The following are the latest fall color updates for the various park areas in the Great Smoky Mountains region:
* Tom Harrington's latest update on the GSMA website states that fall colors are now at their peak in the upper elevations of the Great Smokies (above 3,000 feet), and will remain at peak for the next couple of days. He also expects autumn colors for the lower elevations to be at or near peak by next week.
* Virtual Blue Ridge posted this report late Thursday:
In Virginia the Peaks of Otter is reporting color in Tulip Poplar, Dogwood, and Sourwood on the mountainside. A variety of Oaks and Mountain Ash are also showing fall colors. The Rocky Knob and Mabry Mill area are probably at peak color this coming weekend. Dogwood and Poplar are also pretty, along with Sassafras along the roadsides in the area of the Blue Ridge Music Center. This weekend will probably be the peak of color there.
High up on the sides of Mount Mitchell north of Asheville, visitors will also see some color showing nicely. The area south of Asheville is one of the highlights now with Graveyard Fields turning peak after a cold night in recent days. This is by far the best place to see good color along the southern end of the Parkway. A few of the higher elevations around Devil's Courthouse, Richland Balsam and more are about 50% right now while the rest of the Parkway south of there is about 30%-40% color. Still a nice drive with enough color to show that fall is finally here.
You can read the full report by clicking here.
* Tennessee State Parks has a new “color watch” tool on their website to help visitors plan for the best leaf peeping opportunities. For nearby Roan Mountain, ETSU professors are projecting a magnificent season of color throughout October. The website also highlights state park events, including fall hikes at South Cumberland, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and along the Cumberland Trail.
* Grandfather Mountain State Park in NC is reporting that fall colors are at their peak right now.
* And finally, earlier this week, the National Park Foundation announced its 2010 ‘Top National Parks for Fall Foliage’ list. Included on the list was the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area where peak fall colors are expected through Thanksgiving.