• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

October 2, 2012 Photographs

Fall colors are nearing peak at the park's highest elevations and fall wildflowers are blooming profusely. Check out a few images from the park this week.

 
Yellow and gold fall colors surround the road on Highway US-441 near the crest of the mountains at Newfound Gap.
Yellow and gold fall colors are set off nicely against the dark green of spruce trees near the crest of the mountains on US-441.
 
Fall colors and distant mountains as viewed from Newfound Gap.
The view from the Newfound Gap parking lot on October 2, 2012.
 
Fields of yellow goldenrod flowers color the valley floor in Cades Cove while blue-hued mountains rise in the background.
In Cades Cove, yellow goldenrod flowers brighten the valley floor.
Warren Bielenberg Photo
 
A painted lady butterfly on purple aster blooms.
Fall wildflowers attract numerous butterflies. Here, a painted lady butterfly samples a purple aster for nectar.
Gordon Ritter Photo
 
A mason bee inspects a pale jewelweed flower.
Pale jewelweed blooms along roads and trails throughout the park from summer through early fall.
Walter Hedge Photo
 
Trees with golden-colored autumn leaves line Walker Camp Prong river near Newfound Gap.
Trees along Walker Camp Prong give a golden hue to the forest. The river can be seen from a pull-off along US-441 near the crest of the mountains.
Photo courtesy of Rob Wilson, Artist-in-Residence.
 
The colorful head and neck of a Wild Turkey.
Autumn leaves aren't the only colorful things in the park this week! This male Wild Turkey is a riot of colors. Although turkeys mate in spring, males often display at other times of the year and lately one male has been strutting around the lawn of Sugarlands Visitor Center.
Kent Cave Photo
 

Did You Know?

Eastern Pipistrelle bat

A nursing female bat can eat her weight in mosquito-sized insects each night. More...