The Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association has Fall Color and late season Wildflower Updates
Although it’s only mid-September, spots and splashes of fall color are beginning to appear in the Great Smoky Mountains. At the lower elevations, early changers like black gum, Virginia creeper, and sourwood are showing bright reds.
At the mid elevations, yellow buckeyes are shifting toward gold while yellow birch, American beech, and some maples are showing hints of color.At the highest elevations, fall has arrived. American mountain-ash has changed to orange or yellow and witch-hobble has gone to burgundy.
Wildflowers continue to be spectacular with jewelweed, goldenrod, New York ironweed, cardinal flower and great blue lobelia putting on a brilliant show.
Recommended hikes include Clingmans Dome Tower, Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald, Road Prong, Thomas Divide, and Charlies Bunion. Good drives are the Blue Ridge Parkway, Balsam Mountain Road, and Clingmans Dome Road.
Maddron Bald (Beginning-Gabes Mountain Trail) – White Snakeroot, Early Goldenrod, Great Lobelia (really nice ones), and White Top Asters.
Gabes Mountain (Beginning-End) – Mountain Gentian, Early Goldenrod, Black Cohosh, Pink Turtleheads, White Top Aster, White Snakeroot, Pale Jewelweed*, Curtis Aster, Spotted Jewelweed (1), and Great Lobelia. * On two switch backs around two and a half miles from Cosby the Pale Jewelweeds are tremendous – stretching from the trail for a long distance up the side of the ridge – well worth the hike in there to see them – most of the plants are from four to five feet tall.