October means pumpkin pie, spooky Halloween costumes and of course… beautiful fall foliage views along the Natchez Trace Parkway. From Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway offers motorists, cyclists and all manner of travelers 444 miles of peaceful byway and quaint historic communities. This autumn season, the Trace will be the star of the show!
The Natchez Trace is one of the top trails where you can take in the beauty of this natural fall treat — and VisitSouth agrees! They recently recommended the Trace as one of 20 Grand Scenic Road Trips.
The exact moment when hardwood tree leaves change can be tricky to pinpoint. Rain, temperature, humidity and all sorts of environmental factors affect the color changes, but you can generally count on a great display of striking yellows and vibrant reds appearing during mid and late October.
Click here to see popular places for fall colors along the Parkway.
So why do the leaves change color? The trees take their cues from the ever-shortening days as the sun spends less and less of the day warming the forests, and prepares for shorter appearances throughout the winter. As the days’ sunlight grows more brief, the leaves begin to scale back their production of chlorophyll, that friendly chemical that give summer branches their pleasant green showing. Therefore, we’re left to enjoy one extravagant blast of color before the leaves give up, falling one at a time to the ground as nutrients for next years’ spring.
There are plenty of places to enjoy this pleasant plant performance along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Here are few places you should check out this fall:
For those traveling through Mississippi and Alabama, Freedom Hills Overlook (milepost 317.0) provides a spectacular overlook of a hardwood forest, while Rock Spring Nature Trail is an easy way to get out and see the colors more closely.
If you come upon milepost 193.1, don’t miss the view from Little Mountain Overlook at the Jeff Busby Campground. Finally, if your feet are you favorite form of Trace transport, take a day hike along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail* from the Old Town Overlook Trailhead (milepost 263.9) to the Beech Springs Trailhead (milepost 266.0).
*A portion of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail near Tupelo, MS is closed. Click here for details.
If you’re cruising the scenic Natchez Trace a bit further north in Tennessee, try Old Trace Drive (milepost 375.8), which provides a gorgeous fall foliage backdrop. Metal Ford (milepost 382.8) and Swan View Overlook (milepost 392.5) offer quick stops to view the autumn colors for travelers.
Leisurely walks at the Meriwether Lewis Site (milepost 385.9) or Fall Hollow (milepost 391.9) are great places for those who not only love fall foliage, but who also have an appetite for hiking. Garrison Creek Trailhead (milepost 427.6) or Old Trace (milepost 426.3) are perfect for outdoor hiking.
So if you’ve started to notice the changing fall colors, make sure you don’t miss out while the gettin’ is good! Get out on the Natchez Trace and enjoy this special spectacle while it lasts.
To learn more about the Natchez Trace Parkway and plan your trip, give us a call at 866.TRACE56 (872-2356) or visit scenictrace.com. You should also check out helpful information about the Natchez Trace Parkway on National Park Service website here.