Autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: What Is Your Fall Color?

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Fall leaves on a tree branchWith the fall foliage in full effect, some visitors to the Smokies may be curious as to which trees are responsible for the glorious mountain sceneries in front of them. We all know that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 100 species of trees, but which trees produce which color?


One of the most vibrant fall colors are the red tinted leaves. Ranging anywhere from a bright scarlet hue to a deep burgundy. Trees in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park falling into this category include dogwoods (deep red), sourwoods (brick red), oak, sugar maple and shining sumac.


Yellow leaves are the second among popular fall colors, paired with red. Trees responsible for this mood-lifting color include tulip poplars, birch, black cherries and hickories.


One of the rarer colors of fall, autumn lovers can thank the aged red maples in the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest for this leave color.

Now that you know which trees are which color, you may be wondering why the leaves change colors in the first place? As with many things, there is a lengthy scientific explanation including elements like rain and weather patterns, temperature levels and elevation. However, a more simple explanation is simply that when the weather begins to cool down, and the days begin to shorten, the leaves begin to lose their green pigmentation to make room for their ‘true colors’ as explained by the National Park Service.

Want to learn about many of the great places to see the scenic fall leaves in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Be sure to check out our other blog dedicated to these fun and exciting scenic attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Also, to find out more about the wonders housed inside the national park, Visit My Smokies invites guests to check out our website dedicated to all things Smoky Mountains.


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