Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


Fall Colors Draw Millions To The Mountains

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on October 3, 2017

There are just so many great things about October. Here in the Smokies, we try to make the most of sunny days that are warm (but not too hot) and are bookended by crisp, pleasant mornings and evenings. At Smoky Mountain Ziplines, our guests get to enjoy an extra benefit – the changing colors of the foliage that blankets our mountainside outpost. Things are just getting cranked up as far as the annual transformation of colors is concerned, but in just a few weeks, it'll be prime viewing for anyone coming to check out our ziplines in Pigeon Forge.

According to Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials, fall colors are continuing to emerge throughout the entire Smokies range. At these early stages, you'll see the most color in the highest elevations of the park, those around 6,000 feet above sea level. One great place to spot the changes is along Clingmans Dome Road, where the yellows of mountain ash, beech and birch trees are looking pretty brilliant, as are the oranges and reds of the witch hobbles.

As you descend along the mountainsides and into the valleys, however, you'll still see mostly green, with random hints of color speckling the forest canopy. However, while the leaves haven't kicked into high gear yet, you can still benefit from plenty of natural color thanks to wildflowers in bloom, including cardinal flower, black-eyed Susan, coreopsis, great blue lobelia, skunk goldenrod, southern harebell, ironweed and others.

The good news is that the awesome weather we mentioned will only help the color situation throughout the region as we progress through the early stages of fall. The combination of sunny days and cooler temperatures is always a magic formula for ensuring that the annual change in foliage will be a spectacular one. In addition, those kinds of conditions are ideal for viewing the color show, be it from a scenic drive through the national park, on a hike to the top of a mountain or even here at our outpost in Pigeon Forge.

Speaking of drives, some of the scenic routes suggested by the national park include the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Rich Mountain Road, Newfound Gap and the aforementioned Clingmans Dome Road. (Note, however, that the Clingmans Dome observation tower will remain closed through the rest of 2017 for rehabilitation. The parking lot and other nearby trails will still be open.) It's also a great time to visit the Cataloochee section of the park to see elk at the height of their mating season, which is a spectacle in itself.

While the colors may not be at their peak levels yet, there are advantages to going ahead and visiting the Smokies now. For one, you can still see great colors if you're willing to drive or hike high enough into the national park. Also, since it's not prime viewing right now, visitation to the area hasn't yet reached its own peak levels, so the roads and most popular viewing spots aren't as congested as they tend to get later in the leaf season. This is especially true if you have the flexibility of touring the area on weekdays rather than weekends.

By the way, any time you plan to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it's a good idea to check the park's website for trail and facilities closures, as we mentioned above with the Clingmans Dome Tower. Visit the parks website to get the latest information.


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