The mornings are getting a bit cooler, football is beginning to creep back into everyone’s daily lives, and school’s starting back. If these all signal the onset of Fall to you, well you’re like many others in East Tennessee. And with autumn comes Fall colors. If you’re in the Great Smoky Mountains, you’re probably beginning to wonder about the fall colors and when the leaves will start changing in Townsend, as well as Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the surrounding areas.
Thankfully, this summer has not been extremely dry, and though there have been some hot days, it seems like prevalent conditions could produce a vibrant autumn season. In all, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park consists of 100’s of species of deciduous trees in a variety of elevations. What this means is that, no matter the summer conditions, there will still be an abundant amount of color to see since weather varies throughout… there is no such thing as a “bad” fall in the Smoky Mountains!
Once cooler weather starts to prevail, then leaves will start changing color at a more rapid rate. It starts off in the higher elevations with a number of tree species. Once you get to around mid- October, you’ll see mostly golden yellow colors mixed with some orange, and a hint of red. These colors will descend down the mountains into the valley as the vibrant reds slowly catch up and start to mix with the oranges, browns, and yellows. If cold weather sets in during these months, the colors will peak in the mountains and valley around the last week of October and into early November.
I’d highly suggest keeping track of the official Great Smoky Mountains National Park website to follow the fall foliage changing color. They even have a page dedicated to fall foliage at: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm.
Also, take a look at their webcams:
Finally, be sure to check out the Park’s tips for fall hiking and scenic drives: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fall-suggestions.htm
Once again, the best time to see the fall colors in Townsend, Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will be the last week of October and into early November. This is my favorite time of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains…I hope you enjoy it as much as the locals do!