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 2021

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. 

Mount Locust is still green. 

NORTH: The leaves in the north end of the park are worth seeing and about 70% of the trees are showing reds, yellows and oranges. 

TUPELO: Leaves are at about 20%, mostly yellows and orange with a dash of reds. Leaves are quickly heading to 50%.

RIDGELAND (Jackson, MS) Leaves on 10% of the trees have changes. Mostly yellows sprinkled with orange and red.

Mount Locust (near Natchez, MS) Trees are sporting yellows mostly, and only about 5% have changed into their autumn garb. 
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.
Meriwether Lewis: All the leaves have turned into their fall colors. The oaks are dropping their leaves, but the maples and dogwoods are brilliant. 

Tupelo, MS: About 75% of the leaves are changed. It's looking nice out there.

Mount Locust, Natchez, MS: About 15-20% of the leaves have changed, mostly reds and oranges.
We are nearing the end of the Fall Color Season. It has been one of the longest folks can remember. This past weeks cold snap has signaled the end of the season. 

North end of the Parkway: Autumn is on its way out. There are a few trees still showing out, but most have gone to bed for the winter. 

Central area of the Parkway: Many of the trees have lost their leaves. Some are still brilliant, and the oaks are turning bronze. 

South end of the Parkway: It's raining leaves! About 25% of the trees are showing color and 20% of the early droppers have already gone dormant. 
For the most part the trees have shed their leaves and entered winter dormancy. 

Mount Locust still has bronzes and yellows. 
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: December 1, 2021

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