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Fantastic Fall Season in the Great Smoky Mountains

Fantastic Fall Season in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.

Mt. Cammerer Sunrise, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mt. Cammerer sunrise showcases an amazing autumn as far as the eye can see. The photographer added, “Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Mt. Cammerer, looking north 10 minutes before sunrise.” Photo #1 by Michael Hicks

Surreal cloud sea in the Smokies. The photographer wrote, “A sunrise trip up the mountain gave us this breathtaking above-the-clouds view. At 6600 ft, we were above the cloud mass, and had the sun’s rosy colors both at the horizon and on the fluffiness all around us. The autumn colors of the forest were getting upstaged by the sky.” Photo #2 by jjjj56cp

Yellow Tree and Curvy Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Yellow trees and curvy Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “Elevation profoundly affects when fall colors change in the park,” wrote NPS. “At higher elevations, where the climate is similar to New England’s, color displays start as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry. From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway.” Photo #3 by Matthew Paulson

Fall Road Glow, Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

“Fall Road Glow,” Cades Cove. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service explained, “Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park.” Photo #4 by Matthew Paulson

Changing colors along the middle Little River Valley in Elkmon, Great Smoky Mountains

Changing colors along the middle Little River Valley in Elkmon. There is abundant wildlife living within the Great Smoky Mountains; the Smokies “are home to 66 species of mammals, over 240 species of birds, 43 species of amphibians, 60 species of fish, and 40 species of reptiles. The range has the densest black bear population east of the Mississippi River. The black bear has come to symbolize wildlife in the Smokies.” Photo #5 by Dave & Holly

Autumn leaves Applachian Trail, Smoky Mountains

Autumn leaves. “Why are fall colors so remarkable in the Smokies?” asked NPS. “One reason is the park’s amazing diversity of trees. Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies and the vast majority of these are deciduous.” Photo #6 by David W. Siu

Abrams Falls in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains NP

Abrams Falls in Cades Cove. NPS noted, “Although Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height. The long, deep pool at its base is very picturesque. The waterfall and creek are named for a Cherokee chief whose village once stood several miles downstream.” Photo #7 by Ken Rowland

Mingus Mill, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mingus Mill, built in 1886, is located a half-mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. According to NPS, this “historic grist mill uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery in the building. Located at its original site, Mingus Mill stands as a tribute to the test of time.” Photo #8 by Matthew Paulson

Autumn in Tennessee, Fall Creek, Great Smoky Mountains

Fall Creek, near the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. “An exuberant mountain stream gave this area its unusual name,” explained NPS. “Roaring Fork is one of the larger and faster flowing mountain streams in the park. Drive this road after a hard rain and the inspiration behind the name will be apparent.” Photo #9 by Joey Lax-Salinas (JoeyBLS Photography)

Every color of the rainbow, rainbow and autumn at the Great Smokies

Every color of the rainbow. NPS added, “The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.” Photo #10 by Abigail King

Clingman’s Dome, autumn in Smoky Mountains National Park. There are more than 150 hiking trails in the Smokies, which span more than 800 linear miles. Photo #11 by dalai_alana

Cabin in the Smokies

Cabin in the Smokies. The fog hanging over the mountains may resemble smoke, but is due to the high levels of moisture in the air. “Annual precipitation amounts range from 50 to 80 inches (130–200 cm), and snowfall in the winter can be heavy, especially on the higher slopes. For comparison, the surrounding terrain has annual precipitation of around 40 to 50 inches (100–130 cm).” Photo #12 by Abigail King

Land of Blue Smoke

The photographer noted, “The Cherokee called this area ‘The Land of the Blue Smoke’— we currently call them the ‘Smoky Mountains’. Located in both Tennessee and North Carolina, the vistas are breathtaking — each scene more beautiful than the next. Photos can’t begin to do these ancient peaks justice. This was taken from Newfound Gap — right on the Tennessee/ North Carolina border. This was not discovered to be the lowest, easiest way to cross the mountains until 1872 — previously the Cherokee trails, farmer and trader routes, and the Confederate Army used another pass (Indian Gap) 2 miles away, that was not as accessible as this.” Photo #13 by jjjj56cp

Rattlesnake Mountain Tunnel, North Carolina within Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rattlesnake Mountain Tunnel, North Carolina within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The photographer added, “This was a ‘drive-by’ shot that turned out really well. I simply stuck my hand out of the moonroof while we were heading towards it and BAM! Here’s the result that I am most happy with. Beautiful fall colors and a nice tunnel.” Photo #14 by Julie (Concubine)

Black bear during autumn in a tree

NPS wrote, “Can black bears see fall colors? Research indicates that black bears have color vision and can discriminate between shades of color. It makes sense. Bears forage for berries in bushes and trees dense with foliage, and for foods such as acorns that are small and scattered on the ground. Color vision would help them find these foods. Researchers observing bears in the wild have noted that the animals rely on sight as well as smell to locate and obtain food.” Photo #15 by Samuel Hobbs / NPS

