Dry weather hurts leaf color in the Smokies

Tom HarringtonOur Town Outdoors

This week Tom Harrington hiked the Abrams Falls trail in Cades Cove from the beginning to the falls. Aha! Before worrying about what happened to him, remember that the trail is one way, in and out.

Wildflowers and Blackberry*

  • Blue Asters – Many – Several varieties. Many at peak bloom.
  • Golden Rod – Some – Some at peak bloom & some beyond peak bloom. Several species.
  • Hawkweed – Few – Mostly at peak bloom.
  • White Top Aster – Some – Some at peak bloom and some beyond peak bloom.

* Yes, a blackberry bush was actually blooming on 9 October.


  • Beech – Near the horseshoe a number of these had nice foliage.
  • Blackberry – Just after the horseshoe a few with red leaves (a lot of brown on the leaves).
  • Blueberry – A few have bright red leaves.
  • Dogwood – Near the beginning of the trail some with colorful foliage.
  • Mountain Maple – A few have foliage that is turning on the cove side of the horseshoe.
  • Red Maple – A few have foliage that is changing; however, the quality of the color is not great.
  • Sourwood – Many with brilliant red foliage (spectacular display).
  • Sugar Maple – A few have changing colors
  • Sumac – Few – The foliage is not very pretty.

It appears that the dry weather is having a negative effect on the quality of the foliage colors. Many leaves have a lot of brown on them besides their normal fall color.

Tom Harrington is a regular hiker who reports on wildflowers in the Smokies.


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