Fall is an experience in Tennessee. Whether you enjoy attending fall festivals, watching football or exploring nature and watching the leaves change, there are countless opportunities to get outside this month and enjoy all the season has to offer.
Being outside, taking scenic drives to view and photograph fall color makes ‘Leaf Peeping’ one activity I deeply enjoy every fall.
From east to west Tennessee offers numerous stunning locations to capture the vibrant fall colors. Some of the best places for fall foliage photography in the state include:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park: This iconic park boasts some of the most breathtaking fall scenery in the country. Explore the Clingmans Dome area, Newfound Gap Road, Tremont and Cades Cove for vibrant displays of autumn colors.
- The Natchez Trace Parkway: This historic parkway stretches from Tennessee through Mississippi and offers a picturesque drive through woodlands, showcasing a beautiful blend of reds, oranges, and yellows during the fall months.
- Roan Mountain State Park: Known for its extensive rhododendron gardens, Roan Mountain transforms into a sea of fiery foliage in the fall, especially along the Roan Mountain Highlands.
- Cumberland Plateau: Head to areas like Fall Creek Falls State Park and Savage Gulf State Natural Area on the Cumberland Plateau for striking views of colorful leaves against rugged terrain.
- Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area: Explore the Big South Fork’s gorges and sandstone bluffs for unique fall photo opportunities amid the dramatic landscape.
- Cherokee National Forest: This vast forested area offers a range of elevations and diverse foliage, making it a great location for capturing various stages of fall color.
- Reelfoot Lake State Park: Experience autumn’s beauty reflected in the calm waters of Reelfoot Lake, with cypress trees adding to the scene’s charm.
- Cherohala Skyway: This scenic byway connecting Tennessee and North Carolina provides sweeping vistas and excellent opportunities for capturing the fall foliage from elevated vantage points.
- Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness: Even within the city limits of Knoxville, you can find beautiful fall color in places like Ijams Nature Center and the South Loop of the Urban Wilderness trails.
- The Great River Road: Driving the Great River Road in Tennessee you will follow the Mississippi River along the western boarder of the state from Tiptonville to Memphis.
Please check the timing of peak fall foliage in each region, as it can vary from early October to mid-November, depending on the location and elevation. Each of these destinations offers its own unique charm and photographic opportunities during the autumn season in Tennessee.