Middle Prong of Little River, Walker Valley, Great Smoky Mountains

Middle Prong of Little River, Walker Valley, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, Tennessee. The photographer added, “Restored forest at the former logging town of Tremont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” Photo #16 by Jim McKinley

Path to the past, abandoned cabin in Elkmont Great Smoky Mountains

Path to the past and an abandoned cabin in Elkmont. In the summer, Elkmont is renowned for its firefly show. “Synchronous fireflies are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.” Photo #17 by Dave & Holly

Big Creek Cascade, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Big Creek Cascade. “Big Creek Trail follows an old railroad grade used to haul lumber out of the mountains during the logging boom at the start of the 20th century,” wrote NPS. “At 1.4 miles the trail passes Midnight Hole, a deep, picturesque pool below a 6′ falls. At 2.1 miles a short side trail on the left leads to a bench where hikers can rest and view Mouse Creek Falls which is on the far side of Big Creek. The falls are 45′ in height.” Photo #18 by Jim Dollar

Autumn leaf colors at Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National

Autumn leaf colors at Newfound Gap. “At an elevation of 5,046 feet, Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” Photo #19 by NPS

The trail to the Ramsey Cascades, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA

The trail to the Ramsey Cascades, the tallest waterfall in the park and considered to be one of the most spectacular. Water drops 100 feet over rock outcroppings and then forms a small pool where numerous well-camouflaged salamanders can be found. NPS added, “Do not attempt to climb to the top of the falls. Several people have been killed trying to do so.” Photo #20 by Tim Mowrer

Spruce Flat Falls, Treemont Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spruce Flat Falls “is a lesser-known but wonderful waterfall to visit during your trip to the Great Smokies. The main section of the waterfall is roughly 30-feet in height and from there the water cascades over a smaller drop until landing in a beautiful plunge pool at the bottom. Spruce Flats Branch continues on down the mountain where it connects with the Middle Prong in the valley below.” Photo #21 by Matthew Paulson

Fall foliage seen from a pull-off on Little River Road between The Sinks and the Townsend Wye

Fall foliage seen from a pull-off on Little River Road between The Sinks and the Townsend Wye. Did you know? asked NPS: “About 100 native tree species make their home in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—more than in all of northern Europe. The park also contains one of the largest blocks of old-growth temperate deciduous forest in North America.” Photo #22 by Kent Cave / NPS

Smoky Mountain Fall

Smoky Mountain from one of the overlooks along Highway 441 between Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC on a beautiful fall day. Photo #23 by William McKeehan

Autumn escape in North Carolina Smoky Mountains, GSMNP

Autumn escape in North Carolina Smoky Mountains. Photo #24 by Alex G. (DigiDreamGrafix.com)

GSMNP Roaring Fork Homestead

Roaring Fork Homestead, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo #25 by Jeff Moore

GSMNP Roaring Fork, Upper Grotto Falls

Roaring Fork, Upper Grotto Falls as seen on Oct. 27, 2013. There are large and small waterfalls located along more than 2,000 miles of streams in the Smokies. “Large waterfalls attract the crowds,” noted NPS, “but smaller cascades and falls can be found on nearly every river and stream in the park.” Photo #26 by Jeff Moore

Autumn on the Little River near Tremont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Autumn on the Little River near Tremont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo #27 by Dave & Holly

Nice evening in the Smoky Mountains

Nice evening in the Smoky Mountains. Photo #28 by Webtrance

Rural autumn in the Smokies

Rural autumn in the Smokies. Photo #29 by jjjj56cp

Tipton Place, Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tipton Place, Cades Cove. Great Smoky Mountains National Park holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures—houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools, and grist mills—have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park.” Photo #30 by Matthew Paulson

Lots of rain on the Smokys

Lots of rain over the Smokies. “The Smokies are among the tallest mountains in the Appalachian chain,” wrote NPS. “Within the park, elevations range from about 875′ to 6,643′, with sixteen peaks rising more than 5,000 feet. Mount Le Conte towers to 6,593′ from a base of 1,292′, making it the tallest (but not the highest), mountain in the East. The park’s highest summit, Clingmans Dome, is the third tallest peak east of the Mississippi River.” Photo #31 by Abigail King

Overlooking Cowee Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, Sylva, and Franklin, North Carolina. Overlooking Cowee Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo #32 by Mary Anne Baker

Big Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC

Big Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC. Photo #33 by Jim Dollar

Cabin at Sunset in Smokies

Cabin at Sunset in Smokies. Photo #34 by Brian Chia

Clingmans Dome at sunrise. At 6,643, Clingmans Dome is the highest peak with the national park. Photo #35 by Matthew Paulson

View from Maloney Overlook on Little River Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

View from Maloney Overlook on Little River Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo #36 by Kent Cave / NPS

Rising mountain smoke from Heintooga Ridge Road

Rising mountain “smoke” from Heintooga Ridge Road. Photo #37 by NPS

Pause for the Sublime in the Great Smoky Mountains

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