Ozark Fall Foliage Trip Planning Guidelines
for the North Central Arkansas & South Central
Norfork Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, White
River, Glade Top Trail, and Ozark National Forest areas
Please Note! We No Longer Produce Annual Foliage Reports. Why?
Long-Range Planning Guidelines Needed Instead
Foliage reports have no value to folks planning a fall trip weeks or months in advance.
They need a long-range planning guide instead. Locals can see what is happening so they
don't need a report either.
5 Guidelines For Long-Range Ozarks
Foliage Trip Planning
After 16 consecutive years of foliage reporting we can, within a
narrow margin of error, predict when to arrive for a grand Fall in the Ozarks experience.
Follow the five guidelines outlined below. For more details on any guideline click the
1 - Every Ozark Fall Has Color
Quantity and quality of fall color is entirely dependent upon fall weather conditions -
temperature, sunlight, and fall rains. Summer drought has very little effect on fall
2 - Watch Ozark-Specific Weather
It takes cool sunny days with temperatures no higher than high 60's, and cooler night
temperatures in the low 50's to low 40's. Warm cloudy days and warm nights kill color
development. A light frost helps. A heavy frost is not good. Watch local weather
3 - Choose A Color Peak
There are TWO foliage peaks in the Ozarks, the False Peak (October 14 - 20) and the True
Peak (Oct 26-Nov 5). They are 6 to10 days apart, each lasts about 4 to 5 days. Arrive
between these two peaks and you will not enjoy strong color. Details
4 - You Find The Color
There are no well organized foliage
tours here. You find the color on your own. In Details we give links to routes and tours as well as organized
"print and bring" maps. Tours include dining, shopping, and attractions along
foliage routes. Start by clicking the links below under Our Favorite Foliage Drives.
5 - Take What Officials Predict With A Grain
The years we experienced spectacular color were the
years experts said there would be poor color. Indeed these experiences are what lead us to
produce our Fall in the Ozarks reports! Know the basics of Ozarks fall foliage and you can
read between the lines of what reports are saying - or not saying. Details
Our Favorite Foliage
2012 Glade Top Trail
Photos - Taken Oct. 21, 2012
14 photos of color on the
Glade Top Trail
Peak Photographs - Taken Oct. 20, 2012
14 photos showing
developing second peak colors - photos 15 through 28
2012 First Peak Photographs - Taken Oct. 15, 2012
14 photos showing first peak
colors this year - photos 1 through 14
If you have not run the Glade Top before be
sure to visit our Glade Top Trail guide.
If you want that special "foliage over
water" scene, check out Gunner Pool and Mirror Lake at Blanchard Springs Caverns.
Gunner is Point 25 and Blanchard is Point 24 on our Sylamore Tour Guide.
These self-guided tours show points of interest, plus gas stations, restaurants and
diners, shopping, attractions, and a long list of other needs.
Why We Recommend
Highway 341 In Baxter County, Arkansas
Looking at our map you
can see that Highway 341 (A.K.A. Push Mountain Road) is on the west side of our reporting
area. It runs from Point 43 down to Point 28 on our map. This is a true Ozark Mountains
road with a lot of twists and turns. There are many side roads you can pull into, park,
and get out for a beautiful up close look at understory color. Several hiking trails with
good parking lots sit right off Highway 341.
There are many wildflowers and beautiful grasses along the
way. Most importantly for fall color, there is the largest population of sweet and black
gum trees next to the road that we know of. Gum trees have the most diverse fall colors of
all trees. Nowhere else that we know of has this many gum trees.
There is less traffic on 341 than most other paved roads.
There is a wide-open overlook at Point 42. There are several hiking trails, and several
back country roads (well marked on our map) you can drive from off 341. Take 341 down to
Highway 14 and it's just a 10 minute drive to the Sylamore Creek National Scenic River
Corridor. There you will find Barkshed, Gunner Pool, and Blanchard Springs Caverns
Recreation Areas. If you want to see foliage over water, you can do so at all three
(Point 24 on our map) is, in our opinion, a must-see. It's far more than just a
cavern tour. Hiking trails, picnic spots, a historic site, a small lake with a water fall,
a large spring, a large bluff, bathrooms, paved roads, and gorgeous scenery make this one
of our favorite spots. The gift store at Blanchard Springs is well worth the visit and is
staffed by a friendly, helpful staff. Then, the town of Mountain View, Arkansas is a
scenic 11 mile run from Blanchard Springs, and the Ozark Folk Center is about 14 miles
away. It will take a whole day to visit Blanchard, the Folk Center, and Mountain View.
On the northern end of Highway 341 you'll find the Norfork
National Trout Hatchery that's open every day except Christmas, Norfork Dam Parks, Norfork
Lake, the North Fork River, and Dry Run Creek. At Dry Run you can watch trout leap the
waterfall, one of the few places in the world you'll see trout (not salmon) jumping
There are few buildings along Highway 341. Most of the road
is through primitive wilderness. But you're no more than 30 minutes from several
small towns having food, gas, shopping, stores, pharmacies, restrooms, etc. For even more
things to see and do, come back to Point 1 via Scenic Highway 5 through the little
villages of Calico Rock and Norfork. There's even an old railroad era historic park in
Calico, as well as a small railroad museum.
For complete details (our map even shows where you'll get
cell signal) visit: