Road trip! Here are our favorite late fall color scenic drives in the mountains of North Carolina:
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic roads in America, with spectacular scenery no matter if you drive north or south from Asheville. A short drive north or south of Asheville has peak color this week. The highest elevations are past peak. Stop at the NC Arboretum or the Folk Art Center for a woodland stroll or hike.
Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway is our second favorite scenic mountain drive with great color right now. From the Blue Ridge Parkway (south of Asheville), take the exit for US 276 Forest Heritage Scenic Byway (at milepost 412 on the Parkway) south to Brevard with Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Cradle of Forestry and the hike to Looking Glass Rock.
Drive US Highway 64 100 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Peak color will be next week in the Chimney Rock and Lake Lure area. This week, best color is in the Hendersonville (stop at the apple orchards!) and Brevard area, heading toward Cashiers and Highlands.
With great color for the next two weeks, take exit 64 off I-40 at Black Mountain to follow the Black Mountain Rag, a scenic route named for an old fiddle tune about the dark green Lauada Firs that give the Black Mountains their name. Coming from Asheville, turn right off the exit ramp at Black Mountain and follow N.C. 9 south towards Bat Cave. The road winds along the Rocky Broad River, joining Hickory Nut Creek near the intersection of U.S. 64, U.S. 74 and N.C. 9 at Bat Cave. Turn left and follow N.C. 9/ U.S. 64 east to the village of Chimney Rock. At Chimney Rock Park you can drive to the top of the Chimney overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge. Continue past Chimney Rock to see beautiful Lake Lure. Turn around at Lake Lure and head back to Asheville on U.S. 74.
For more info on these fall color drives, the latest fall color reports and other things to see and do in the North Carolina Mountains, go to RomanticAsheville.com Travel Guide.