2017 Fall Color Reports: The Natchez Trace

Tobacco Farm and Old Trace Drive, milepost 401.4
Tobacco Farm and Old Trace Drive, milepost 401.4

Thank you to the Natchez Trace Parkway for providing the below color reports.

Why do Leaves Change Colors?

Stunning fall color on the historic Parkway. Photo credit: The Fun Times Guide

In middle to late October, the maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees begin to change colors and visitors have the opportunity to view the brilliant fall foliage along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Each fall, as sunlight decreases, it signals the plant to stop producing chlorophyll. The best conditions to create fall color are when the autumn days are mild and sunny, and the evenings are cool and crisp, but not freezing. Ideal foliage is sparked by a warm, wet spring, a typical summer, and sunny autumn days with cool nights. While it is impossible to predict the peak time to see colors along the Natchez Trace, these locations and reports may help you plan your fall trip!

Locations to Enjoy the Fall Color in Tennessee:

  • The Old Trace Drive (milepost 375.8) provides spectacular overlooks of a hardwood forest.
  • Metal Ford (milepost 382.8) and Swan View Overlook (milepost 392.5) provide quick stops to view the fall colors.
  • Leisurely walks at Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) or Fall Hollow (milepost 391.9) are great locations to enjoy the colors.
  • Those interested in seeing the colors more closely may find a day hike along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail from the Garrison Creek Trailhead (milepost 427.6), or the Old Trace Trailhead (milepost 426.3) a rewarding experience.

Locations to Enjoy the Fall Color in Alabama and Mississippi:

  • The Freedom Hills Overlook (milepost 317.0) provides a spectacular overlook of a hardwood forest.
  • A short leisurely walk on the Rock Spring Nature Trail is an easy way to get out and see the colors more closely.
  • The view from Little Mountain Overlook in the Jeff Busby Campground (milepost 193.1), provides a wonderful quick stop to view the fall colors.
  • Those interested in seeing the colors more closely may find a day hike along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail from the Old Town Overlook Trailhead (milepost 263.9), or the Beech Springs Trailhead (milepost 266.0) a rewarding experience.

Color Report for October 25, 2017
If you want to see fall colors this weekend the northern end of the parkway is the place to be. With cooler temperatures in the northern end of the park this past week the colors have started to show through. The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 50-55%of their peak color. This is quickly approaching peak color for this area. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 30% of their full color. The Tupelo area is still only showing a low percentage of color change with light yellows and reds along the Parkway.

Color Report for October 19, 2017
The colors have not changed all that much from last week. Unfortunately the leaves that were light yellow last week are falling to the ground this week. The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 30%of their peak color. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 20% of their full color.

Color Report for October 12, 2017
The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 30%of their peak color. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 20% of their full color. Tupelo area is just starting to see some of the light oranges and yellows appear along the Parkway.

Color Report for October 5, 2017
The dogwoods and other trees are just beginning to change along the Parkway in Tennessee. From Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) north to the terminus, colors are at about 10-20 % of their peak. Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color will vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Parkway.

You’re also welcome to contact the park at 1-800-305-7417 for the most up-to-date color report.

Fall Foliage along the scenic Trace
Fall Foliage along the scenic Trace

Ready to plan your trip?

For brochures, maps, and travel itineraries, get started right here, right now! Be sure to download your free Visitor Guide.

Follow The Natchez Trace on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to stay up-to-date and share your travel pics.

Watch some of our videos here.