Fall color is arriving in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in the Asheville area. Peak color along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Great Smoky Mountains is expected in mid October. So far in 2016, fall color is running about a week later than usual due to our recent warm weather. The first places to see color are the highest ridges, including Mt. Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain and Mt. Pisgah – with the most color during the second week of October.
For a week-by-week fall foliage forecast, go to www.romanticasheville.com/fall.htm. Also, see frequent photo reports at www.romanticasheville.com/fall-color-report.
The fall color season along the Blue Ridge Parkway will last about 4-5 weeks. While the highest sections of the Parkway will peak in early October, the views down into the valleys will last much of the month. The color show will conclude in the lowest valleys, including the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock areas and the foothills of Rutherford County.
Favorite things to do during the autumn season including hiking, waterfalls and scenic drives. There are many state and national parks to explore, including Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gorges State Park and DuPont State Forest. Get outdoors and enjoy!
Peak Fall Color at Graveyard Fields is usually the second week of October
Fall foliage color this year should be absolutely beautiful in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville. And with our 5,000-foot elevation range in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, we will have one of the longest fall shows in the country. Peak color begins in early October in the highest mountains and ends in the lowest valleys by early November. See the complete Asheville Fall Foliage Forecast. Then, plan your vacation to come of our top 10 places for fall views and when to expect the most color:
- See the first autumn colors in early October on Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in eastern America, with panoramic mountain views from the top. Grandfather Mountain is another top spot for views.
- Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of top scenic drives in the United States. Stop at many overlooks, picnic and hike. Best color is the last three weeks of October, varying with elevation. So if you don’t immediately see color, keep driving!
- Stop at Graveyard Fields along the Blue Ridge Parkway (pic above) in mid October for the some of the most brilliant color in the mountains. Relax by the waterfall or walk through the highland valley. Nearby, hike across mountain balds at Black Balsam Knob for endless views.
- Capture the most photographed waterfall in North Carolina, Linville Falls, surrounded by fall color in mid October. Nearby, see stunning views of Linville Gorge with easy hikes to the top of Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain.
- Visit two areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in mid October. Watch elk graze in the Cataloochee Valley as the male elk make their legendary mating bugling calls, walk woodland trails and explore historic buildings. From Newfound Gap, hike on the Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion for spectacular views. And an early morning view from Clingmans Dome is hard to top.
- Raft down the Nantahala River or take a zip line canopy tour through the colorful woodlands of the Nantahala National Forest in mid October.
- Drive the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway from Brevard in mid October with great stops such as Looking Glass Falls and hikes in the Pisgah National Forest.
- Take a short hike in DuPont State Forest to see three waterfalls, or hike to Cedar Rock for mountain views in late October.
- Explore the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate in late October by foot, bike, car, river raft, horse or Segway. See fall gardens, mountain views and colorful forests.
- Ride the elevator or hike to the famous Chimney Rock with 75-mile views across Lake Lure. The peak fall color show here usually extends into early November.
There are many Fall events and festivals near Asheville to enjoy as well!
Rough Ridge & Grandfather Mountain
Fall Color Report: We found great color today on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain. The hike on Rough Ridge is in peak color. Nearby areas, including the Linn Cove Viaduct, are approaching peak color. Also, we found brilliant colors in Banner Elk and at Beech Mountains. See more fall color photos today from the North Carolina Mountains.