Fall colors are starting to hit their stride in the East, with colorful displays from Acadia National Park down into Alabama and Mississippi. If you live in the South, a ride along the Natchez Trace Parkway will offer you a kaleidoscope of fall foliage.
The Parkway runs from Tennessee down through Alabama and into Mississippi, offering more than a few spots for motorists to get on for a ride through the spectacular colors. According to park staff, "in middle to late October, the maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees begin to change colors and visitors have the opportunity to view the brilliant fall foliage along the Natchez Trace Parkway."
At the same time, they note that it's impossible to predict the peak time to see colors along the Parkway. With that said, park officials offer the following locations and reports that might help you plan your trip:
Locations to Enjoy the Fall Color in Tennessee
The Old Trace Drive (milepost 375.8) provides spectacular overlooks of a hardwood forest.
Metal Ford (milepost 382.8) and Swan View Overlook (milepost 392.5) provide quick stops to view the fall colors.
Leisurely walks at Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) or Fall Hollow (milepost 391.9) are great locations to enjoy the colors.
Those interested in seeing the colors more closely may find a day hike along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail from the Garrison Creek Trailhead (milepost 427.6), or the Old Trace Trailhead (milepost 426.3) a rewarding experience.
Locations to Enjoy the Fall Color in Alabama and Mississippi
The Freedom Hills Overlook (milepost 317.0) provides a spectacular overlook of a hardwood forest.
A short leisurely walk on the Rock Spring Nature Trail is an easy way to get out and see the colors more closely.
The view from Little Mountain Overlook in the Jeff Busby Campground (milepost 193.1), provides a wonderful quick stop to view the fall colors.
Those interested in seeing the colors more closely may find a day hike along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail from the Old Town Overlook Trailhead (milepost 263.9), or the Beech Springs Trailhead (milepost 266.0) a rewarding experience.
In their "color report" for October 3, Parkway officials noted that "Fall colors are just beginning to show from the Meriwether Lewis Site (milepost 385.9) north to the terminus. Trees are at about 20-25 percent of their peak color, with deep purple dogwood and dark red sumac beginning to show through the green.
From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee, the colors are just beginning, with a hint of color among the mostly green foliage."
Finally, remember that Fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color will vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Parkway.