By late September, the first hints of Fall color appear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy the changing of sumac, dogwood, red maples, sourwood, black gum and the vibrant red of the Virginia creeper vine. In higher elevations the American beech tree and yellow birch trees begin to transition to gold. SeptemberThe timing of the leaves changing depends upon variables such as temperature, rainfall, and sunlight that make it impossible to predict “the peak color” each year. As days grow shorter, and nights grow longer and cooler, chemical processes in the leaf begin to paint the landscape with Nature’s autumn palette. Typically you will find some color somewhere in the park anytime from late September through mid to late November. By the later stages of September, the right ingredients are beginning to emerge, the time when cooler temperatures and sunny days mix with some rainfall to bring on a spectacular autumn color display. Suggested scenic drives during September: Parsons Branch Road, Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road. Suggested hikes for September: Albright Grove and Sugarland Mountain Trail as well as high elevation hikes to Andrews Bald or Mt. LeConte would be time well spent. NOTE: The fall color display usually reaches peak at middle and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. For more information about fall colors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm