The Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina, are the most popular National Park in the United States. Autumn is a time when leaves change colors as a result of stopping their intake of chlorophyll and become all kinds of bright red, orange, yellow, brown and, in some cases, purples. When you combine these two facts together, it becomes little wonder that Fall in the Smoky Mountains is one of our most popular tourism times on the calendar.
Each Fall is a bit different, but it’s usually towards the last couple weeks of October that we see its peak in color. This season is a bit different even from that as we had record-breaking high temperatures all throughout September and we’re waiting on that major cold snap that shifts the color change into overdrive.
We have a colder snap coming this weekend which may help the cholorphyll begin its changes. As there are changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor.
We also have not had noticeable rainfall in months which also makes something of a difference to how the colors will play out. Part of this has even inspired the reason why Sevier County is changing up its tradition of having Winterfest start a week and a half after Halloween and starting Winterfest, instead, on November 22nd for 2019. This gives us another 2 weeks of Autumn season to enjoy the colors with!
Either way, we will get our Autumn peak of colors here soon enough. Here is a wonderfully put together online Fall Foliage prediction map that shows a prediction of color progress here and throughout the rest of the United States: https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/. We recommend color watchers bookmark that link.
It won’t be too far away, and remember that part of what makes the Autumn colors fun is watching their progress go along. It’s not always the destination, a lot of times it’s the journey as well!