Here in Western North Carolina, we’ve had record breaking warmth for most of autumn. In fact, fall was nowhere to be seen for all of September and halfway through October. Then, all at once, we “turned a new leaf,” the chilly weather descended, and it is seemingly here to stay!
So what does that mean for catching the best of the mountains’ fall colors this year? Well, by most predictions, peak leaf season is going to be extended in Asheville, Waynesville, and the surrounding areas by about 2 weeks! And, as always, foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains changes colors at different times, depending on elevation, which means you have a long and meandering season to enjoy the vibrancy of fall in Western North Carolina. The wonderful news is that this enchanting time of year has only just begun, and you can expect to enjoy “peak” colors in many places up until Thanksgiving!
Here’s a round up of some of our most favorite spots to enjoy this brilliant time of year, and the times when you’re most likely to catch the colors at their best and brightest this year!
October 19-31st: Elevation of 4,000 ft+
The higher altitudes are just now precipitating fall’s colorful transformation. Starting this weekend, and throughout the next several weeks, Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC, will be a spectacular place to witness this season’s magic! Another special leaf-peeping mountain is none other than Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, at 6,684ft in elevation. Since leaf season is running a few weeks late, colors should be quite a sight through the end of the month.
October 25- November 11: Elevation of 3,000- 5,000 ft
There are plenty of gorgeous trails and vistas within this “sweet spot” elevation range in Western North Carolina. Pisgah National Forest has a range of elevations. Some of the best spots between 3,000 -5,000ft to view in late October and early November include Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls, two majestic waterfalls in Brevard, NC. Other areas include Linville Gorge, Nantahala Gorge, and the nearby vista of Waterrock Knob in Maggie Valley.
October 30-Thanksgiving: Elevation of 2,000- 3,500 ft
The unexpectedly extended leaf season means that our area’s lower elevations are predicted to showcase the fall’s signature vibrancy until Thanksgiving! A perfect leaf-peeping spot at this time and elevation is Lake Junaluska, a mere 4 miles from Oak Hill on Love Lane in Waynesville! Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, and Blowing Rock are all excellent options, as well, as is the charming town of Black Mountain!
We hope you will enjoy this year’s surprisingly long autumn, and will take advantage of this guide; we still have a few charming rooms available for bookings throughout November here at our inn, so get in touch, and let us help you curate a spectacular fall getaway in the mountains!