Two nights of frost this week could quickly turn the remaining green leaves to brilliant fall foliage in the next week or so, which means this could be a great time to visit middle and lower elevations such as Asheville, Black Mountain, Weaverville and Chimney Rock Park.
Although some of the highest elevations are now passing their peak colors, many are still reporting some captivating displays of fall leaves.
Fall Color Report (2,500 Elevation and Below)
The fall color is truly exploding at the middle and lower elevations, where there is also still much green remaining to extend the foliage season into November.
John McFerrin, owner of Take a Hike in Black Mountain, said the color is emerging quickly there. "We're starting to see the yellows pop out closer to the valleys," he said. "There’s still a lot of green. I expect these last two nights where it's gotten down around freezing to really pop the colors."
At Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace State Historic Site in Weaverville, the color is stunning. "Lots of yellows, very good colors," said Victor Burgess, historic site assistant. "These are the best colors I've seen here in the past three years."
At Biltmore, the warm weather recently has stretched out the fall color season. "The maples are still holding on to good color and many of the hickory trees are in full yellow gold color," said Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture. "Gum trees, sassafras, sourwoods and beeches will hold on well for another week or so. The hillsides are starting to show good color so the last week of October looks to be the peak of fall color for our elevation."
Leaf watchers at the Cherokee Welcome Center in Cherokee and Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in Dillsboro both reported some color has past, but there is still some green waiting to change as well as pockets of fall colors.
At Chimney Rock Park during early and mid-November, fall color should advance to the point where red maples, sourwoods, dogwoods and blackgums are about halfway to their brightest display. Yellow-colored hickories and poplars will be starting, with some reaching their peaks, according to Park Naturalist Ron Lance.
Fall Color Report (Above 2,500 Feet)
At Grandfather Mountain, high winds over the weekend blew most of the leaves from the trees above 3,700 feet, but there is still an abundance of color in the lower elevations. Grandfather Mountain's Swinging Bridge makes a great vantage point for looking out across the fall foliage in the valleys.
There are not a lot of leaves left in the highest elevations (above 4,000 feet), but the show has just started in the 3,000-foot elevations near Elk Park, Boone and Valle Crucis. There will also be lots of fall foliage to see along the major routes coming up from the foothills.