Fall Foliage Color in Asheville, North Carolina
Fall Foliage Color Asheville, North Carolina
Fall Travel Trips
The fall foliage color show in western North Carolina attracts visitors from around the world. With the 5,000-foot elevation change within 50 miles of Asheville, the lush Blue Ridge Mountain range puts on one of the longest-running color displays in the country.
Since the date for peak color changes each year due to varying weather patterns. October to Early November. No matter when folks plan an autumn visit in October or early November, they can take a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to find the best color.
Elevation and weather are the biggest factors in the timing of the color show. Since leaf coloration is the result of pigment changes that are influenced by the weather, last minute weather changes can speed or slow the process.During the last couple autumns, the warmer and wetter than average conditions delayed the peak color for one or two weeks. Here is current prediction of the progression of the color show.
Most Years Fall Colors Timing
- October 5-15: Highest elevations north of Asheville above 5,000 feet show the most color, especially at Mount Mitchell, Craggy Gardens and Grandfather Mountain.
- October 13-22: Color will increase in elevations greater than 4,000 feet, including the Mount Pisgah and Cold Mountain area, southwest of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park .
- October 19-28: Many of the surrounding mountains around Asheville should show plenty of color this week, especially in the 3,000-4,000 foot elevation range. Take the Parkway north or south from Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest.
- October 24-November 3: The city of Asheville (2,000 foot elevation) and Biltmore Estate] shows the brightest colors this week, along with areas around Hendersonville and Brevard. This would be the perfect week for a waterfall hike in Dupont State Forest.
- October 29-November 8: The color show will conclude in the Chimney Rock area (elevation of 1,300 feet). Ride to the top of Chimney Rock or take a boat tour on Lake Lure to enjoy the colors.
Here are some tips to help you plan an Asheville escape to enjoy the spectacular autumn colors:
- Make your room reservations early. Many times, weekends are booked at inns, cabins and hotels weeks in advance. But you can also check for last minute cancellations!
- To avoid the biggest crowds, stay on Sunday through Thursday nights. Saturdays during October are extremely busy at attractions such as Biltmore Estate, and highways and country roads will be more heavily trafficked.
- Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. With the varying elevations along the Parkway, this is the quickest way to find the best areas for color. The elevation of the Parkway around the city of Asheville is approximately 2,200 feet, and it rises to 5,000+ feet as you drive north or south. When you find a particular area of brilliant foliage, stop to walk along a trial or take a detour on one of the intersecting roads. Be patient and expect slow traffic, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. Parking at overlooks can be difficult.
- See the color show from a raft on the river! You can take a calm float trip down the French Broad River through the Biltmore Estate. Or you can take an exciting whitewater rafting trip down one of four area rivers.
- If you encounter fog (low clouds) on the Parkway, don’t despair. The weather can change rapidly. It could be very sunny an hour later. Fog is most frequent in the mornings, and it can create interesting photo opportunities.
- Take a picnic or snacks for the Parkway. The few restaurants along the Parkway will be very crowded.
- Fill up the gas tank before taking a scenic drive out of the city. Gas stations are sparse in remote areas and along the Parkway.
- Bring a sweater or jacket. While it might be 70 and sunny in Asheville, it may be misty and 20 degrees cooler at the higher elevations.
- Take your camera. The warm light of the early morning or late afternoon can create especially dramatic images.
- Bring binoculars for bird watching. It brings a distant picturesque view a bit closer.
For the latest updates on the autumn color in the Asheville, North Carolina area, go to RomanticAsheville.com, an extensive, free online travel guide.