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Fall Foliage In The Ozarks - Home Page

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Ozark Fall Foliage Information
Foliage Home Page
When Is The Peak?
Ozark Fall Foliage Photos
Best Foliage Driving Tours
Glade Top Trail National Scenic Byway Driving Tour
About Ozarks Trees
Day Hike & Mountain Bike Trail
Compared: Ozarks Foliage to New England Foliage
Ozark Foliage Color - What Makes It Happen?
Photography Tips for Fall
Wildlife and Color
How We Prepare Our Reports
Reporting Area Map


Area Tourist Interests
Free Travel Information Request Form
Lodging & Recreation
Local Weather


South Central Ozarks
Recreation & Lodging Directories
South Central Ozarks Area
White & North Fork River Area
Mountain Home Arkansas Area
Bull Shoals Lake Area
Buffalo National River

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Ozark Fall Foliage Information
5 Rules For Long Range Trip Planning for Fall In The Ozarks
Want to plan your October foliage trip weeks or months in advance? This is how to do it.

When Is Peak?
Actually there are two peaks! You'll need to plan for one or the other, or if you want both, plan on a 3 week trip in the area.

2Cooleys Ozark Fall Foliage Photo Tours
Peak color from the air, highways, back roads, on water, and in the understory
Area Foliage Driving Tours
Whether you have just a couple of hours, or want to make a whole day of "leaf-peeping". Main highways to back country dirt roads
The Glade Top Trail National Scenic Byway Driving Tour
This is one of our personal favorites. Few places in the Ozarks have better views and better fall foliage color. This is also where you'll find the awesome American smoke tree
Day Hikes & Mountain Bike Trails
Pigeon Creek National Recreation Trail System on Norfork Lake has miles of well-marked trails. Go for a short walk or make a day of it.
The Syllamo Mountain Bike & Hiking Trails
50 miles of well maintained mountain bike trails also used for hiking. In the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest, this is a great place for hiking, biking, birding, and photography. It is between Mountain Home, Arkansas, and Mountain View, Arkansas.
Request Area Lodging & Recreation Information
Get information by email or by U.S. Postal Service from area lodging and recreation operators. In the Comment box be sure to say you are coming for fall foliage and want fall foliage information.
KY3 Area Weather Forecast
In 16 years of reporting we found that TV station KY3 out of Springfield Missouri has had the most accurate weather forecast. You'll need their weather reports.
Ozarks Fall Foliage Color - What Makes It Happen?
Explains what weather conditions create a spectacular foliage display.
Photography Tips for Fall Wildlife and Fall Foliage
Not how to use a camera, but where and when. Written for serious amateurs and pros.
Quick Guide To Getting Out Into Ozark Fall Foliage
By Water Or Land, Public Or Remote
Take your choice. You can leaf-peep by either land or boat, or both. If your goal is just seeing as much brilliant color as possible in a day or two, stick to the secondary paved roads. Stay on the main highways if your time is limited to an hour or two. For the full adventure travel the secondary paved roads and the back country dirt roads, and then spend some time on the water.

Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake both have marinas and small resorts renting lake boats. On the North Fork and White rivers, you can rent river John boats at resorts and trout docks. You can rent a river boat with, or without a guide. If you want to float the rivers for fall color keep in mind the foliage along the rivers turns earlier than any other fall color. Since most of the trees along the river banks are Sycamores the color will be almost all yellow. Plan your river foliage trip for the second week of October. Peak color up on the ridges happens at the end of October. Lake fall color appears in spots as the lakes are lined with large evergreen cedar glades which do not change color.

You can stay on main paved highways, explore paved secondary roads, or if you want that Outback Adventure, follow the many back country dirt roads.

The Smoke Tree Experience
The American Smoke Tree has, what is in our opinion, the most beautiful fall color of all trees. It's brilliant oranges, pinks, and scarlets are just beautiful. Though only little more than 20 feet high, you can see a smoke tree in peak color a mile away. However, smoke trees turn early, much earlier than other trees, typically in the first week of October. The best place to see smoke trees is along the Glade Top Trail near Ava, Missouri but you'll need to be there in early October. You can see a few smoke trees later in the month near Mountain View, Arkansas along Highway 314 on our Sylamore Tour.

By Main Paved Highways
State Highway 62/412 is the main highway running east and west through the Arkansas Ozark Mountains. If you want to stay in your vehicle and drive at highway speeds, this is a good highway to run. Several towns along highway 62/412 have restaurants, gas stations, etc. The major north/south highway is State Highway 5 which runs through both the Arkansas and Missouri Ozark Mountains. We recommend driving highways only if you have a limited amount of time. You'll enjoy Ozarks foliage so much more if you take the secondary and back roads!

By Secondary Paved Paved
Secondary highways are paved roads running out into rural areas. They connect small towns and the farms in between. Traffic is much lighter on these roads, speed limits are lower, and there are more safe spots to pull off the road. Secondary roads also put you closer to the hills where color is best. Stopping in at the small country stores and restaurants is a true Norman Rockwell Americana experience!

Back Country Dirt Roads
Most county roads that really put you up close and in touch with fall foliage have dirt surfaces. While well maintained they are dusty. There are hundreds of miles of these county roads running all through the Ozarks. Pack a picnic lunch, make sure you have a good County map or two, and pick a series of roads which roughly form a circle so that you end up back where you started. While this is a great to see area foliage, it is also a great way to get lost if you are not careful. And if you don't want your car getting dusty, don't run these roads! The dust is light and cleans off easily in any car wash. Cellphone signal is spotty in these areas so don't rely on cell phones. Fortunately the locals are friendly and will be glad to help out if you get lost. For Back County drives visit our Sylamore Back Country where you'll find printable maps and Point-By-Point Directions.



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