Thursday, October 25, 2007

2007 Fall Leaf Season Peak in the Smoky Mountains to start this weekend

The Smoky Mountains leaves has been changing from dark greens to yellows and reds for the past month ushering in the peak leaf season and bringing in hundreds of thousands of leaf watchers a week to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Peak leaf season in the Smokies should last for weeks deep into November and the colors worth the trip.

I have watched the all the leaves of a tree that were dark green turn into the same bright yellow color in the past 3 days. I have logged in almost 1,000 miles in the past week traveling all throughout the Smokies to observe the changes and watch the fall colors spread across and down the Smoky Mountains. What were only isolated patches of colored autumn leaves is now bursting forth as riots of colored leaves in the trees and bushes all throughout the Smokies.

This year's unusual weather in the Smokies has fall leaf aficionados scratching their heads. Some trees turned colors very early and are some cases such as poplars and a few maple trees the leaves had little vibrant colors other than tans, dark yellows and browns. Now it seems someone has turned up the volume as colors are bursting for the everywhere!

Dogwoods and some bushes in the mountains and valleys of the Smoky Mountains have show flame reds as early as the first week in September and are still hanging on in most of the Smokies.

What is clear is that the peak season won't just be for a week or 2 with one short burst of colored leaves, but with colors maybe not as brilliant as some years but with busts lasting weeks.

fall colors in the Smoky Mountains

This picture was taken a week ago in the Roaring Fork section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg Tennessee on the hiking trail leading up to Rainbow Falls. This was the first example of vibrant colors that started to show in maple tree leaves. Now the maple trees are starting the heavier pinks, reds and yellows and the best is yet to come!

Fall colors in the oak trees are just starting to kick in as well. Normally every leaf on the tree will change colors in one heavy burst of color but this year it seems more drawn out with deeply colored leaves and green leaves on the same tree.

What I love right now is that you can see great fall colors right now and still get to have that green feeling with plenty of fully green leafed trees further enhancing the colors of the leaved that are putting on their annual fall show of color.

Plenty of color can be found in the high altitudes around Clingmans Dome and all through out the Newfound Gap Road (441) from North Carolina all the way through to Tennessee.

Make use of the pullouts along the side of Newfound Gap Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to photograph the colors and the clouds coming up through the trees that give the Smoky Mountains their name. The colored leaves mixed in with the green leaves makes for a great color contrast in any landscape pictures you take in the next few weeks.

Areas such as Cades Cove TN are great for taking a leisurely ride or pictures with rolling fields with deer scampering around ending in a wooded tree line and surrounded by the Smoky Mountains with splashes of color everywhere. Early morning from 8:00 - 9:30 or afternoons from 6:00 pm on is best for observing animals and the lighting is great for pictures.

Plenty of animals and birds can be seen throughout the park but be advised that this is bear season with the black bear in the Smoky Mountains being very active. Just follow the black bear safety rules and you will be fine - and maybe get the picture of a lifetime!

While it is more crowded in the Smoky Mountains during leaf season than most other times, it is not unbearable. Although traffic can move slowly in hot areas such as Cades Cove Tennessee, the Pigeon Forge Parkway or at the Biltmore in Asheville North Carolina, it is worth every moment that you spend here in the Smoky Mountains during the best of the fall colors.

Here is a great way to see what is happening with the colors in the trees throughout the Smokies, take a look at our Smoky Mountains Web Cam page!

Smoky Mountains leaf season as a must see for anyone who enjoys the colors of autumn and there are still cabins available for rent in the Smokies and hotel and motel rooms to be had so what are you waiting for?

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