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. 

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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 October 27, 2016
The fall colors are at peak at the northern end of the Parkway from milepost 429 to the terminus. We expect the colors at Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) to peak soon-they are currently at about 95 % of peak color. From Tishomingo State Park (milepost 304.5 north through Alabama to the Tennessee State line, colors are about 75 % to 90 % of their peak. In Tupelo, MS at milepost 266 colors are about 20% of their peak, however most of the color change in the Tupelo area has gone from green to brown due to drought conditions.

This weekend may be the best time to see fall colors along the Parkway in Alabama and Tennessee. Due to the lack of rain and higher than average temperatures along the length of the Natchez Trace Parkway we expect the fall foliage to not last as long as years past and the amount of color will also be diminished.

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 20, 2016The fall colors are approaching peak fall foliage from the Alabama/Tennessee State Line to the Northern Terminus with colors at about 50%-60% of their peak color. The pastel oranges and yellows with some reds from late turning dogwoods are dotting the landscape. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 40% of their full color.

This weekend will be near peak fall foliage conditions from Tennessee/Alabama state line north. Due to the lack of rain and higher than average temperatures along the length of the Natchez Trace Parkway we expect the fall foliage to not last as long as years past and the amount of color will also be diminished.

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 13, 2016
The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 35% to 40% of their peak color. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 30% of their full color.

Due to the lack of rain and higher than average temperatures along the length of the Natchez Trace Parkway we expect the fall foliage to not last as long as years past and the amount of color will also be diminished.

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 6, 2016
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. Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color will vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Parkway.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2680 Natchez Trace Parkway
Tupelo, MS 38804

Phone:

(800) 305-7417
Please call the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center at 1-800-305-7417. The Parkway Visitor Center is open everyday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Central Time) except December 25. To contact the park's headquarters, call 662-680-4025 during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (Central Time).

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