4 Unique Ways to See Fall Foliage


As the leaves transmute from verdant shades of green into yellows, oranges, reds and browns, it is time to plan a trip to see the beauty of the season. While there are many wonderful places to drive or hike in Middle Tennessee to see the changing leaves, sometimes it is fun to discover a non-traditional way to explore nature’s beauty. Here are five ways to look at the turn of seasons from a different perspective.

1Take a Helicopter Ride Over the Rolling Countryside

Helistar is a local company that offers helicopter flights over Nashville’s skyline, but they also do specialty packages. Their pilots spend hundreds of hours in the sky and they have a very different view of the world below– literally. Familiar with local terrain, they are more than willing to share their insight and assist you in designing a custom Heli-tour to see the changing leaves in and around Nashville.

Headquartered at the John C. Tune Airport in West Nashville, they can take you on breathtaking tours over the hills and valleys in and around the wilder sections of the Cumberland River just a few miles away from town. There are vast undeveloped lands with beautiful foliage that cannot be seen from the ground.

This is a bucket list item worth pursuing. Helistar can chart a custom Heli-tour by giving them a call at 833-359-6387 or email them at [email protected].

2Take a Train Ride

Experience Autumn as you never have before. There are two train services offering Fall Foliage tours in October, Tennessee Central Railway Museum in Nashville and Tennessee Valley Railroad out of Chattanooga and Delano.

Tennessee Central Railway offers several excursions exclusively devoted to fall foliage. The Tennessee Valley Railroad takes tours through the beautiful Tennessee Valley or up the natural elegance of the Hiwassee River. The fall colors are at their peak in the forests near the Hiwassee River, and there’s no better way to enjoy them than on a scenic rail excursion.

Just climb aboard one of these old-fashioned trains and let the sound of the click-clack of the wheels on the rails relax you and take you back in time to simpler days. Especially in club cars with their glass ceilings, you’ll see some of the most stunning flora and fauna in all of Tennessee.

3Float Over the Trees in a Hot Air Balloon

If you have never been in a hot air balloon, there is nothing quite like it. There is no sense of height or flight, it is as if you are viewing the world from a floating cloud. Flying over the earth below in a hot air balloon where all you hear is the hiss of the burner and the sound of the air scuttling through the trees below is a true adventure.

While this adventure requires a significant financial investment, a private tour over one of Middle Tennessee’s natural areas to see the autumn leaves is something you will never forget. The balloon ascends at dawn and after a three-hour tour, you will touch down to a champagne or mimosa toast. You can even bring a picnic breakfast if you’d like. Best carried to your landing destination by the chasers who will be following your flight from below.

Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures, located in Franklin, Tennessee, will be more than happy to put together a special fall package. Father and son owners Henry and Logan Bedford are both skilled plane and hot air balloon pilots who have years of experience flying commercially and in competitions.  They can be reached at https://www.tnballoon.com/ or by calling 615-584-6236.

4Cruise the Cumberland on a Riverboat

While the General Jackson is best known for dining and entertainment, the day cruise also provides an opportunity to enjoy fall foliage. The day cruise begins at 11:15 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. The cruise leaves from the dock near Opry Mills in Donelson.

Their current mid-afternoon show is called Tennessee Legends. It celebrates the music and stories of top entertainers who have called this state home. The show features sounds from East Tennessee to Memphis and from Dolly Parton to the King, Elvis. Top local performers will sing, play guitars and fiddles, and dance to create a musical treat.

Also served on board is great food — so you can eat, see a great show and still have time to view the beautiful changing season. Reservations can be made here.

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