In Sevierville, the leaves are at or slightly past peak at the mid elevations from 3,000-5,000 feet. Impressive they most certainly are. We’re talking about red leaves that haven’t shown this much color in years, especially the North Carolina portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Trees in the highest of elevations are now considered past peak and look accordingly.
In the Smoky Mountains’ lower elevations, the color is there and coming into its own. A week after seeing the first frost of the season usually gets those leaves changing color rather quickly and its done that here. Tree species like the black gum, dogwood, sumac, and sourwood are showing redder than trees. Meanwhile, the tuliptrees, black walnuts, birch, beech, spicebush, and hickories are taking on a more golden hue. Taking in the time of year, the current weather conditions, etc., expect color to stay in area through early November if the weather keeps up its current pace.
While fall colors have past their peak in the high elevations, and many trees have already shed their leaves, the mid-level species are continuing to radiate bright hues and show spectacular fall color. Oak trees are just beginning to come out of their shell, with maple, hickory, and other trees offering up their brightest sides. Green has all but disappeared in the middle elevations. We’re not saying there aren’t a few trees hanging on, but good luck finding many of them.
If you’re wanting to get out and see some of the best fall color in the Smoky Mountains, make sure a trip down Newfound Gap Road is in your travel itinerary, or try the Blue Ridge Parkway traveling east to Asheville, NC, the Foothills Parkway East & West in Blount County, and Heintooga Ridge Road to Balsam Mountain Campground. If hiking is more your flavor, get out to Cades Cove and try the Rich Mountain Road Loop, Chestnut Top Trail, Smokemont Loop, Kanati Fork, and Sutton Ridge Overlook on the Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail.