Fall colors are showing at Bays Mountain

(From the City of Kingsport)
(From the City of Kingsport)

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – The leaves are changing. The air is cool and crisp. Now, is your chance to check out the fall colors at Bays Mountain.

This week and next week are the peak times to view the spectacular colors at one of the Tri-Cities’ most popular nature walks.

Extra barge rides have been added to the weekend of October 15-16 to allow visitors more chances to enjoy the colors around the lake.

Rides will be scheduled for 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Cost is $5.00 per person.

Bays Mountain Panoramic (Source: Brandon Hicks, WJHL)
Bays Mountain Panoramic (Source: Brandon Hicks, WJHL)

Below is an excerpt from an article on ‘Autumn in the Southern Appalachians’ by retired Bays Mountain Park Director Tom Bowman:

“We are often asked why autumn in southern Appalachia is so colorful. It is because of the tremendous species diversity of the trees in our area. I came originally from western Kansas. Though beautiful in its own way, there exists in that area fewer than a dozen dominant tree species. Most exist in riparian communities along streams. Fall leaf color is pretty much species specific. Fewer trees and fewer tree varieties amount to less color. It is said there are more tree species in southern Appalachia than on the entire continent of Europe. There are 110 species of trees in Bays Mountain alone. Couple this diversity with some basic leaf ‘chemistry’ and the product is a multi-colored palate.”

The city of Kingsport says leaf chemistry happens year-round. Varying bright yellows, and oranges are dominant in hickories, ash, maples, birch, and sassafras.

For more information on Bays Mountain, please visit http://baysmountain.com or call 423-224-2589.

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