A long stretch of nearly perfect sunny days and cool nights is the catalyst for a spectacular late October fall color show in the Great Smoky Mountains. Right now colors are at or near peak at many locations in the Smokies. They are at peak at elevations above 3,500 feet throughout the park and on sunny ridges where early-changing trees like sourwood, blackgum, dogwood, and chestnut oak predominate. At the lower elevations of the park some trees are still green, but colors should peak over the next 10 days.
Little River and Laurel Creek roads have excellent color right now. Cades Cove is surrounded by mountains that are nearly at peak. If you want to beat the crowds and enjoy fall splendor, try the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Foothills Parkway East and West, Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain roads, and the Deep Creek and Greenbrier areas of the park. Suggested hikes include Little River Trail, Deep Creek Trail, Abrams Falls, Smokemont Loop, and Hen Wallow Falls.
October 15 & 16 from Tom Harrington
Metcalf Bottoms Trail (Beginning to End) – Appears that foliage is changing rapidly and nearing their peak. There is not a lot of vivid colored foliage.
Walker Sisters Cabin (Beginning to End) – Appears that the foliage is changing colors quickly and nearing their peak. Much of the foliage is somewhat drab.
Little Brier Gap (Beginning to End) – Foliage appears to be close to being at its peak in colors. first part of the trail does not have much bright colors, but the last portion has some nice foliage color. It does appear to be at its peak.
Little Greenbrier (Beginning to End) – Fantastic colorful foliage especially between Little Brier Gap and the Laurel Falls Trail. It should soon be at its peak showing if not there already. This would be a great trail to send visitors on to see nice foliage if it is a clear day. The last 2.4
miles has the most vivid display. This trail would give New England a run for its money at this time.
Little River Road (From Metcalf Bottoms to the Wye) – Very beautiful foliage at this time especially between Metcalf Bottoms and the Sinks. I would consider the foliage at its peak. Between the Sinks and the Wye it looks as if some of the foliage has been blown from the trees.
Laurel Creek Road (Beginning to End) In full sun amazingly beautiful especially from the Wye to about a mile east of School House Gap Trail. Foliage appears to be at peak and in some sections just beyond peak. Our visitors should be delighted.
Cades Cove Loop Road (Beginning to End) – Colors are more subdued than either Little River or Laurel Creek Road; however some of the Sour Wood, Black Gum, Sweet Gum, Dogwood and Hickory have really nice colorful foliage. A visitor told me that the colors on the Rich Mountain Road are very nice.
Crib Gap is not at peak yet.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 18, 2012
Great Smoky Mountains Fall Color Updates 10/18/12