Fall Foliage in Knoxville?

Old Aug 9th, 2002, 05:01 AM
  #1  
Krizzia
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Fall Foliage in Knoxville?

Hi everyone! I'm hoping someone who has experienced this might help. Thanks in advance.

I go to Boston almost every year to see the leaves turn. However, this year, I was thinking of going to Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains. Do the leaves turn there? If so, how much or how colorful? I know it might not be as bright as in New England. Also, although I know it varies, around what time of the year can I expect the leaves to turn...more towards end of Sept. or October?

Thanks again.
 
Old Aug 9th, 2002, 05:16 AM
  #2  
ramjet
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The Great Smokies is a fantastic place for very colorful leaf watching. Depending on how the weather has been is a factor in the radiance of color. I live in The Smokies and every year has been a visual array of colors to me. Generally speaking around 1st week to middle of Oct being peak. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great route but be forewarned traffic can be horrendous! To me the NC side of the Smokies is far less traveled and just as beautiful with many, many fantastic waterfalls that are off the beaten path.
 
Old Aug 9th, 2002, 09:41 AM
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Mike Honeycutt
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Being from Asheville, NC (2 hrs east of Knoxville), I always try to plan a "leaf lookin" trip in the fall.

As ramjet mentioned, the first two weeks in October are considered the best time to see the colors.

If you decide to come to the NC side of the Smokies, the Parkway is very crowded during the weekends. Remember that most people stick to the Parkway so if you use the state roads, it is generally less crowded. My favorite trip is to go toward Grandfather Mountain (Boone, NC).

Mike Honeycutt
 
Old Aug 9th, 2002, 04:52 PM
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Krizzia
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Author: Krizzia ([email protected])
Date: 08/09/2002, 08:01 am
Message: Hi everyone! I'm hoping someone who has experienced this might help. Thanks in advance.

I go to Boston almost every year to see the leaves turn. However, this year, I was thinking of going to Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains. Do the leaves turn there? If so, how much or how colorful? I know it might not be as bright as in New England. Also, although I know it varies, around what time of the year can I expect the leaves to turn...more towards end of Sept. or October?

Thanks again.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Author: ramjet ([email protected])
Date: 08/09/2002, 08:16 am
Message: The Great Smokies is a fantastic place for very colorful leaf watching. Depending on how the weather has been is a factor in the radiance of color. I live in The Smokies and every year has been a visual array of colors to me. Generally speaking around 1st week to middle of Oct being peak. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great route but be forewarned traffic can be horrendous! To me the NC side of the Smokies is far less traveled and just as beautiful with many, many fantastic waterfalls that are off the beaten path.


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Author: Mike Honeycutt ([email protected])
Date: 08/09/2002, 12:41 pm
Message:
Being from Asheville, NC (2 hrs east of Knoxville), I always try to plan a "leaf lookin" trip in the fall.

As ramjet mentioned, the first two weeks in October are considered the best time to see the colors.
Thanks Mike and ramjet. However, one thing I'm confused about. Isn't the "NC side of the Smokies the Blue Ridge Parkway??" or is there another NC side? If it's the Pkway, then that would be busier traffic-wise, but more to see and prettier? I guess I can drive from the Knoxville side to the NC side or vice versa so I can catch both..What is the approximate distance if I WERE to do this please? Thanks again so much.

<<If you decide to come to the NC side of the Smokies, the Parkway is very crowded during the weekends. Remember that most people stick to the Parkway so if you use the state roads, it is generally less crowded. My favorite trip is to go toward Grandfather Mountain (Boone, NC). Mike Honeycutt>>

 
Old Aug 9th, 2002, 07:04 PM
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Mike Honeycutt
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Sorry for the confusion...

The Blue Ridge Parkway is technically not part of the Smokies (ok, it begins in Cherokee but quickly leaves the Smokies). If you get a map, you'll see what I mean but most people assume all mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina are part of the Smokies so no harm done.

The closest access you will have to the Parkway is in Cherokee, NC which is about 1 to 1.5 hours from Knoxville. The Parkway then heads east toward Asheville, then north past Mount Mitchell, and then into Virginia.

My overall point was to make sure you knew the Parkway can get crowded during October and to let you know there are other scenic drives that are less crowded.

I should also point out I've heard great stories about the leaves in Tennessee but I've never ventured over the border during October.

If you like a little history with your foliage, I can recommend two books:
"Touring the Wester North Carolina Backroads" and "Touring the East Tennessee Backroads". Both books are by Carolyn Sakowski and have numerous trips planned around the mountains.

