Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Smoky Mountains leaf season to run early and short for 2007

One of the busiest tourist seasons for the Smoky Mountains is leaf season when people come to see the fall colors as they sweep through the Smoky Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Since there are no less than 108 species of trees represented in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you are sure to see wild pallets of colors as each species of tree will change into a different color at a different time. Add in elevation changes of more than almost 5,000 feet in the park alone and you have a leaf season that is more spectacular and varied and last longer than most other regions in the Unites States.

Smoky Mountains fall colors

Unfortunately the weather in the Smoky Mountains has not been very cooperative for a long leaf season this year due to extremely light rainfall. Sure it was great that you could hike in the Smokies and drive with less rain and mud, but higher moisture content in the leaves means brighter colors and longer life expectancy for each individual leaf.

In the past 3 weeks I can clearly see the lightening of dark green foliage and random burst of red, yellow and orange in the trees already. At the present it feels as though the leaves are about a week or so ahead of schedule and the weather in the Smokies is fabulous.

Smoky Mountains fall colors

Above you see a picture I took yesterday on my property in Sevierville Tennessee of the colors already changing and it looks to me that by mid October we will all be experiencing a riot of colors here.

The peak of the leaf season in the Smoky Mountains varies by attitude and moisture content of the leaves. Higher elevations in North Carolina will be the first to see the color changes and peak leaf season with lower elevations in North Carolina and Tennessee to follow.

For years I have told everyone who asked about the best time to come to be sure to catch the most color in the leaves and my answer is October to early November but if you are disappointed in the leaves colors right in front of you, you are only a short drive to another section of the Smokies where the leaves colors may be more to your liking.

If you are too early to catch the peak of the leaf season, enjoy the beautiful greens and light yellows and splashes of red. If you are to late for the peak of the leaf colors you end up missing the crowds and will usually get a cheaper rate on your hotel or cabin rental in the Smoky Mountains.

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