When Do the Leaves Change Color in the Fall
Fall is an incredible season to visit Gatlinburg and The Great Smoky Mountains with the beautiful foliage, crisp air, crafts, harvest festivals, etc. If you have never visited Gatlinburg, TN in the month of October then you are missing out on an amazing experience.
Figuring out when the color in the leaves will peak can be very tricky…like predicting the weather. A good rule of thumb that defines a brilliant fall is dry weather with cool (not freezing) temperatures in October. There are obviously other factors, but those two are a common necessity. Colors usually peak around the last half of October with the higher elevations changing color first and then trickling down into the valley. So how can you figure out if the color is peaking before you visit Gatlinburg? Luckily, the internet can help!
There are two webcams available in the mountains that can show you exactly what the leaves look like! Simply keep track of these two cams to see when the leaves begin to change. Once you start noticing the majority of the leaves changing color, then most of the valley and surrounding mountains should be lit up with color within two weeks.
The Tennessee State Department of Tourist Development has an excellent website with Fall Foliage information available at: http://fall.tnvacation.com . On their site you will find:
- Scenic Route Guides
- Fall Color Forecasts
- Photo Gallery
- Outdoor Activities
- Why and How Leaves Change Color
- And so much more!
One last tip is to avoid coming to Gatlinburg on the weekend if at all possible. The busiest days are Friday-Sunday for obvious reasons. If you absolutely have to come on a weekend, either arrive before 5pm on Friday and then leave after 2pm on Sunday or else you will hit massive traffic if you have to travel in or out through Pigeon Forge. More traffic tips can be seen at our sister Pigeon Forge website as well. Even if you hit traffic, the leaves, events, activities, weather, etc make for one incredible visit. Besides…sitting in traffic just means you get to look at more leaves!