We are hoping for BIG Orange color this year. It is just starting at Meriwether Lewis with a bit of yellows and a smidgen of oranges and reds. Tupelo area only has a slight blush, and Mount Locust is still Emerald Mound green.
It's still rather early in the fall color season here on the Parkway. The leaves up in Tennessee around Meriwether Lewis are at about 5% of their peak color with the incoming cold front likely to bring more color changes during this next week. The fall colors around Tupelo are at less than 5% of their peak and there is a hint of color on the trees around Ridgeland but not enough for a percentage. The leaves around Mount Locust are falling but not currently changing color.
Good news for the trees is that they are staying green a long time. The north end of the parkway is still mostly green with a few color changes, mostly yellows. The area may be a little over 5% changed.
The happy green trees around Tupelo, MS, are starting to blush yellow, but still are less than 5% changed.
Alabama and Tennessee: As of today fall colors are showing on about 75%-80% of the trees. Last night's cold snap may hurry the colors along. This would be a great week for leaf peeping on the north end of the Parkway.
Central area - Alabama south to around Kosciusko: Near Tupelo, the colors are between 50% -60% and less as you go south. The oaks are starting to join in the change. There was frost in the northern part of Mississippi, so the leaves will make up their minds to put on their fall outfits.
From Jackson, MS, south to Natchez, MS: It's still pretty green around Mount Locust, with a smattering of yellow. The trees will soon find out that it isn't easy being green. They are starting to put on their reds, and oranges in the Jackson area, but have a long way to go.
For the most part the trees have shed their leaves and entered winter dormancy.
Mount Locust still has bronzes and yellows.
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.