Fall Foliage

Great Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage 2014

10/27/2014 Fall Foliage Report and Update:

This week will be peak fall foliage in the mid elevations of 1500 – 2500 ft. The colors are spreading down the mountains and into the lower elevations and valleys. The Great Smoky Mountains for the remaining last few days  of October will be beautiful with all the red, yellow, purple and gold colors. A drive through Cades Cove is a great place to go this last week in October, and Little River Gorge Rd between Townsend and Gatlinburg is pretty. Good hikes to take to view the fall foliage would be Abrams Falls, Rainbow Falls, or any trail in Cades Cove, and Alum Cave off US 441. Due to the  different elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains and the long distance views from the overlooks anywhere you go will still  be beautiful now until the first of November.

The sunny days have made the fall foliage show this year slow to progress but the colder temperatures expected by this weekend with  frost and freezing night time temperatures may bring the show to a halt if the freeze causes the leaves to quickly fall off. November is almost here along with the holiday season!

Links to Web Cams showing fall foliage: Purchase Knob live view and Look Rock live view. Enjoy!

10/11/2014 Fall Foliage Report and Update:

The Great Smoky Mountains fall foliage show is slow to progress this year. Peak weeks are  behind about a week when compared to past years.  At the highest elevations over 4,000 ft there is  color change with some nice gold and red showing. Peak is expected to be during the week of October 13, 2014 in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains. Visit the higher elevations of Clingmans Dome or take a ride on US441 through the Great Smoky Mountains for best viewing. Also a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway will have views of the higher and mid-level elevations. This week the best show of colors are at elevations above 3,500 feet.

Peak colors for mountain elevations 3000-4000 ft are expected to take place during the last two weeks of October and in elevations of 2000ft and lower peak will be late October or the first of November. The slow progression of color is expected to continue this week due to the warm weather.

Fall Foliage Video from 2014 of Great Smoky Mountains National Park…


Great Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage 2014 Video by the NPS…

Things to know about where to view the approaching fall foliage show in the Great Smoky Mountains

The highest elevations above 4,000 feet peak first about the first 2 weeks of October. Elevations in the 2000-3000 feet range peak about mid to late October or even early November. But the Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers such a large area of land there is always somewhere at peak or near peak. Great Smoky Mountain National Park mountain ranges have elevations from just over 875 feet to 6,643 feet. So a trip to view the fall color show anytime in October will reward you with a spectacular show of color.

Some popular spots to view the fall foliage show in the Great Smoky Mountains are:

Cades Cove
Foothills Parkway
Cataloochee (elevation of 5,400 feet)
Mt. LeConte (elevation of 6,593 feet and the third highest summit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
Clingman Dome (elevation of 6,643 feet and the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
Newfound Gap Road  (elevation of 5,048 feet)
Blue Ridge Parkway


iStock 000011187931XSmall 150x150 Fall FoliageThe changes start at the higher elevations (above 4,000 ft.) about the middle of October and will work its way down to the lower elevations in late October to early November. Best places to see color are: Newfound Gap Road, Cades Cove Loop Road and Little River Road. Great hikes to see the show are: Albright Grove and Sugarland Mountain Trail and Andrews Bald or Mt. LeConte at the highest elevations.

Due to the varied elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains  you can always find the best show of color somewhere in the fall months starting in late September, October and lasting through November. The biggest factors involved in the changing colors of the foliage are elevation and weather. The warmer the weather the slower the progression but an early frost will speed up the color change show.


The typical best times to plan a trip to view Tennessee’s peak fall foliage would be:

● Northeastern Mountain Regions – First of October to mid October
● Color Across Middle and Western Tennessee – Peaks from East to West Mid October to Late November


The typical best times to plan a trip to view North Carolina’s peak fall foliage would be:

● Western North Carolina Highest Elevations (above 4,000 ft) – (Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Boone, Blowing Rock, Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell)- Late September to First 2 weeks of October
● Western North Carolina – Asheville area ( 2,000-3,000 ft)-2nd or 3rd week of  October
● Western to Central North Carolina – Mid October to Late October
● Central North Carolina – Late October to Early November


Fall foliage and the effects of elevation:

Normally about the very last of September or the first or second week of October the leaves start changing in the highest elevations (above 5000 feet). The second to third week elevations above 4000 feet start the change. Mid October the show is well underway and include the 3000-4000 feet elevation areas. By late October and early November the lower elevations of 1300 feet are changing. By the second week in November the peak season and the show is all but past for the mountain regions of North Carolina and Tennessee.


A General Guide to the Fall Foliage Season for the Great Smoky Mountains

October 4-10

North of Asheville in North Carolina in the highest elevations above 5,000 feet is where the fall foliage show begins and is where the most color typically occurs. These areas include Mount Mitchell, Craggy Gardens, Grandfather Mountain and Rough Ridge.

October 8-18
Fall foliage color will then start to appear in elevations greater than 4,000 feet. Areas including the Mount Pisgah, Black Balsam, Devil’s Courthouse, Waterrock Knob and Graveyard Field.  Peak color also occurs in  this time period for the Highlands area, including Whiteside Mountain and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

October 15-24
In the surrounding mountains of Asheville there is plenty of color in the 3,000-4,000 foot elevation range. A ride north or south on the Blue Ridge  Parkway from Asheville will be a beautiful site about this week. A ride thru the Pisgah National Forest (Looking Glass Rock or Cradle of Forestry) normally is a great trip. North of Asheville Linville Gorge (Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain) would be a nice fall foliage hiking trip.

October 20-30
The city of Asheville  at the 2,000 feet elevation have the peak colors during this time period, as well as areas around Hendersonville and Brevard. DuPont State Forest or the NC Arboretum are great places to enjoy the fall foliage colors. The Biltmore Estate in Ashville is also at peak leaf color during the later part of October.

October 24-November 5
The color show nears its end in the Chimney Rock area with an elevation of 1,300 feet. Visit Chimney Rock and Lake Lure for a last look at the beautiful fall foliage season in the North Carolina mountains for 2013.


If you miss the fall foliage show this autumn the good news is you can catch it next year

since it happens every fall in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains!

Photos from past fall foliage seasons in the Great Smoky Mountains.


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