This is the most common question I get in my email:
When do the leaves change in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Many factors affect the change of the leaves and the intensity of the fall
foliage color. Sunlight,
elevation, precipitation, temperature, wind and many other
factors make it impossible to determine not only when the leaves will
change, but also where the color "hotspots" will be in any given
Please understand that the photos
posted here have been taken over a period of almost 30
years. There is not fabulous Autumn color every year. Very seldom is
the leaf color widespread both geographically and throughout the
elevations. Sometimes you have to hunt for that great Fall color
As a general rule,
please remember that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a
southern climate in the low regions and valleys, so don't expect too much
Autumn color there until late in October. Early to Mid October should produce color
above 5000 feet in elevation.
Early November is not too late for valley and cove
leaf color. This is a great time to get those shots of Fall leaves
combined with snow-topped mountains.
Fall also brings traffic and congestion to the
Smokies. Please be courteous and tolerant of the other
visitors. Get out and walk. Smell the fallen leaves!
Listen to the crunching under your feet. Sit on a boulder and watch
the leaves flutter into the rushing waters of a crystal clear
stream. Try to get a close-up view of one of our national treasures,
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park