, check out the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Foothills Parkway.

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