The autumn season is one of the most beautiful times in the Great Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. As the weather begins to cool, the air turns crisp, and beautiful orange, red and yellow hues begin to emerge atop the trees at the higher elevations. People from all across the country travel to the Great Smoky Mountains to take in some of the most breathtaking fall foliage in the world.
Have you ever wondered why the leaves turn colors? The foliage begins to change when the tree’s photosynthesis process ceases. Photosynthesis, which is what makes the leaves green, halts when longer nights and cooler temperatures signal the tree to begin storing its energy. Warm days and cool nights is the ideal habitat to make breathtaking fall colors, and the Smoky Mountains offer the perfect location!
Typically, fall foliage in Pigeon Forge peaks during mid to late October, but this year, forest service rangers are calling for unseasonably early peak color. The cooler nights have moved in rapidly, and right now, the leaves are already beginning to change! The very top elevations have begun to take on their sunkissed colors, and peak colors are expected to be at their best during early October.
Did you know that each type of tree has its own certain fall color? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers hundreds of different types of trees and shrubs at all elevations, giving you a wide array of colors and hues to delight your eyes and camera lens.
Take a look at some of these common Smoky Mountain trees below and their coordinating fall colors to see if you can spot them among the blanket of tree tops.
Silver Maple: Green-Yellow
Red Maple: Yellow and Red
Striped Maple: Red and Orange
Birch (Yellow, Sweet): Yellow
White Oak: Red
Red Oak: Yellow-Brown, Red-Brown
American Elm: Scarlet Red
Sassafras: Yellow, Orange, Red