Best time to travel to Nashville, TN

Fall Colors in Nashville, TN 2024

From urban parks to railway routes—fall in Nashville and beyond is fantastic

Best time: mid-October–early November

Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Fall in Radnor Lake State Park, Tennessee
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When fall is in full swing, it's time to witness trees change their colors. Whether you choose an active hike or a cozy train ride, the Nashville area is a true autumnal wonderland.

Peak Fall Foliage Season

After the warm days of summer and early fall are gone, the air temperature drops sharply in Middle Tennessee. The temperature shifts and the amount of rain in the spring are the keys to having those bright fall leaves. As the middle of October arrives, fall colors reach their peak in Nashville and the areas nearby. To not miss the moment, pack for a color tour from mid-October and no later than the first week of November.

Best Places to See Fall Leaves in Nashville

Known for its vibrant country music scene, Nashville's scenery turns yellow and red during fall, with visitors flocking to the city's parks and gardens for fall foliage snapshots. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park offers a serene environment, where you can enjoy nature and wildlife in its natural habitat. The Fall Foliage Excursion, on the other hand, will whisk you away on a stunning journey through Tennessee and its hidden nooks.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

To enjoy fall foliage within the city of Nashville, check Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. This historic site is home to a variety of tree types lined along the main lawn, all native to the state of Tennessee. Boasting coppery-red and yellow foliage, a wide range of deciduous trees, including cypresses, pawpaw trees, redbuds, and oaks, stand tall in the park's landscape. Sugar maples are especially beautiful during the cozy season, with their leaves gradually turning from bright yellow to fiery orange and red. Red maples are usually the first trees to start the leaf changing process, so you're most likely to witness their foliage in October.

A welcome addition to the fall foliage sights is the 95-Bell Carillon, one of the main attractions of the park. You can hear the bells ringing every fifteen minutes from 6 am until 11 pm and even a state's signature song each hour. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park operates from 7 am until 10 pm. All Tennessee State Parks offer free admission, so it's a budget-friendly option for those wanting to enjoy a day out in the sun.

Tennessee Central Railway Excursion (October 26, 2024)

Another exciting option is taking a train from Tennessee Central Railway Museum and enjoying the view comfortably from the window. The station offers a memorable Fall Foliage Excursion—120-miles through the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee. Departing from the Tennessee Central Railway Museum eastward of Nashville, the train will take you on an exciting journey through the magnificent sights of the Volunteer State.

The boarding begins at 10 am, with departure scheduled at 11 am, with the trip lasting until 5 pm. There are two seating options: coach seats and dome seats. Coach seat costs $90 per person, while a dome seat costs $180. Tickets for children under 12 cost $40. All passes include food and beverage options.

Best Places to See Fall Colors Outside Nashville

Those looking for an outdoor adventure can find plenty of places to feel fully immersed in the fall colors. Luckily, Nashville is surrounded by multiple parks, lakes, and recreation areas, filled to the brim with lush trees transforming into fiery heaven during fall.

Edwin & Percy Warner Parks

Edwin Warner Park and Percy Warner Park feature more than 3,000 ac (1200 ha) of nature and are great either for a hike or a drive. Both parks collectively boast an expansive area of over 3,000 acres (1,214 ha) and more than 60 miles of hiking trails. The signature limestone steps at an entrance to Percy Warner Park are surrounded by lush oaks, maples, and even fruit trees. Both parks are open from dawn until 11 pm year-round. Admission is completely free.

Radnor Lake State Park

Radnor Lake State Park is an excellent place to gaze at colorful trees reflecting in the water. While at the park, you have a chance to witness a rich variety of native trees, shrubs and meadows, adorning the grounds. The wildlife is also quite fascinating due to bird migration in this time of the year. Numerous hiking trails, with their level ranging from easy to difficult, offer an amazing opportunity to take in the sights of the Radner Lake. The natural area of the park is open from 6 am until after sunset, while restrooms are open from 7 am until dark. Admission is also free.

Long Hunter State Park

To witness even more magnificent fall foliage sights at the lakeshore, consider visiting Long Hunter State Park, located 25 miles east of Nashville. The park's grounds offer numerous hiking options to enjoy the fall season. One of the easier ones is the Inland Trail, by following the route of which you'll witness various types of trees, like hickories, yellow buckeyes, and sassafras. The trees turn all shades of yellow and red, signaling the onset of fall. The park operates from 7 am until sunset with free admission to the public.

Peeler Park

In Peeler Park, the autumn scene is even more special because of the Cumberland River snaking through the park. A hidden gem even to the locals, the park's grounds are filled to the brim with wildlife species, including blue jays, deer, and great blue herons. The main attraction is the Peeler Park Greenway, a well-marked trail through the wooded area of the park, which is sure to make for stunning fall foliage pictures. The area is open year-round and is great for walking, running or biking.

Old Natchez Trace

And of course, you can't go wrong when going for a fall foliage hunt on the Old Natchez Trace that promises some 440 miles (710 km) of breathtaking views from Nashville to Natczhez in Mississippi. Hickory, maples, and oaks are especially prevalent in the area and turn beautiful shades of yellow and red during the fall season. You can start at the Western entry point close to the Loveless Café on Highway 100.

Practical info

When is the best time to see fall colors in Nashville, TN and the surrounding areas?

The ideal time to witness the vivid autumn colors in Nashville, TN, and the neighboring area of Edwin and Percy Warner parks is from the mid of October till the start of November. During this period, visitors can enjoy sharp drops in temperatures and the best views of fall colors. Show more

Where are the best places in Nashville to see fall foliage?

Nashville is home to several beautiful sites that are popular for fall foliage, such as Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park consisting of different varieties of trees, Tennessee Central Railway Museum that offers 120 miles of fantastic scenic views and hiking and driving experiences at Edwin Warner, Percy Warner, Radnor Lake State, and Long Hunter State parks. Visitors can also explore the amazing Old Natchez Trace for breathtaking views of fall foliage. Show more

What are some unique ways to enjoy fall colors, besides hiking and driving?

Apart from hiking and driving, visitors can enjoy fall colors through unique experiences like the Fall Foliage Excursion train ride that covers over 120 miles of unobstructed views by Tennessee Central Railway Museum or rent a paddleboard or kayak to explore Radnor Lake. It is the perfect place to witness stunning reflections of trees peacefully and take pictures for memories. Show more

What is the Old Natchez Trace and where can I find it?

Old Natchez Trace is a historical 440 miles long trail that runs from Nashville, TN, to Natchez, Mississippi, following a traditional Native American path. It was known as the primary trade route during the antebellum period. Visitors can access this trail through the western entry point situated near the Loveless Café on Highway 100, which offers mesmerizing views of autumn colors. Show more

What other outdoor activities can I do in Nashville during the fall season?

In addition to enjoying fall colors at several locations, visitors can indulge themselves in other outdoor activities. They can opt for a gelato-making class, explore apple orchards and pumpkin patches, try ziplining, unwind at relaxing spas, or hit taprooms to taste Nashville's seasonal flavors. They can also join brewery tours to get a taste of the best brews the city has to offer. Finally, fall festivals like Tennessee State Fair or Oktoberfest are a must-visit during this period. Show more

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