Fall Color Update for the Smoky Mountains

October 13, 2014

After a cold spell hit the Smokies during the first weekend of October, Newfound Gap and Clingmans Dome are boasting vivid reds and yellows! The cold spell, however, also brought some high winds, so many of the leaves along the last half of Clingmans Dome Road fell. Higher elevations are still showing a good amount of green, so that means there’s a chance for much more color throughout the coming weeks of fall!

Waiting on the low elevations

While the higher elevations are beginning to change, the lower elevations still have several weeks before they transform. The lower elevations require colder nights and drier days before the reds, yellows, and oranges really start to show more. There are some reds in the lower elevations by way of the dogwoods, sourwoods, and maples. The Virginia Creeper vine is also joining in, adding pops of red along the tree trunks in lower and middle elevations. And even if you don’t see a lot of changing leaves, several fall wildflowers – asters and goldenrods – are blooming right now.

Smoky Mountains color in middle October

Typically, mid-October brings the beginning of lower elevation changes in the Smokies. How warm and dry the days in the Smoky Mountains are will determine how long and intense the fall colors are. The valleys are starting to show reds through black gum, dogwood, sumac, and sourwood; golds shine from tulip trees, black walnuts, birches, beeches, and hickories. If the Smokies experience several warm and sunny days, along with cool, crisp nights, we should be lucky enough to see a really amazing fall color display. Already, some areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are boasting more color than in previous years!

Colors in late October
Later this month, the fall colors at the middle elevations should be really impressive. The highest elevations will be past peak, but color in the lower elevations should be moving along quickly. Some colors may even last through part of November, so really anytime this fall is a wonderful time to visit the Smokies!

Fall color webcams
If you want to see the change for yourself, check out the webcams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Purchase Knob or Look Rock. Purchase Knob is set at a high elevation and Look Rock at a middle elevation. Both provide an even more interactive fall color update!


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