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.
 

Final Fall Color for 2018, November 28, 2018
The fall colors are at their peak from the Ridgeland Mississippi area and the Ross Barnett Reservoir to the southern terminus near Natchez, MS. This is the last area in the park to see fall colors. The fall colors are past their peak from Jeff Busby Campground to the northern terminus at milepost 444. Some color is hanging on however the leaves are dropping quickly throughout the area.

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 November 21, 2018
The best place to see fall colors this holiday is between Kosciusko, MS to just south of Tupelo, MS. These colors are at their peak. The fall colors are showing around the Ridgeland Mississippi area and the Ross Barnett Reservoir. The fall color change in this area is roughly 30% of peak color.

The fall colors are past their peak from Tupelo, MS to the northern terminus at milepost 444. Some color is hanging on however the leaves are dropping quickly throughout the area.

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 November 14, 2018
The Tupelo, MS area up to Highway 64 in Tennessee is the best place to see fall colors this week. They are approaching peak colors, however due to storms and severe weather many of the leaves have been blown off the trees.

The fall colors are past their peak north from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) to the northern terminus at milepost 444. Some color is hanging on however the leaves are dropping quickly throughout the area.

The fall colors are finally starting to show up around the Ridgeland Mississippi area and the Ross Barnett Reservoir. The fall color change in this area is roughly 25% of peak color. Light reds and yellows are visible around the Rocky Springs campground at milepost 54.8

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 November 7, 2018
The fall colors are in at their peak north of the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9). From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee fall colors are approaching peak color. They are about 40% of their full color. Many of the leaves along the Parkway throughout Tennessee were blown off the trees by the severe weather that came through the area on Monday night. The Tupelo area is finally showing some reds, light oranges and yellows along the Parkway. The color is about 30% in this area.

Colors have started to show in the Jackson, MS area south to the southern terminus. Light reds and yellows are visible around the Rocky Springs campground at milepost 54.8

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 31, 2018
If you want to see fall colors this weekend the northern end of the parkway is the place to be. With cooler temperatures in the northern end of the park this past week the colors have started to show through. The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 50-55% of their peak color. This is quickly approaching peak color for this area. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 30% of their full color.

The Tupelo area is still only showing a low percentage of color change with light yellows and reds along the Parkway.

Some trees are dropping their leaves already due to the high temperatures and lack of rain we experienced throughout September and early October. 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 25, 2018
The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 30%of their peak color.From Freedom Hills Overlook (milepost 317) in Alabama north into Tennessee trees are about 20% of their full color. Tupelo area is just starting to see some of the light oranges and yellows appear along the Parkway.

Some trees are dropping their leaves already due to the high temperatures and lack of rain we experienced throughout September and early October. 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 17, 2018
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. Some trees are dropping their leaves already due to the high temperatures and lack of rain we experienced throughout September and early October. The recent rains and cooler temperatures have helped the fall foliage progress. Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color will vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Parkway.

Last updated: November 28, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2680 Natchez Trace Parkway
Tupelo, MS 38804

Phone:

(800) 305-7417

Contact Us