• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

    Parkway AL,MS,TN

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    Part of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (NOT the Parkway) near Tupelo, MS, has been closed until 2015 due to construction under Tupelo's Major Thoroughfare Construction Project. Parkway travelers may expect delays, but no detours are expected. More »

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 22, 2013 Final Report of 2013

Fall colors are currently at, near, or past their peak from Jackson, MS (milepost 100), south to Natchez, MS (milepost 0), and provide the final opportunity to see fall colors this season along the Parkway.

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

Please check back next fall for updated color reports.

Color Report for November 15, 2013

Leaves are falling rapidly along the majority of the Parkway.

The best place to see fall colors this week along the Parkway will be from Natchez (milepost 0), north to Clinton, MS (milepost 89). In the Natchez area, colors are at 30-40% of peak color. From Clinton, MS (milepost 89) north, colors are near, at, or just past peak. As you travel north through Mississippi, into Alabama (milepost 309) there are still spots of color to enjoy. However, in Tennessee (mileposts 342-444) leaves are past peak and falling rapidly.

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

Color Report for November 8, 2013

Fall colors have peaked in Tennessee (milepost 341-444), and are beginning to decline. Due to recent rains, leaves are starting to fall, but there are still opportunities to see some patches of color.

From Jeff Busby (milepost 193.1) to Tupelo, MS (milepost 266), colors are at, near, or just past peak.

From Jackson, MS (milepost 100) to Jeff Busby (milepost 193.1), colors are at 50-75 % of peak color. Trees are just starting to show color from Natchez (milepost 0) to Jackson (milepost 100), with about 10-25 % of peak color showing.

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

Color Report for November 1, 2013

The colors changed dramatically along the Parkway this week. From the Tennessee state line (milepost 341.8) north to the terminus, colors are at or near peak. There are vibrant oranges of the maples and bright reds of the sumac, amongst a backdrop of yellows and golds.

From the Alabama state line (milepost 309) north to the Tennessee state line trees are about 70-80 % of peak color.

From the Jeff Busby site (milepost 193.1) north to Tupelo, MS (milepost 266) colors are about 50-60 % of their peak. The hickories are a gorgeous yellow, and the dogwoods a deep purple.

From Kosciusko, MS (milepost 160) north to the Jeff Busby site (milepost 193.1), trees are about 40-50 % of peak color.

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

Color Report for October 25, 2013

Colors are at about 50% of their peak near the Meriwether Lewis Site (milepost 385.9). There are bright reds and deep purples of the dogwood, as well as the bright oranges and vibrant yellows of the sweet gum.

From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3), north into Tennessee, colors are about 25% of their peak. Near Tupelo, MS (milepost 266), there are a few pockets of red and gold showing through the green. The fall colors are just starting at about 5% 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.

Color Report for October 18, 2013

Fall colors are beginning to show from the Meriwether Lewis Site (milepost 385.9) north to the terminus. Trees are at about 45% of their peak color, with varying hues of red and gold vying for attention. The deep purple dogwoods are sprinkled throughout the landscape.

From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee, the colors are just beginning, with a hint of color among the mostly green foliage.

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

Did You Know?

The view from Little Mountain, one of the highest points along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The terrain along the Natchez Trace Parkway changes from 70 to 1,100 feet in elevation and passes through 5 degrees of latitude.