Best Places to See Fall Colors in Tennessee
Get your camera ready, the change of the season is almost here.
Tennesseans are very fortunate. The entire state offers a variety of landscapes that are very picturesque but made even more beautiful during the fall when the leaves turn from green to red, orange, and yellow. There are some truly unique places to stop and drink in the beauty of mother nature as the season begins to transform. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite spots to watch the leaves change. We’ve included both local and destination locations to pique just about everyone’s interest.
Radnor Lake is a great place to go and view the fall colors as a family and is conveniently located just south of downtown Nashville. It’s part of a 1,368-acre park and is full of wildlife viewing opportunities in addition to the fall colors. There are quite a few trails that range in difficulty, but the main trail around the circumference of the lake has plenty of impressive viewing points where you can get some great snaps of the leaves reflected in the lake.
Shelby Bottoms Greenway
This is another park located in the Nashville area that makes it easy to take in everything fall has to offer without going too far. Shelby Bottoms has everything from hardwood forests to open fields providing an array of opportunities for creative pictures. There are about three miles of the Cumberland riverfront to view. The greenway is about 5 miles long and is complementary to bikers, skaters, runners, and hikers.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
If you’re not opposed to a drive, the Smoky Mountains are a gold mine for fall foliage. The ridge straddles North Carolina and Tennessee, but our favorite place to visit is via Gatlinburg. There are a ton of hiking trails with lookouts of the mountains. From these points, you can utilize your panorama view to capture all of the fantastic colors. There are also plenty of waterfalls that will add a bit of interest to the already amazing colors.
Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls is one of Tennessee’s largest and most visited park. And, for a good reason. It includes over 26,000 acres of land. There are lush waterfalls such as Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls, and Cane Creek Cascades found across the park. You can either participate in a moderate hike or stop by one of the shorter trails that leads to a lookout. Either way, you’ll want your camera ready. Most paths are shrouded in trees giving you plenty of snapping opportunities.
The Natchez Trace spans hundreds of miles between Tennessee and Mississippi. There is an entry point in West Nashville near the historic Loveless Cafe, where you can start your journey. Once you’re on the trace, you’ll immediately see a large bridge which we recommend stopping at and walking around to get a bird’s eye view. You can continue in the car or pull over to one of the many hiking trails for additional opportunities to take some photos!
Percy Priest Lake
Percy Priest Lake is one of the two Warner parks managed by Nashville’s Parks and Recreation department. We like Percy Priest Lake because it offers a variety of choices for picturesque backdrops. The lake is excellent for canoeing, kayaking, boating, or fishing. Something a little different to the traditional hiking method to find fall colors. There are many marinas and camping opportunities to turn it into quite the adventure!