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Old 06-20-2018, 07:05 PM
 
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My family is planning to go to Kentucky to look at fall foliage. What would you say is the peak time for the foliage?
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:26 PM
 
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Usually around the third weekend in October. Fall color is best in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:16 AM
 
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We're also going to Tennessee to look at foliage. What's the peak time for that?
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:26 AM
 
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Maybe a few days earlier than Kentucky, except at the high elevations in East TN, where fall colors arrive earlier.

If you're heading for the Smokies, make your reservations early and consider staying in Townsend rather than Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge - much less hectic and commercial there, yet it's on the edge of the national park. You might want to drive over the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and visit Cherokee, NC, then drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I think is even more spectacular. Other popular GSMNP locations on the TN side include the Little River Road and Cade's Cove - less traveled but beautiful places include Elkmont, Tremont (both short drives along waterways), and the Motor Nature Trail out of Gatlinburg. Expect big crowds in the Smokies during the peak fall color season - this is the most popular of all the national parks and October is the busiest season.

In Kentucky, the Red River Gorge has outstanding fall color as well as hundreds of natural arches and other rock formations, clifftop views, a Wild and Scenic River, hiking trails, picnic tables, campgrounds, and more. Natural Bridge State Park is adjacent. It's about an hour from Lexington, which has many more accommodations plus beautiful pastoral scenery with thoroughbred horse farms, historic homes, etc. Lexington is also home to the Kentucky Horse Park and is a short, scenic drive from Shakertown at Pleasant Hill, Old Fort Harrod State Park, and many other day trip attractions. Berea is just down I-75 and is noted for arts and crafts, plus very scenic and colorful Indian Fort Mountain just east of town - good hiking trails here.

Cumberland Falls State Park is also very scenic and has remarkable fall color. It's located near Corbin, off I-75, so is between Lexington and Knoxville and could easily be included on your trip. Historic CCC lodge, too.

You can check out all of these places online and see which ones work for you and your schedule.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
Maybe a few days earlier than Kentucky, except at the high elevations in East TN, where fall colors arrive earlier.

If you're heading for the Smokies, make your reservations early and consider staying in Townsend rather than Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge - much less hectic and commercial there, yet it's on the edge of the national park. You might want to drive over the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and visit Cherokee, NC, then drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I think is even more spectacular. Other popular GSMNP locations on the TN side include the Little River Road and Cade's Cove - less traveled but beautiful places include Elkmont, Tremont (both short drives along waterways), and the Motor Nature Trail out of Gatlinburg. Expect big crowds in the Smokies during the peak fall color season - this is the most popular of all the national parks and October is the busiest season.

In Kentucky, the Red River Gorge has outstanding fall color as well as hundreds of natural arches and other rock formations, clifftop views, a Wild and Scenic River, hiking trails, picnic tables, campgrounds, and more. Natural Bridge State Park is adjacent. It's about an hour from Lexington, which has many more accommodations plus beautiful pastoral scenery with thoroughbred horse farms, historic homes, etc. Lexington is also home to the Kentucky Horse Park and is a short, scenic drive from Shakertown at Pleasant Hill, Old Fort Harrod State Park, and many other day trip attractions. Berea is just down I-75 and is noted for arts and crafts, plus very scenic and colorful Indian Fort Mountain just east of town - good hiking trails here.

Cumberland Falls State Park is also very scenic and has remarkable fall color. It's located near Corbin, off I-75, so is between Lexington and Knoxville and could easily be included on your trip. Historic CCC lodge, too.

You can check out all of these places online and see which ones work for you and your schedule.
We're staying in Memphis.
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Old 06-22-2018, 11:29 AM
 
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We're staying in Memphis.
Then go to Arkansas, the nearest mountainous area. Memphis has many fine qualities, but the area is not noted for fall foliage.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:09 PM
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Location: Kentucky
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As long as we stay relatively wet then our fall foliage overall should be pretty impressive. Fall foliage usually peaks around the time of the first widespread frost which ranges from Mid October in northern and eastern parts of Kentucky to around Halloween for the KY/TN border area and the Jackson Purchase. Fall color may be best in the mountains but since you are coming from Memphis there will be plenty of opportunities at Land Between the Lakes and the Mammoth Cave area as well for good vantage points for fall colors. A few hours on I-40 should get you to the TN portion of Land Between the Lakes.

If time is of concern I would just focus on Land Between the Lakes and the Arkansas Ozarks as those are both relatively quick trips to and from Memphis.
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Old 06-23-2018, 05:47 AM
 
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Years ago, I visited in mid to late October and the fall colors were spectacular with bright reds and yellows and splashes of orange being the dominant colors. It reminded me of my childhood growing up in Conn.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:15 PM
 
Location: London, KY
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Foliage color depends on how much rainfall we receive late Summer/early fall and temperatures. If temperatures remain warm, without frost at nights, the peak foliage time can end up being very late October. Such was the case last Fall.

My favorite areas are southeast Kentucky and around the Bluegrass between Lexington and Louisville. Around those areas I recommend Bernheim Forest, Raven Run, Shakertown and the Berea College Forest (the Pinnacles). Even though it's interstate driving, the trip between Lexington and all the way past the KY/TN border to Knoxville on I-75 South is beautiful in the fall, especially south of Richmond.

Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge are extremely popular in the Fall. I prefer Cumberland Gap National Historical Park along the KY/TN/VA borders. Pinnacle overlook is awesome,and if you are into hiking, take the hike from Ewing, VA (Ewing Trail) to White Rocks and Sand Cave, located on the eastern end of the park, off US 58 in Virginia.

To really escape the crowds, I like to drive the graveled Forest service roads in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The DBNF stretches from near Morehead to the Big South Fork National Rec Area in TN/KY. Although the terrain is not mountainous like Tennessee or North Carolina, there are quite a few gorges and scenic overlooks. I like to drive the forest roads near my house in London and most of the time I have the place to myself, except for a few horseback riders and cyclists.

Out of state, I love the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains. That said, stay away from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge on Fall weekends, and especially if Tennessee has a home football game in Knoxville. The Blue Ridge Parkway will also be busy. I recommend the Townsend area in Tennesee. While there, drive across the Foothills Parkway and do some leaf peeping at Look Rock Tower. Also, look into the Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina.
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