10/07/2011 05:42 pm ET | Updated Nov 28, 2011

Mississippi Fall Foliage: A MapQuest Guide

Mississippi fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing Mississippi fall foliage. — Nick Romano

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive through exceptional scenery,” notes the National Park Service [], with plenty of areas to take in Mississippi fall foliage. Starring roles go to oak, maple, and hickory trees. The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail used to be a single, 500-mile path connecting Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville. Today it’s been split into four different trails, three of which are accessible from Mississippi. Rocky Springs, Tupelo and Ridgeland Trails are all excellent spots for hikers to view the shifting autumn leaves up close. Further south, make sure to stop at Little Mountain Overlook, in Jeff Busby Park (milepost 193.1), when the fall colors are in full bloom.

Little Mountain Overlook, Ackerman, MS 39735 | Get Directions


Many music fans make pilgrimages to Tupelo to pay homage to the King -- Elvis Presley was born here -- but they get a taste of so much more. Tupelo marks the northern half of the Natchez Trace Parkway, where Mississippi's fall foliage peaks in mid- to late October. Leaf peepers will find an abundance of tupelo gum trees -- in fact, these trees, native to the area, gave the town its name.

Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, 306 Elvis Presley Drive, Tupelo, MS 38804 | Get Directions

Clark Creek Natural Area

Mississippi’s Clark Creek Natural Area is home to approximately 40 different waterfalls amid more than 700 acres of woodland. Most falls are visible from the designated hiking paths, which visitors follow while trekking through clusters of beech, magnolia and pine -- as well as a host of unusual trees for the area, including serviceberry, umbrella tree, pyramid magnolia and big-leaf snowball. Rare flora has company in rare fauna here, as well, including the threatened black bear and the Mississippi state endangered fish, the Southern red belly face.

386 Fort Adams Road Woodville, MS 39669| Get Directions

Gorgeous slideshow of fall foliage in Northern Mississippi, particularly around Tupelo and Fulton.

Did we miss a Mississippi fall-foliage spot? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.