The Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association has a new Fall Color report for 10/12/12 at Fall Leaf Color Updates | Great Smoky Mountains Association:
Fall colors are now at their peak at the highest elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains. Birches, beeches, mountain maple, and other deciduous trees and shrubs are showing very good color above elevations of 4,000 feet. Good places to view the colors include Clingmans Dome Road, Newfound Gap Road, The Blue Ridge Parkway, and Balsam Mountain Road.
At the lower elevations the colors are coming on strong. Early changing species like blackgum, sourwood, dogwood, Virginia creeper, black walnut, and the sumacs are at peak. The birches and a few maples have also started to change. Little River Road is a beautiful drive right now. The peak of color at the lower elevations is predicted to occur in late October and early November.
Suggested trails and hiking destinations include the Appalachian Trail, Mt. Cammerer, Charlies Bunion, Sweat Heifer Creek, and upper Deep Creek.
In addition, bear, elk, and wild turkey are very conspicuous. Visitors should never approach or harass park wildlife. Approaching elk or bear closer than 50 yards is illegal and punishable by substantial fines and imprisonment.