National Park

See fall colors in Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee

It’s almost peak leaf time in the Great Smoky Mountains.

From vibrant reds to brilliant browns, the stunning display of fall colors in the Smokies typically peaks around this time or shortly after, starting at the highest elevations and working its way down.

Knox News visited the Smokies this week for a sneak peek at what will be another beautiful fall color landscape in the mountains.

The exact “peak” of fall colors is impossible to predict, but we’re getting closer. Your best bet is to visit the mountains during the last weeks of October.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its stunning fall colors due to the more than 100 types of trees found there, including sugar maple, scarlet oak, and hickories.

The colors change first at the highest elevation points and down the mountains. The timing also depends on factors such as the weather.

“Fall foliage is most vibrant when temperatures are in the 70s during the day and drop into the 40s at night,” according to a fall foliage forecast from visitmysmokies.com.

Trees, including yellow birch, mountain maple, and pin cherry, change early.

For elevations above 4,000 feet, colors develop around mid-October, according to the National Park Service. Good vantage points include Clingmans Dome, Foothills Parkway or Blue Ridge Parkway.

For mid and lower elevations, colors are best from mid-October through early November, according to the National Park Service. This includes colorful trees like sweetgum and red maple.

There’s a reason fall is such a busy time in the Smokies: everyone wants to see the leaves! Expect traffic delays at popular viewpoints like Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road.

To make the most of the fall colors, the National Park Service recommends scenic drives on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway. He also suggests great hikes on the Appalachian Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, Look Rock Tower, Sutton Ridge Overlook, and Inspiration Point on the Alum Cave Trail.

For mid-October views, Visit Gatlinburg recommends trying easy to moderate hikes through hardwood forests, including Lower Mount Cammerer, Baskins Creek Falls, Little River, Old Settlers, and Porters Creeks Trails.

There are several webcams tracking the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, so you can check out what the leaves look like before you go. You can find them at visitmysmokies.com.