Autumn is here in all its red and gold glory, but it’ll be gone before you know it! Perhaps you’ve noticed some of the trees in your neighborhood beginning to transition to warmer hues, and maybe you’ve spotted pumpkins popping up on doorsteps. If you want to bask in some of our state’s most beautiful fall foliage, now is the time to start making plans. Scroll down to learn about the best places to admire fall foliage in Tennessee.
Exploring Show-Stopping Fall Foliage in Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains are undoubtedly great. Straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, which becomes even more striking in autumn. There are countless locations within the park to marvel at the foliage, but one of the most popular is Clingmans Dome, which is also the highest point in Tennessee! A road travels up to this peak, so you can enjoy the view without a strenuous hike!
This quirky mountain city will allow you to enjoy gorgeous fall colors without venturing into the wilderness. Even downtown, the colors are brilliant. But one of the best ways to view the trees is to hop aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat, which travels along the Tennessee River. You’ll catch lovely views of Signal Point, Sunset Rock, Raccoon Mountain, and more on the 1.5-hour excursion.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Why not combine your leaf peeping with some spectacular waterfalls? Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the state’s most-visited parks for a reason. You’ll adore the plentiful waterfalls, gorges, cascades, and streams. Be sure to stop by Fall Creek Falls, which is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern U.S. at 256 feet.
Natchez Trace State Park
In central Tennessee, you’ll find Natchez Trace State Park, which is filled with trails, meadows, streams, and brilliant leaves. It’s a popular spot for hiking, fishing, boating, horseback riding, paddling, and more. While you’re there, drive on Natchez Trace Parkway, a historic roadway that offers breathtaking views of the trees in autumn.
Memphis Botanic Garden
Did you know that Memphis Botanic Garden is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year? While fewer flowers will be blooming in autumn as compared to spring and summer, the gardens are truly gorgeous at this time of year. Plus, the gardens and trails are full of brilliantly colored trees! If you’re looking for a photo spot, this is a foolproof option.
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Just 15 miles north of Memphis, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park borders the Mississippi River and offers more than 20 miles of trails and two beautiful lakes. It’s an ideal spot to view the changing colors in fall, glimpse the diverse local wildlife, and even play golf!
Roan Mountain State Park
Tucked along the Appalachian Trail, Roan Mountain State Park is a sight to behold. The mountain stretches up 6,285 feet, and the park features 2,000+ acres of hardwoods that transform each autumn. The Smoky Mountains tend to get a lot more fanfare, so Roan Mountain State Park is a perfect spot if you want to marvel over the autumn splendor without worrying about tourists.
Now that you know where to find the most glorious fall foliage in Tennessee, are you ready to plan a road trip? According to Tennessee State Parks, leaf peepers will generally have the most luck throughout October in East Tennessee and from mid-October to mid-November in West Tennessee. So if you want to spot those vibrant red, orange, and yellow leaves, don’t delay. Part of why autumn is so sweet is because it’s fleeting!
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace an active lifestyle. We would be happy to schedule a tour to explore the neighborhood, speak with the Community Director, meet some residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!