With a 5,000-foot elevation change within 50 miles of Asheville, North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Mountains have one of the longest-running fall color displays in the country. Here are 10 fabulous fall spots to enjoy the color show:
- Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the country’s top scenic drives! Stop at many overlooks, picnic and hike. Color peaks early October in highest elevations, ending late October in the valleys.
- See the first colors of the season atop of Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Rockies, with panoramic views from the observation deck.
- Enjoy roadside views or walk through Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This highland valley with two waterfalls is surrounded by 6,000-foot peaks and puts on a brilliant color show.
- See one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country, Linville Falls. Hike trails to several vantage points to see this waterfall and the Linville Gorge.
- Watch many elk graze a short distance away in the Cataloochee Valley section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each fall, male elk make their legendary bugling calls. Also hike woodland trails and explore historic buildings.
- Drive the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway (US 276) from Brevard to the Blue Ridge Parkway, with great stops such as Looking Glass Falls, a challenging hike to Looking Glass Rock and a tour of the Cradle of Forestry.
- Take a short hike in DuPont State Forest to see three waterfalls, or hike to the top of Cedar Rock for colorful mountain views, with best color in late October.
- Stroll through the gardens and forest trails at the North Carolina Arboretum, attend the Chrysanthemum Show, and see the tiniest color show with their extensive Bonsai display.
- Choose from a variety of outdoor activities at Biltmore Estate. By foot, bike, car, horse or Segway – see thousands of colorful mums, mountain views and lush forests.
- Hike to the top of the famous Chimney Rock with 75-mile views overlooking Lake Lure. The fall color show ends here, best in late October and early November.
For more details on these, the latest fall foliage week-by-week forecast and top fall festivals, go to www.romanticasheville.com/fall.htm.