So here are some of the best places in North Carolina to enjoy the colorful splendor of the fall colors that will show off for you.
Fall is finally here. The pools have closed for the season, Halloween items are on the shelves, and it’s time for cozy evenings in front of a roaring fire. It’s also the time of year to plan a few road trips to soak in some spectacular scenery as fall leaves start changing color. And what better place to enjoy the bursting displays of gold, reds, orange and yellow, than in the state of North Carolina. Leaf viewing season in the Tarheel state can start as early as mid to late September in higher elevations, and reach its peak in mid-October to early November, depending on what area you’re visiting.
Asheville, one of the most visited fall destinations in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, is a small town gem brimming with attractions. Visit the famous Vanderbilt mansion –the Biltmore Estate, the Arboretum, or the WNC Nature Center. Then linger downtown and choose among an array of amazing restaurants, for an incredible day out or mini-break. With easy access to the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, this is a perfect spot to stay for a fall viewing getaway.
Blue Ridge Parkway
And speaking of the Blue Ridge Parkway, what better way to experience the array of different fall colors than from the comfort of your vehicle. The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic routes in America, especially so when the leaves change color. It runs north and south from Asheville, connecting Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Drive a portion of the road, or if you’re feeling ambitious, you can drive all 469-miles. There are many attractions along the route, including quaint mountain towns, awesome hiking trails, and views galore.
The quaint mountain town of Chimney Rock is about a 45-minute drive from Asheville. With stunning cascading waterfalls, family-friendly hiking trails, nearby apple orchards, and Chimney Rock State Park, this is a perfect area to enjoy magnificent fall colors. You can hike up to the top of Chimney Rock at 2,280 ft, and enjoy some spectacular panoramic views of Lake Lure, the Blue Ridge Foothills, and Hickory Nut Gorge. Or you can skip the hike and take the elevator all the way to the top!
The more adventurous among us may want to consider visiting one of the most spectacular ridges in the Pisgah National Forest. At 3,950 ft above sea level, it is quite a hike to the summit, but if you’re ready for a challenge this autumn, and want to experience a breathtaking aerial view of fall’s colorful splendor, you may want to put this hike on your bucket list.
Great Smokey Mountain National Park
Leaves at the highest elevation start turning colors first, so plan accordingly and check the fall leaves forecast before planning a trip here, as they could start changing as early as September. As the tallest point in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Clingmans Dome is one of the favorite spots for fall leaf viewing.