Cooler temperatures, shorter days and rain over the last two weeks are starting to change foliage in Middle and East Tennessee.
In West Tennessee, trees are still rather green with reds and some yellows dotting the landscape.
Higher elevations in the Tri-Cities region such as Roan Mountain are showing an array of colors, while the lower areas are still a week or two away from real color.
The Great Smoky Mountains continue to have expanding colors in higher elevations with vibrant reds of maple, sourwood and witch hobble along with yellows of birch. A cold snap and rains are bringing more color to middle elevations while lower elevations are still predominantly green with hints of color. High winds from this week’s storms have caused some leaves to fall in the area.
Middle Tennessee is still in a lingering transition from green to fall colors with peak expected in two to three weeks.
Beautiful colors are breaking through in middle elevations of the Upper Cumberland as well as the higher points of Fall Creek Falls and Big South Fork. However, as you move further down to Dunlap toward Chattanooga, the foliage still remains green with yellow and orange starting to emerge on the maples and reds coming out on dogwoods, ornamental pears, black gum trees and sumac along the interstates.
In other areas of Southeast Tennessee, the higher elevations of the Cherokee National Forest and areas up near the Ocoee and Hiwassee rivers are the most colorful.
Bordering the mighty Mississippi River, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is perfect for leaf watching from its many miles of hiking trails and two lakes. Stop by the Shelby Forest General Store and order the cheeseburger, a Justin Timberlake favorite. While traveling in West Tennessee, take in these other parks:
Beautiful views abound in Middle Tennessee, including Savage Gulf, a 15,590-acre state natural area, carved into the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau in Grundy and Sequatchie Counties. The sheer sandstone cliffs and canyons make it one of our most rugged and scenic areas. Stone Door, a 10-by-100-foot crack, stretches from the top of the escarpment into the gorge, like a giant door left ajar. More than 50 miles of hiking trails are here along with backcountry camping and picnic areas. You’ll also want to explore:
Our most famous Fall scenes can be found in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with colorful vistas found touring Cades Cove, hiking through the 800 miles of trails or riding up New Found Gap Road, where you can stop and see for what seems forever. Discover these other leaf viewing spots in East Tennessee: