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

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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    Final Color Report for 2020, November 19, 2020
    The fall colors are showing around the Ridgeland Mississippi area and the Ross Barnett Reservoir. The fall color change in this area is roughly 40% of peak color. This is the last area in the park to see the 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 for November 12, 2020
    The Jeff Busby Campground area south to the Ross R. Barnett Reservoir is the best place to see fall colors this weekend. They are quickly approaching peak colors.

    In Tupelo the leaf color is past its peak due to rain storms the early part of the week causing many leaves to be blown off the trees.

    The fall colors are past their peak from Tupelo, MS to the northern terminus. 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 for November 4, 2020
    This weekend may be the best time to see fall colors along the Parkway in Alabama and Tennessee. The fall colors are at peak from Tishomingo State Park (Milepost 304.5) north through Alabama to the Tennessee State line, colors are about 75 % to 90 % of their peak.

    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 Tupelo area is showing some reds, oranges and yellows along the Parkway. The color is about 40% in this area.

    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 28, 2020
    With October almost over this is a great time to travel the Parkway in Tennessee. The fall colors are showing from the Collinwood, Tennessee north with colors at about 65% and greater of their peak color. This is peak color for this area. The best places to experience the colors is the picnic area at Glenrock Branch (Milepost 367.3) or a short 20-minute hike at Sweetwater Branch (Milepost 363)

    From Tishomingo State Park area (milepost 305) 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.

    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 22, 2020

    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 45-50%of their peak color. This is approaching peak color for this area.

    From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 20% 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.

    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 14, 2020
    The dogwoods and other trees are changing along the Parkway in Tennessee. You will see reds and very light oranges and yellows. 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.

    Last updated: November 19, 2020

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    Mailing Address:

    2680 Natchez Trace Parkway
    Tupelo, MS 38804

    Phone:

    (800) 305-7417
    The Visitor Center is open during normal business hours seven days a week. The visitor center is closed Thanksgiving, December 25th and January 1st.

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