Just because it’s late October, doesn’t mean the fall color is rapidly disappearing in the Smokies. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Some places in the lower elevations are just beginning to see peak color.
Mid elevations, from 3,000-5,000 feet, are still impressive, but are at or slightly past peak. Expect to see your fair share of reds this year especially compared to years past. In the national park’s very highest elevations (above 5,500) fall color is now past peak and the best hiking – scenery wise, is also behind us.
Hiking and getting out into nature to see the fall colors is at a high point in the lower elevations of the Smoky Mountains right now. Fall foliage is quickly developing or has developed. With the first frost of the season already having come and gone, most of the trees should be in the process of changing color if they haven’t already. Dogwood and sourwood trees, among others are showing out right now in hot red. Hickories, beech, birch and black walnut are taking on a more golden look this fall. All of this is good news, because it means that fall could very likely spill into early November here in the Smokies and last a few days longer.
What everyone should be hoping for at the moment is that the weather keeps trending like it is. Mild days, cool, crisp nights are what makes for a long, vibrant fall.
As mentioned, tree species located in the middle elevations are still showing quite a bit of color and make for some great day hikes/adventures. Color is just beginning to show out in the oak trees. Maples, hickories, and other trees are still showing vibrant colors at mid level. Though there aren’t many, a few left over green trees can still be spotted in the middle to lower elevations. But, as the days peel off the calendar new color is going to appear few and far between, but isn’t unlikely due to the weather conditions.
A few places to view the fall foliage: Take a trip down Newfound Gap Road, or drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Foothills Parkway East & West going to or from Maryville and Townsend, TN. For all you avid hikers out there, the Rich Mountain Road Loop just outside of Cades Cove is a great little hike and you won’t see vistas, or views any better anywhere in the national park.