When it comes to a fall color tour, you really canít do better than a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. With more than 100 species of trees native to the area, the vast array of colors is unmatched anywhere else. Not only is the display spectacular, but the variety of ways you can view this autumn extravaganza is simply unbeatable. Whether you prefer the relaxing sway of a passenger train or the thrilling speeds of a zipline, youíll find it in the Great Smoky Mountains.
A Personal Encounter with Mother Nature
Perhaps the best way to experience autumn in the Smokies is on foot. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts more than 800 miles of maintained trails, so itís easy to find one to accommodate nearly every skill level. Wander along a quiet path, smelling the sweet, spicy scent of autumn leaves while the forestís inhabitants scurry about making plans for the winter ahead. Careful observation may even offer a glimpse of the elusive black bear as he prepares for his long winter nap.
An altogether different view of the fall colors begins with a trip to the local stables, where you can rent a horse for an hour, a day, or even overnight. Saddle up and ride into the wilderness much like the first settlers did more than 250 years ago. Enjoy lunch trailside, or pack a bedroll and spend the night under the stars, gazing at the canopy of colors above.
Breathtaking Views Glimpsed from the Treetops
With a thousand shades of red and gold and orange blanketing the mountains like a patchwork quilt and the stunning blue of the Tennessee sky stretched out above, a zipline tour offers a unique way to get a birds-eye view of the scenery. Not only will you enjoy the glorious colors, but your adventurous side will love the dizzying speeds as you zip from tree to tree, pausing for just a moment to snap a photo before racing to the next landing. Take a leisurely tour designed for beginners, or test your skills on a more advanced course. Everyone in your family will find something to love about a fall color tour as seen from the treetops.
Just Go Along for the Ride
Want to enjoy the colors from the lap of luxury? Book a trip on the Great Smoky Mountains Railway. Enjoy true first-class accommodations in this restored 1920s passenger train complete with dining car. Spend the afternoon gazing out the window as the train winds along the Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers, offering a view of the mountains you simply wonít see anywhere else.
Prime color season in the Great Smoky Mountains starts in early October, so plan your trip accordingly. Youíll be amazed by the dazzling show of colors, scents, and sounds that greet you, and this yearís color tour wonít be soon forgotten. Whether you prefer a quiet walk along a mountain stream, or a heart-pounding ride through the treetops, one thing is certain: your memories of the brilliant autumn colors will help warm those cold winter days ahead.