Crisp days and cooler nights have brought sweeping views of fall color to the Great Smoky Mountains, especially in the lower elevations. The higher sections of the national park saw most leaves blown from the trees during last week’s storms. Half of the trees in and around Cades Cove’s lower elevations are still green. However, moving up the mountain peaks you will see fully developed color above 3,500 feet. The National Park Service estimates the valley floor is still a week away from full color.
In the Upper Cumberland, recent temperatures in the mid-30s are helping the color transition. Beautiful golds and vibrant reds are in abundance in the higher elevations. A mix of color with green can be seen in the lower areas. The region should be at peak in the next two weeks.
An array of colors in Southeast Tennessee is starting to pop through the green foliage, particularly in the higher regions outside of Chattanooga.
West Tennessee continues to have green foliage with limited color. Middle Tennessee has scattered reds and golds throughout, but most of the terrain is still rather green. The cold snap this week and lower temperatures forecasted in the coming weeks should help the foliage move to more color in Middle and West Tennessee.
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: