Smokies Fall Colors

Once again, Mother Nature did her Fall magic in the Smokies. Late October to early November was pretty spectacular. It’s funny how the peak colors only occur over a one to three day period. The exact date is difficult to predict with accuracy so, you just have to set aside some time and let things happen as they will.

Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains NP

Beth’s sister, Barb, and I got up early to visit Cades Cove in the golden morning light. The clouds were¬†still low in the valley but, sunlight managed to find a hole to illuminate a few trees.


Parson Branch Road - Great Smoky Mountains NP



We drove halfway around the loop and decided to take a detour onto Parson Branch Road. It’s an eight mile one-way gravel road that leads out of the park towards “Tail of the Dragon”.

Parson Branch Road - Great Smoky Mountains NP
Along the route there are several water crossings and excellent photo opportunities. The park recommends only four wheel drive and high clearance vehicles attempt to take this road so we pretty much had it to ourselves.

We found numerous lovely spots to stop, appreciate the surroundings and make some images.


Cable Mill Barn - Great Smoky Mountains NP


The following day we returned to Cades Cove and walked around the Cable Mill area.

This is one of the old barns with the mill flume in the foreground.

Cable Mill - Great Smoky Mountains NP




The flume continues a short distance until it reaches the John P. Cable grist mill.



Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains NP


My stepson, Lee, accompanied Barb and I up Rich Mountain Road. It’s another gravel road that leads from Cades Cove twelve miles over Rich Mountain and into Townsend, TN. A couple of miles into the trip there’s a nice panoramic view of the Cove. You can see the little Methodist Church built in 1902 on the left in this image.

Rich Mountain - Great Smoky Mountains NP


The back-lit trees up on Rich Mountain were simply incredible. Deep reds and brilliant yellows all along the way.



Look Rock - Foothills Parkway, TN


The next day Barb, her husband Frank and I ventured over to the Foothills Parkway. It’s Tennessee’s version of the Blue Ridge Parkway and wanders over the ridge tops just outside but, overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This image was shot near Look Rock.


Paddy - Great Smoky Mountains NP


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Paddy, my able photographer’s assistant. She’s our Corgi/Jack Russell mix who loves to “help me” by jumping on rocks and pulling her leash while I try to photograph stuff. What a ham!


Our Cabin - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


We really needn’t drive anywhere to enjoy the fall colors. Simply sitting in a rocking chair on the deck at our cabin was pretty amazing.



Our Cabin - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


Only two days later the view changed dramatically! We got 4 to 5 inches of beautiful heavy snow.




Our Cabin - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


This was shot at the top of Hatcher Mountain looking down on our cabin on the far right and three of the others in our little community. It’s unusual to see snow up here when the fall colors are still near peak.


Mae & Barb at our Cabin -Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN



Everyone had to get out and play in the snow. Here’s Beth’s mom, Mae, along with Barb.



Paddy at our Cabin - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN



Yes, Paddy enjoyed playing in the snow, too. (while “helping” me)



Whitehead Cabin - Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains NP


Just as soon as the road was re-opened, we were back in Cades Cove. This is the old Henry Whitehead place.



Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains NP


Fall snow isn’t common in this area and rarely lasts long in Cades Cove. Only the higher elevations are cold enough to hang onto it.




What can I say? We had great fellowship with close family and some beautiful sights. It was another memorable trip to one of may favorite places on earth.

2 thoughts on “Smokies Fall Colors

  1. Bill, these really are breathtaking pictures! They just get better each time you post! I am sure your little “Able Assistant” is a big help in finding the perfect scenes to photograph! I missed all of the color this year just sitting in my room at Pinecrest.

  2. Great pictures. We had 8 inches at Beech Mtn at that same same snow. Think Paddy is so cute. Hope some day you can take Mackie with y’all to your mountain house. Know she would enjoy it. Glad you had such a great time with Beth’s family. Will send some of 4000 pictures of Africa if I can ever find time to edit them. Take good care , Stewart

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