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Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Favorite Stops in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway Guide: Parkway Overview | Favorite 15 Parkway Stops | Top 10 Parkway Hikes | Parkway Waterfalls | Best Parkway Photos | Parkway FAQ | Visitor Center | Parkway Biking | Parkway Updates | Folk Art Center | Mt. Mitchell | Linn Cove Viaduct | Parkway Map | Motorcyle Drives | Winter Parkway Hike | Parkway History | Foundation | Top 20 Picnic Spots | Overlooks | Tunnels | Aerial Photos | Parkway Fall Color | Bear Safety | Parkway Stargazing

The fall leaf color show progresses during four weeks in October (see our Fall Foliage Forecast for this year), starting in the highest elevations north like Grandfather Mountain and Rough Ridge early in the month. The middle two weeks of October brings peak color to most of the Parkway. During the last week, enjoy the colorful valley views from the overlooks and best color in the valley around Asheville. Some of our favorite fall spots are below. For more fall color photos of the North Carolina mountains, see Fall 2012 Photos | Fall 2013 Photos | Fall 2014 Photos.

Linville Falls
Hike to Linville Falls. See more waterfalls along the Parkway.

Crabtree FallsCrabtree Falls
Hike to Crabtree Falls.

Fall color Parkway
Looking down on the Parkway from Rough Ridge, the best place for brilliant early fall color (usually the first week of October)

Skinny Dip FallsSkinny Dip Falls
Skinny Dip Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a short hike from the road and a popular swimming hole in the summer.

Parkway Tunnel
The tunnel at Devil's Courthouse frames the fall leaves. Read more about Parkway tunnels.

Linn Cove Viaduct Fall Color
Drive across the Linn Cove Viaduct.

Orchard at Altapass
Stop for fresh apples at the historic Orchard at Altapass.

Mt Mitchell State Park
Road to Mt. Mitchell State Park from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color
Sunrise from Craggy Pinnacle, overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall AshevilleBlue Ridge Parkway Fall Asheville
Rainy days can create the richest colors.

Black Balsam Knob
Hike a network of trails at Black Balsam Knob for spectacular panoramic views from grassy balds. Also a great place to camp.

Devil's Courthous
Take a short but steep hike to the top of Devil's Courthouse for this view.

Graveyard Fields Second Falls
Second Falls at Graveyard Fields is a quick hike from the parking area.

Blue Ridge Parkway Ice and Fall Color
Rime ice, snow and fall color on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Craggy Gardens

Blue Ridge Parkway Tunnel with Ice
Blue Ridge Parkway Tunnel at Craggy Gardens framed with ice during an October cold snap.

Blue Ridge Parkway Snow
Typically busy with fall leaf lookers, the Blue Ridge Parkway was completely deserted during this early November snow. See more winter meets fall photos.

Also see our Fall Foliage Forecast and Updates and our Top 15 Parkway Stops along the Parkway near Asheville.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Driving Tips

  • With the big elevation changes along the Parkway, colors change at various times. While one section may be green, you could find peak color just a few miles away.
  • Be patient and expect slow traffic, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. Parking at overlooks can be difficult on weekends.
  • Weather can vary and change quickly. If you encounter fog (low clouds) on the Blue Ridge Parkway, don't despair. It could be very sunny around the next bend or in a few minutes. Fog is most frequent in the mornings, and it can create interesting photo opportunities.
  • Bring a sweater or jacket. While it might be 70 and sunny in Asheville, it may be 20 degrees cooler at the higher elevations. In mid to late October, snow or ice is possible at the higher elevations.
  • Take a picnic or snacks, since there is only one restaurant along the Parkway near Asheville (Pisgah Inn).
  • Fill up the gas tank before taking a scenic drive out of the city. Gas stations are sparse in remote areas and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • For road closures and conditions on the Blue Ridge Parkway, along with weather reports, call the Parkway information line at (828) 298-0398.

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Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2015 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved