The fall color around Asheville is really starting to show itself, especially in elevations around 3,500' and higher. Check out the full fall color report to learn what the experts are saying, and for our recommendations on the best hikes, drives, events and deals of the week.
Fall Color Hunting
This week we turn to Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture at Biltmore, for an update on fall color around the region.
“Around the estate and the Asheville area, Dogwoods and Sourwoods are just starting to color up. This year looks good for dogwood berries – the trees are loaded with them - so you know the song birds will be close by.
We are seeing the first, early color on Black Gums and Red Maple. Both these trees form the backbone of our peak color which builds from the first week of October to the third week of October in the Asheville area. Hickory, Sugar Maple and Oak have lost their summer shine, and will add their color closer to the end of the month through early November, depending on frost.
As usual, autumn tones are picking up in the higher elevations first. A great aspect of WNC is that great color can be seen within a few hours’ drive of Asheville in several directions from early October through early November. In Asheville, our first frost is sometime mid-October, and that seems to be the tipping point for the great color to show up in the latter half of the month.”
Want to take in the best color this weekend? Plan a day trip to the high country and visit Grandfather Mountain, a journey that will take you up 5,946 feet in elevation where fall color is spreading rapidly. Our friends there tell us that Grandfather is a great destination for leaf looking, not only because its high peaks are a good vantage point for looking out across the color on the hillsides below, but because the mountain hosts such a tremendous variety of plant life.
South of Asheville you can travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view expansive mountain vistas. Visit Black Balsam Knob, Sam Knob and Waterrock Knob all provide beautiful scenery at elevations over 6,000’. The highest elevation is Richland Balsam at 6,047’ and reports are coming in that color is making its way through the area.
The Max Patch area should also offer a showing of color this weekend. With an elevation cresting over 4,000’ this mountain bald sits close to the NC/TN border and offers 360-degree views. The Appalachian Trail passes through this area and meanders its way to Hot Springs, which is about 18 miles away by car.
Read the full report for the best fall hikes, events and deals of the week.