The most popular question each fall in the North Carolina mountains is “When is peak color?” To help with vacation planning, we produce a week-by-week color forecast for the mountains surrounding Asheville, with help from experts from Biltmore, Chimney Rock and the North Carolina Arboretum. Better color is expected this year than last. Last year, the extreme summer heat took a toll on the trees and the color was not as vibrant as in previous years. This year, we have been cooler, so the trees are still very healthy.
Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture for Biltmore, agrees, “The maples, gum trees and sourwoods still have good strong leaves, with few diseases. We can expect those trees to shine, with the sourwoods, leading the color in early October and maples and gums providing color later in the month.”
Strong color should last for approximately four weeks. According to Matt Popowski from Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, “Our Blue Ridge Mountain range features one of most colorful and longest leaf color displays in the U.S., attracting visitors from around the world. Typically starting in early October, the peak leaf season explodes with a variety of colors at over 6,000 feet elevation, spreading down the mountain and reaching a grand finale in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock.”
For the week-by-week forecast, see our Asheville Fall color forecast and top places to see color, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, Biltmore, Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.