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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Find Fabulous Fall Colors in National Parks

(ARA) - Every year, millions of Americans look forward to autumn and the opportunity to take in the beautiful fall foliage. As deciduous trees across the country begin to shed their leaves, “leaf peeping,” as it is known, becomes a pastime of many travelers.

The national parks offer a serene setting and unmatched views to enjoy this majestic transformation. Our parks preserve hundreds of tree species, which, into November, vibrantly paint the mountains and hillsides and fields with fresh shades of red, orange, yellow and purple.

“Visitors come from miles away each year to experience fall foliage in our national parks. It is truly a spectacular time of year,” says Mark Wenzler, director of Clean Air and Climate Programs for the National Parks Conservation Association.


Here are a few national park sites beloved for their brilliant fall foliage:


Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee, North Carolina) usually experiences a fall foliage season that lasts several weeks. Park trees change colors at various times, depending mostly on elevation. At mid and lower-level elevations, the color display typically reaches peak between mid-October and early November. The park attracts leaf peepers, who want a glimpse of the nearly 100 native tree species, most of which are deciduous. Some of the more vibrant trees include hickories, sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum and red maple.

The fall foliage display at Great Smoky Mountains remains one of the best in the country. For more information about fall foliage at Great Smoky Mountains, please visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit.

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is known for its extensive cave system -- the longest in the world. However, visitors have ample opportunity to explore other features of this national park, as well. Mammoth Cave preserves the forested Kentucky hills, which offer numerous trails for hikers to explore and observe the vibrant fall foliage. Oak, tulip poplar and sassafras are among the trees that scatter park forests and attract leaf peepers annually.

For an updated webcam shot of fall foliage at the park, please visit http://nature.nps.gov/air.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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