NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Great Smoky Mountains are a popular destination during this time of year. Cities in East Tennessee, like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, are often full of visitors looking to view the fall colors. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, other areas in Tennessee offer beautiful fall foliage. There are plenty of state parks in Tennessee that have beautiful displays of fall leaves.
News 2 spoke with Randy Hedgepath, a State Naturalist for Tennessee State Parks, to learn more about the best leaf viewing areas.
According to Hedgepath, avoiding famous leaf spots is key. “The ones that are the most famous or the most popular may be the most crowded. So, going to Natchez Trace or Mousetail Landing or Standing Stone might be a better choice because you’ll have more room to roam and less crowding to interfere with your appreciation of the fall colors.”
Along and west of I-65, colors peak in late October and early November, but if you want fall color right now, you don’t have to travel all the way to East Tennessee.
“Standing Stone State Park up north of Cookeville is an excellent choice to go and see fall colors. The fall colors there are getting covered with color as we speak.”
West Tennessee may not come up as often when it comes to autumnal displays, but it also offers an array of stunning fall colors.
“There are several state parks in West Tennessee that are excellent color viewing areas. I was just thinking a few minutes ago that Natchez Trace State Forest and State Park, west of the Tennessee River, has miles and miles of road through the forest.”
Other state parks Hedgepath recommends include Mousetail Landing State Park in Perry County near Linden and David Crockett State Park in Lawrenceburg.