If “October” and “travel” are in the same story, odds are good that it’s an article about the best places to see fall foliage. Of course, to those of us with birds perpetually on the brain, October is the conclusion of fall migrant season. With that in mind, I got to wondering about the best national park to maximize migrant-watching and leaf-peeping in one trip.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Visitors come to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for many reasons. They want to hike the more than 70 miles of the rugged Appalachian Trail that meander through the park, to camp in its dense forests, to cool off in one of its many streams, or to take a leisurely drive along the scenic Newfound Gap Road that crosses the heart of the park to connect Tennessee with North Carolina. Regardless of the reason, they come—in droves. Every year, 8-10 million people travel to the Smokies, making it the most-visited national park in the country.
Throughout the fall there are many reasons to visit your national parks. Here’s a look at some of those excuses to hit the road...if you really need one! For more details on a specific event, check the individual park’s website.
An area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been closed to the public through next March to ease the stresses on hibernating bats.
Fewer than 12 months separate the National Park Service's 99th birthday and its 100th. What happens over the course of the next year will go a far way to determining if it will be a happy birthday or not.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society, will offer a 2 ½-hour stargazing program in Cades Cove on September 19 beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Harvesttime can't be far off, as the annual Mountain Life Festival is coming to the Mountain Farm Museum at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on September 19.
Here's your quick cheat sheet to five of the best units in the National Park System for finding wildlife this fall.
Graffiti in national parks is not necessarily a recent problem, and while it did receive national attention a year ago with the "art" left on park landscapes by a woman known as "creepytings," it continues to be a problem. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, graffiti most recently has marred the Lakeview Drive tunnel.
National parks actually glow in autumn. From the fluttering gold of aspens and larch in the parks along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to the oranges, yellows and reds of the hardwood forests that cover Eastern parks and even on the Southwest’s sandstone, fall is the season of incandescence in the park system. Where do you find these rainbows? Here’s your guide to the "best bets" for fall color in the National Park System.