Top 10 Spots for Fall Color
(September 2011 Update) With a 5,000-foot elevation change within 50 miles of Asheville, the lush Blue Ridge Mountains have one of the longest-running fall color displays in the country. For the latest fall foliage week-by-week forecast, go to www.romanticasheville.com/fall.htm.
Here are our top 10 spots to enjoy the show!
1. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the country’s top scenic drives! Stop at many overlooks, picnic and hike. Color peaks early October in highest elevations, ending late October in the valleys.
2. See the first colors of the season atop of Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Rockies, with panoramic views from the observation deck.
3. Enjoy roadside views or walk through Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This highland valley with two waterfalls (see photo) is surrounded by 6,000-foot peaks and puts on a brilliant color show.
4. See one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country, Linville Falls. Hike trails to several vantage points to see this waterfall and the Linville Gorge.
5. Watch many elk graze a short distance away in the Cataloochee Valley section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each fall, male elk make their legendary bugling calls. Also hike woodland trails and explore historic buildings.
6. Drive the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway (US 276) from Brevard to the Blue Ridge Parkway, with great stops such as Looking Glass Falls, a challenging hike to Looking Glass Rock and a tour of the Cradle of Forestry.
7. Take a short hike in DuPont State Forest to see three waterfalls, or hike to the top of Cedar Rock for colorful mountain views, with best color in late October.
8. Stroll through the gardens and forest trails at the North Carolina Arboretum, attend the Chrysanthemum Show, and see the tiniest color show with their extensive Bonsai display. Garden shrubs contribute fall color, too, in combination with grasses and perennials.
9. Choose from a variety of outdoor activities at Biltmore Estate. There is plenty of the great outdoors to explore at the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, by foot, by bike by horse or by Segway. Peak color at Biltmore should be about the third week of October.
10. For an exciting view of the colorful tree canopy, zoom down zip lines in the Great Smoky Mountains, Nantahala Gorge and the newest course located near downtown Asheville.
Need more ideas? See our Top 50 Hikes and Top 25 Waterfalls!
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