Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color Guide

Autumn Foliage and Leaf Watching on the Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Autumn Leaf Watching seen from Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain - Fall

The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is an ideal place to view this region's spectacular fall color. With the Blue Ridge Parkway extending hundreds of miles north to south and varying in elevation from about 600 feet to over 6,000 feet, there is considerable variation in when and where the fall foliage will reach its peak. Generally, though, the leaves begin to change to their autumn hues in late September at elevations above 5,000 feet. Throughout October the leaf color intensifies and slowly moves down the mountain slopes, usually ending in the coves and gorges around the first week in November. If you drive some distance on the Parkway in mid to late October you are sure to experience some brilliant displays of Nature's beauty.

Here are a few tips to consider when planning a fall leaf viewing trip:

  • Check the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau's fall color report to see where the leaf color is most intense.
  • If you plan to spend the night, make reservations early. Hotels and inns get booked up early at this time of year.
  • Bring a jacket. It is often considerably cooler in the mountains than in town, especially in the higher elevations.
  • Bring a camera to capture the magnificent beauty of the mountains in autumn.
  • If you are planning a long drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, bring a picnic lunch or at least some snacks and drinks, as there are few restaurants and they are likely to be crowded.

Blue Ridge Parkway

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Fall Color and Leaf Watching on the Blue Ridge Parkway