Mike Honeycutt
 
Old Aug 10th, 2002, 04:22 PM
  #6  
Krizzia
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Thanks Mike and all for the information. Most definitely will look into it.
 
Old Aug 10th, 2002, 04:42 PM
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ramjet
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Sorry also about the confusion. By off the beaten path I meant there are many other roads far less traveled than BRP as Mike stated. Hwy 64 from Highlands to Murphy is a great route, you have many waterfalls, great mtn vistas (Wayah Bald, Albert mtn), 28n of Franklin is a nice route, 441 from Dillsboro to Bryson City, all are great for viewing leaf color.
 
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 01:15 PM
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Gatlinnative
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Krizzia, I live near Gatlinburg, and based on the weather so far, you are looking at mid-October change in colors. Like the 15-20th..anyone else from the area agree?
 
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 01:21 PM
  #9  
I'minKnoxv
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Gatlinnative, it worries me that you'd give the poster a date like the 15th of October to see color. We have no idea at this time whether it will be the first week or last of October to see the colors. Seeing as she or he wants or has to see it from Knoxville, I remind you to not throw dates out there, they may be depending on us for information, and turn around and buy a ticket for that date. Let's wait until beginning to mid-Sept to give that kind of advice. No offense meant, just trying to help the poster out who is coming to our fair state.
 
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 05:45 PM
  #10  
I'minKnoxv
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ttp
 
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 12:29 PM
  #11  
William
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I'm sure there are other areas here on Fodors or maybe you can call the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce/visitor's center and they can give you a better idea on when the leaves MIGHT change this year. I think it's a bit too early to to guess, if there is one big rain, they might all come off the trees.

Good luck. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
 
Old Aug 16th, 2002, 11:54 AM
  #12  
Dontexpectmuch
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Are you relying on this message board to provide an answer so that you can purchase your plane ticket based on that?
I would suggest you call the Smoky Mountains Visitor's Center as the date gets closer and ask them when THEY think there will be color. There really isn't much there OR at Cade's Cove compared to New England, so don't expect much.
 
Old Aug 29th, 2002, 01:16 AM
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Marc
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I've made two October trips to the Smokies and have had radically different experiences. A word of warning...don't plan a trip on the weekend (or up to 5 days prior) on the weekend that the Tennessee/Alabama football game is being played in Knoxville. If you do, you can experience drunken revelers clogging the streets and national park, extreme traffic gridlock, long lines at restaurants and sidewalks in Gatlinburg so crowed it's hard to even walk...all punctuated by tacky orange Vols. flags and drunken hooting. Six years ago, I planned a trip for the last full week of October and it was wonderful, the colors had peaked at the lower elevations, the temps were in the upper 70s with sunshine and crisp, clear mornings. By the way, Halloween night in Gatlinburg has got to be seen to be believed...be sure to take a costume!

Foliage depends on the elevation where you plan to be (the higher the elevation, the earlier it peaks), how much rainfall that particular year and when the first frost takes place. Usually the Weather Channel has periodic fall color reports and the local chambers of commerce can help you as well.

Take an October trip to the Smokies, you'll be glad you did!
 
Old Aug 31st, 2002, 02:15 PM
  #14  
Krizzia
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Thanks so much for the warning. I'll be checking out the Vols's website to see when that game is. I may go towards the week of the 20th...Halloween would be fun, except the colors might have faded by then this year.

Thank you again.
 
Old Sep 1st, 2002, 03:51 AM
  #15  
Miriam
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why can't someone go a week before the game? I'd think everyone would be studying and they'd leave for the game on a Friday afternoon. If anything, the weekend would be clogged, not the whole week.

Krizia, my personal suggestion...the 11th -23rd..or the 19th through the 24th. Good luck. By the way, that Alabama game is at home in Tennesee on the 26th of October. Good luck.
 
Old Sep 1st, 2002, 06:43 AM
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DMD
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Good luck, Krizzia,

Bear in mind that a)Tenn./NC leaves won't match the intensity of the New England leaves-- fewer sugar maples to turn bright red, for one thing, and b)that water conditions affect color and change, and some areas have been suffering from a drought this year that will make some leaves just turn brownish. In fact, some trees in the areas worst hit are already dropping their leaves, although I believe the mountains have been doing much better than slightly east of them.
 
Old Sep 3rd, 2002, 04:57 AM
  #17  
Krizzia
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Thank you, DMD. That is precisely why I mentioned my annual visits to Boston. I've seen photos of the Smokies with color and they look spectacular, although as you said, not as bright. I hope to call the different visitor's and traveler's centers as the date approaches. I will not purchase my ticket until later on in September, just in case. Thanks again.
 
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