GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – It doesn’t feel like fall, but it’s starting to look like it in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fall leaves are starting to pop up and park rangers are seeing them at all elevations.
Jamie Sanders, a spokesperson for the park, said visitors will find the best color in the higher elevations, which is above 5,000 feet. The park suggests Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road for a scenic drive.
Fall foliage this year in East Tennessee is expected to be much better than last season when the trees were parched because of a long drought.
“The environmental conditions that we need are clear sunny days and crisp cool nights and we have quite a bit of those,” said David Vandergriff, a UT extension agent and master arborist.
He said peak season should be the third week of October and he believed the colors should stay until the beginning of November. Since the higher elevations will see the fall leaves first, he said those will be the first to fall.
Sanders expects more people to come in October since that is one of its busiest months. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park writes an update on fall colors every Friday on its Facebook page. The first one comes out this week.