• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

    Parkway AL,MS,TN

Fall Colors

Bright reds and oranges as the trees change on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The Old Trace Drive, at milepost 375.8 is a great place to see fall colors in mid to late October. 

NPS Image

Why do Leaves Change Colors?

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. Each fall, as sunlight decreases, it signals the plant to stop producing chlorophyll. The best conditions to create fall color are when the autumn days are mild and sunny, and the evenings are cool and crisp, but not freezing. Ideal foliage is sparked by a warm, wet spring, a typical summer, and sunny autumn days with cool nights. While it is impossible to predict the peak time to see colors along the Natchez Trace Parkway, the following locations and reports may 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.
 

Color Report for November 14, 2014

The best place to see fall colors this weekend will be from Tupelo, MS (milepost 266) south to Natchez, MS. Between Tupelo (milepost 266) and Jackson, MS (milepost 100), colors are at, near, or just past peak depending on the location. Leaves are starting to fall along the entire length of the Parkway, though there are still plenty of pockets of color along the way. The wind and rain have caused leaves to drop rapidly in Alabama and Tennessee, with less than 50 % of the trees still showing some colors. Near Natchez, MS the vibrant, red sumacs are showing their color, as the southern end of the Parkway begins its short fall color season.

Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color can vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Color Report for November 7, 2014

The fall colors are past their peak at the northern end of the Parkway in Alabama and Tennessee, but you still have the opportunity to see beautiful shades of fall from milepost 304.5 north. In Tennessee there is about 60 % to 70 % of the color there was last week, and Alabama still has about 75 % of the color it had last week.

South of Tupelo, MS (milepost 266) to north of Jackson, MS (milepost 100) colors can vary from 50 to 75 % of their peak color. Near Kosciusko, MS (milepost 160) colors are about 60 to 75 % of their peak color, with the possibility that the colors could reach peak in about one week.

Colors are just starting to show from Natchez, MS (milepost 1) to Jackson, MS (milepost 100), with colors ranging from 5 % to 40 % depending on location.

Almost anywhere you drive along the Parkway this weekend, you should be rewarded with some color. Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color can vary widely along the 444 mile length of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Color Report for October 31, 2014

The fall colors are at peak at the northern end of the Parkway from milepost 429 to the terminus. We expect the colors at Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) to peak soon-they are currently at about 95 % of peak color. From Tishomingo State Park (milepost 304.5 north through Alabama to the Tennessee State line, colors are about 75 % to 90 % of their peak. In Tupelo, MS at milepost 266 colors are about 30 % to 40 % of their peak.

This weekend may be the perfect time to see fall colors along the Parkway in Alabama and Tennessee. Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color can vary widely along the 444 mile length of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Color Report for October 27, 2014

The colors have progressed rapidly this week. Visitors will be rewarded with the bright oranges and vibrant yellows of the sweet gum and maple trees, as well as the reds and deep purples of the dogwood. Colors are at about 80 % of their peak from Leipers Fork (milepost 429) north to the terminus, and about 70-75 % of their peak near Meriwether Lewis.

Near the Mississippi and Alabama state line, colors are about 60 % of their peak color. In north Mississippi near Tupelo (milepost 266) colors are about 20-30 % of their peak.

This week might be a great time to go out and see the fall colors in Tennessee. Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color can vary widely along the 444 mile length of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Color Report for October 17, 2014

The fall colors are beginning to show from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 25% to 35% of their peak color. The bright oranges and vibrant yellows of the sweet gum are dotting the landscape. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 15 % of their full color.

Please remember that colors can change rapidly, and leaf color will vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Color Report for October 10, 2014

The dogwoods and other trees are just beginning to change along the Parkway in Tennessee. From Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) north to the terminus, colors are at about 10-20 % of their peak.

Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color will vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Parkway.

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