[ Outdoor Adventures ]

Fall Foliage in Tennessee a Sight to See

Discover Fall in Pigeon Forge. The beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains is hard to describe with words, but the splendor of the reds, yellows and oranges that paint the mountains of the areas is breathtakingly beautiful, and experiencing them is a great way to welcome the Fall season.

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The Autumn colors usually peak during the last three weeks of October. The altitude of the mountains affects the foliage schedule, of course. Above 4,000 feet the colors peak about a week earlier than the colors in the foothills. Great color can be found just about anywhere in the Great Smoky Mountains, but the area around the Sugarlands Visitor Center is known for its great reds and yellows on its sugar maples and the roads between Gatlinburg and Cades Cove provides plenty of miles of pleasing color.

Auto tours are a good way to experience the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains this fall as there are a half-million acres to explore. Some of the top rated auto tours include routes from Gatlinburg to the Roaring Fork Motor Trail (10 miles); the Blue Ridge Parkway of Cherokee, North Carolina to Balsam Mountain( 48 miles); and Townsend, Tennessee to Cades Cove (65 miles). To view the autumnal colors of the Smokies by foot, hikes at the Sutton Ridge Overlook, Oconaluftee River Trail, Look Rock Tower, Appalachian Trail and Inspiration Point on Alum Cave Trail are recommended.

One of the reasons the fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountains are so beautiful is because of the diversity of the trees found in the park. Some of the native trees providing color include the sweetgum tree. These trees are usually found in the lower elevations and offer brilliant reds, purples, and yellows. Dogwoods are another favorite offering deep reds. They can be found most places below 3,000 feet. The red maple not only gives us beautiful reds, but also yellows. The park has many large red maple trees and can be found in most areas of the park. The sugar maple produces yellows and oranges in fall colors and can be found at 4,000 feet and below. The scarlet oak offers up a fantastic scarlet color and can be found in the lower elevations of the park. Other trees providing color include American beech, yellow birch, mountain maple and pin cherry.

This spectacular time of year is best shared with friends and family. Plan a trip to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg in order to experience the splendor of autumn in the Smokies.

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