Fall Colors starting in the Great Smoky Mountains
Its beginning to look like Fall across the Great Smoky Mountains. Colors are starting to turn in the high elevations and its shaping up to be an early color season with one that promisies to have bright vivid yellows, reds, and oranges!
High elevations are expected to reach their peak the first weekend of October. Areas such as Mt LeConte, Clingmans Dome, Mt Cammerer, Mt Guyot, and Mt Kephart will all be looking their best on the tops. Great hikes to see the best colors will be to start at NewFound Gap and head out on the Appalachian Trail to Charlie’s Bunion. Views from here are breathe taking anytime of year but will be especially beautiful during peak color season. Another staff favorite is to hike from Clingmans Dome and drop off down Forney Creek to Fontana Lake.
Mid elevations will peak colors by the second weekend of October. If temperatures drop or we see a little bit of rain this could be earlier, possibly mid week of the second week. Places like Maddron Bald, Mt Cammerer, Shuckstack, and Lonesome Pine will all be looking their best. Favorite hikes this time of year are hands down Shuckstack Fire Tower. Start just past Fontana Dam and head up Shuckstack Trail. Some of the most dramatic views in the Smokies can be found from the firetower itself. Another staff favorite is to start at Deep Creek from the horse trailer parking and head up the Noland Divide trail to Lonesome Pine Overlook. Outstanding views and solitude reward those willing to make the uphill pull.
Lower elevations will see peak colors around the third week of October. This is where you can see some of the most dramatic variations and brightest colors. Hardwood forests of Oaks, Maple, Cherry and Hickory create a palate of every color imaginable. Some of our favorite hikes this time of year will be the Little River Trail to Husky Branch Falls, Deep Creek to Indian Creek Falls, and Porters Creek Trail to the old Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin.
Do you ever wonder which trees turn what colors?
- Tulip Poplar: golden yellow
- Birch: bright yellow
- Black Cherry: yellow
- Dogwood: deep red
- Sourwood: brick red
- Shining Sumac: red
- Hickories: golden-bronze
- Oaks: red, brown, or russet
- Sugar Maple: orange-red
- Black Maple: glowing yellow
- Red Maple: bright scarlet or orange
Fall Fly Fishing
Fall is one of the most pleasurable times to Fly Fish in the Great Smoky Mountains. You really can’t go wrong this year in terms of best location. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will have the Tennessee side of the Smokies full of wild trout. Some of the most breath taking scenery and trout are on the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains. The Bryson City and Cherokee region has even more to choose from. The North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains offers miles of wild trout streams inside the park, along with the phenomenal Tuckasegee River and the Cherokee Trophy Section. Of course there is the holy grail of trout streams in Bryson City too, the legendary Hazel Creek! Guests staying near Maggie Valley and Waynesville will have their region of the Smokies plus the West Fork of the Pigeon River. You simply cannot go wrong for fishing this time of year!
Get your vacations planned, and your cabins and fishing trips booked early this year. Space is filling up fast!
We’ll see you on the water!