Fall Colors

A red and yellow palmately veined leaf.
Click on the magic dogwood leaf to reveal the progress of leaf changes across the country.

NPS / Jane Farmer

Tell Me about the Fall Colors

"Can you gaze into your crystal ball and tell me when leaf colors will be happening on the Natchez Trace Parkway?" a park visitor asked.

The ranger rubbed her temples. "Perhaps it would be better to check the web," the ranger replied.

"What web page could I visit?"

"Click on the Magic Dogwood Leaf to be transported to a web page that will reveal the progression of fall color change all over the country."

Click on dogwood leaf to see color progress across the country.


Fall Color Reports 2023

The leaves are thinking about changing up north. North Mississippi and North Alabama have some light sprinklings of color. There isn't any significant color change yet from Jackson down to Natchez.

We're starting to see some more color on the north end of the Parkway near Hohenwald, TN. About 10% of leaves have changed color to yellow and brown. The weather is still very dry.

Near Tupelo, we've seen about 3% of leaves change colors.

Green is still the main color we see, so check back next week to see if more has changed.

Temperatures are beginning to drop along the Parkway!

North: It's Fall in Tennessee. A little over 50% of the leaves have changed colors so far near the Meriwether Lewis Site. We're seeing yellows, reds and browns through the green leaves.

Central: Near Tupelo, we're seeing about 20% of leaves changing colors. A noticeable change from last week.

South: From Jackson down to Natchez, about 10% of leaves have begun to change. The green leaves are slowly starting to show some colors

Check back with us next week for more updates!

Leaf Update!

Northern Section: The leaves are really starting to fall in the Tennessee section of the Parkway. We're seeing more than 85% of leaves changing colors.

Central Section: More than 65% of leaves have changed from green to yellow, red and brown. Many trees are losing their leaves entirely.

Southern Section: We're beginning to see some more change from Jackson down to Natchez. More than 45% of leaves are changing colors.

The cold front this week has brought rapid changes in the foliage with it!

Northern section: Leaves are past peak and dropping rapidly.

Central section: Leaves are at peak currently and will begin dropping off soon.

Southern section: Not much change; colors are not likely to get any more vibrant before more cold weather moves in.

The northern part of the Parkway has been taken over by the true color of fall: brown!

In the central region of the Parkway, there is a good mix of colors, brown leaves, and trees that have already dropped leaves. 

The southern end of the Parkway hasn't quite gotten the message that it's fall and is still showing a lot of green. We don't expect to see much more color develop before cold weather sets in. 

Fall has taken over the parkway! This is a great time to see the leaves change colors!

North: Nearly all trees have changed colors or lost their leaves. The green leaves have left for the year. We see yellows, browns, reds, and empty branches.

Central: About 85% of leaves have either changes colors or fallen from the trees. We see a few trees that are still green, but most trees are yellow, brown, or red.

South: 80-85% of leaves have changed colors or fallen to the ground. We see some pockets of green leaves. Most trees have changed to yellow, red, or brown.

Fall doesn't begin to describe the leaf situation on the parkway! Almost all trees have changed by this point.

North: Pretty much all trees have lost their leaves. We see large patches of empty trees. Some sparse patches of yellow, red, and brown leaves.

Central: Most leaves have fallen by this point. There are very few remaining yellow, red, and brown areas along the roadway.

South: More than 90% of leaves have fallen or changed colors. We are seeing a significant change on the southern end of the parkway. A few pockets of green remain. Most trees are showing yellow, red, and brown 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

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.
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    Last updated: November 25, 2023

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    2680 Natchez Trace Parkway
    Tupelo, MS 38804


    800 305-7417
    The Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo, MS, is open 9am-4:30pm seven days a week. The visitor center is closed Thanksgiving, December 25th and January 1st.

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