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Ohotos of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Richard Weisser

When is the best time to see Autumn color and Fall leaves in the Smokies?
Read my fall color article on  About.com!

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When do the leaves change color in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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 year.

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 shot. 

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

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