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Welcoming Autumn to the Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains in the fall with leaves changing colorsAutumn is the perfect season for taking a vacation in the Smokies because of the vibrantly colored leaves that shine on Smoky Mountain trees! The Great Smoky Mountains are a perfect place to gaze at the beauty of Fall. At the higher elevations, displays of color can begin as early as the middle of September. From September to October the turning of the American beech, yellow birch, mountain maple, hobble bush and the pin cherry can be seen. The deep green colors turn to bright red, orange and yellow, making Autumn a great time to visit the Smoky Mountains.

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the national park, making it a great place to take in 100-mile views on clear Fall days. Clingmans Dome Road runs about seven miles, including plenty of scenic pullouts, where ridges and valleys can be viewed dressed in blazing oranges, plums and deep yellows. For further enjoyment, there is a paved summit trail, although steep, that leads to an observation tower with even more spectacular sights. The Appalachian Trail and the Forney Ridge Trail may also be accessed from Clingmans Dome Road anytime during the Autumn season. Enjoy the glorious Fall colors, but don’t forget bottled water and jackets as it may be quite cool, especially in higher elevations!

Between the middle of October and on into November, the Fall colors typically begin to peak at the lower and middle elevations of the Smoky Mountains. Among the prettiest displays to be seen are the turning of the sugar and red maples, sweetgum, scarlet oak and hickory trees. These breathtaking sights are so popular that large numbers of sightseers are attracted to the famed mountains just to get a peek at them particularly in the month of October. Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road are great places to visit for the colorful views.

For a more relaxing Fall color experience head into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and continue onto the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This one-way paved road will whisk you through lush forests and will include peeks of Roaring Fork creek. Along the way there are stops, benches and the Grotto Falls hike for viewing the colorful scenery.

While you are planning your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains, plan to take one of the scenic routes into the area. This way, on your way into the mountains, you will get to enjoy the scenic views and beautiful colors! See you in the Smokies!