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:
Locations to Enjoy the Fall Color in Alabama and Mississippi:
Color Report for November 6, 2015
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 a few shades of fall from milepost 304.5 north.
South of Tupelo, MS (milepost 266) to north of Jackson, MS (milepost 100) color quality and intensity vary greatly. There is a possibility that colors could reach peak in about one week. The storms that have blown through the area the last week and one half have had a negative impact on the leaves and many trees have lost a large of amount of leaves before significant color change took place.
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 21, 2015
Color Report for October 8, 2015