Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color 2017

Fall Foliage Forecast 2017, Asheville & NC Mountains

The fall leaf show in the mountains and foothills surrounding Asheville in western North Carolina brings a kaleidoscope of colors for many weeks. Our Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains have one of the longest autumn color seasons in the country, thanks to our many 6,000-foot peaks (highest in eastern USA), deep valleys and varying micro climates. Experience a 5-week span of color that slowly descends from the tallest ridges down to the lowest valleys. During the past 14 years, we've tracked the foliage peak times and best places to see. Get details below! Pic above: Oct 24, 2017, Pisgah National Forest Big Ivy area near Douglas Falls.

Sunburst Falls
Oct 15, 2017: We found great color in the Sunburst Falls area on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. For many more recent photos, see our Fall 2017 Journal.

Blue Ridge Parkway & Mountains Fall Foliage Forecast 2017

Leaf peepers ask: “When is peak color?” The great news is that we usually have many weeks of autumn color in our mountains and foothills. Find the areas of best color by driving the Blue Ridge Parkway or other scenic roads up and down the ridges. Elevation is the biggest factor for time of color change. An early frost speeds up the color change and warm weather prolongs it. Below is our prediction. See our Fall 2017 Photo Journal for updates.

Peak Color 2017

Note: We tweak this forecast depending on weather patterns and our observations. Please remember that locations for peak color are estimations based on previous years. Also, areas at the exact same elevation often change at different times, depending on sun exposure, soil conditions and more.

Fall Events
There are many festivals and events tor enjoy in September and October. See our 40 Favorite Fall Festivals.

Best Photo Spots
See a photo tour of our Top 20 Fall Stops on the Blue Ridge Parkway. See our favorite Scenic Drives, Motorcycle Drives and Mountain Views. To find more scenic spots, browse our Fall 2016 & Fall 2015 Photo Journals.

Dry Falls
October 10, 2017 Pic: Walking behind Dry Falls with peak color this week.

Autumn Leaf Viewing Tips
Here are some of our tips for a fabulous fall getaway:

  • Make your lodging reservations ASAP at our top B&Bs, cabins and hotels. Many book up weekends well in advance.
  • To avoid the biggest crowds and to save on lodging, stay Sunday through Thursday nights. Saturdays during October are very busy everywhere!
  • If you are exploring the outdoors in our national parks and forests, research first. Frequently, you will not have cell or Internet service in remote areas including many hiking trails and waterfalls.
  • With the varying elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is the easiest place to find color. The elevation of the Parkway in Asheville is approximately 2,200 feet, and it rises to 6,000+ feet as you drive north or south. When you find a particular area of brilliant foliage, take a hike, picnic at an overlook or detour on an intersecting road. Be patient and expect slow traffic, especially Saturdays and Sundays. Since the Parkway has limited signage for things to do along the road, see our Blue Ridge Parkway Top 20 Fall Stops.
  • If you encounter fog and low clouds on the Blue Ridge Parkway, don't despair. The weather changes rapidly, so it could be sunny around the next bend. In mid to late October, snow or ice is possible at the higher elevations. See rime ice from October. Road closures and conditions on the Blue Ridge Parkway, along with weather reports, are available by calling the Parkway information line at (828) 298-0398.
  • Bringing the dog? See our Pet-Friendly Guide.
  • Bring a sweater or jacket. While it might be 70 and sunny in Asheville, it could be 20 degrees cooler at the higher elevations. Rainy day? Here are some indoor options for things to do.
  • Take a picnic or snacks, especially if you are driving the Parkway. Restaurants and stores can be hard to find in the most scenic areas.
  • For visits to Biltmore Estate, buy your tickets in advance to save money and to get your preferred house tour time. See our Fall at Biltmore Guide for details.
  • Fill up the gas tank before leaving the city. Gas stations are sparse in remote areas and there are none along the Parkway.
  • Don't rely 100% on your GPS to navigate our mountain roads. That's a good way to get lost. Take a map or our written directions for the many places we feature.
  • Take your camera. The warm light of the early morning or late afternoon can create especially dramatic images. Rainy days often provide the most striking and rich photos! Morning fog also creates dramatic photo opportunities.
  • Enhance fall colors by wearing polarized sunglasses.

Asheville Fall Things to Do

Fall Events in Asheville
Fall Festivals & Events
September & October: Enjoy the cooler days of autumn with the changing colors with a big variety of events and festivals. And see our fall color foliage forecast for the best places to see the changing leaves.
Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the Parkway covers the 193-mile section near Asheville. So many things to do along one of the most scenic drives in the United States.
Asheville Outdoors
Top 70 Outdoors - Asheville & NC Mountains
Explore our mountains with hikes, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and many thousands of acres of national forest and park land. Get outside in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains with our 70 favorite things to do.
300 Things to Do
300 Things to Do
See our master list of places to see and things to do in the western North Carolina mountains, including Asheville and our many small towns. 
NC Small Towns
Top 35 Coolest Mountain Small Towns
Explore our favorite cool small towns in the NC mountains near Asheville, each with its own personality, local shops and restaurants, friendly residents and relaxed atmosphere.
Tours in Asheville
25 Guided Tours & Experiences
Take a guided tour for sightseeing, art, wildlife, history, food, beer, waterfalls, wellness and more in Asheville and western North Carolina. See our list of favorites.
Scenic Drives
16 Scenic Drives
See gorgeous countryside, mountain views and charming communities on a windshield tour via national and state scenic byways near Asheville. Lots of opportunities for stops along the way. 
Mountain Hikes Top 60
Best 75 Mountain Hikes
There are thousands of miles of hiking trails near Asheville, many of which are in pristine national forests or parks. We picked our favorites and created extensive guides for each with photos and details. Find hikes for all skill levels in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.
Waterfalls Top 60
Waterfalls Top 60
Of hundreds of waterfalls near Asheville, we picked the most spectacular falls that are easy to find. Some can be enjoyed with a short walk or even roadside. Others require a scenic hike. See full descriptions for each, with plenty of photos! Also see Waterfall Drives & Maps.
Picnics
Top 20 Picnic Spots
Dine outdoors in nature! Plan a picnic at some amazing locations where you can enjoy sweet views.
Downtown Asheville
Downtown Asheville Top 25
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries and pubs. Dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or enjoy street performers. See our favorite things to do!
Elk in Great Smoky Mountains
Elk in Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains
Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.
North Carolina Arboretum
North Carolina Arboretum
Stroll through a variety of gardens and on peaceful woodland trails, located in Asheville adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit and many special events during the year.
Apple Orchards, Asheville
Apple Orchards Open
September 01, 2017 to October 31, 2017
Get your fresh mountain apples at an orchard in the largest apple-producing area in the east. Many orchards are open daily, several offer tours, events and pick-your-own apples. It's a quick drive from Asheville, with many orchards located along US 64 East of Hendersonville.
Winery Visits
Winery Visits & Tours
In addition to the nation's most visited winery at Biltmore, take a winery tour in the foothills area including around Hendersonville and Morganton. Sample the local wines while enjoying the mountain views. See our Top Wineries to see in western North Carolina.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Top 15
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Top 15
Explore the most visited national park in the country! With 520,976 acres to traverse, where do you begin? See our top places and hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains near Asheville. Four entrances to the Park are within 60 miles of downtown Asheville.
Asheville Helicopter Tours
Asheville Helicopter Tours
New in 2017! Take a scenic helicopter flight above the mountains, Asheville, Chimney Rock, waterfalls, Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fly a variety of short routes or create a custom ride. Great way to see fall color. Departs from a private hangar at the Asheville Airport.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Take a scenic train ride on excursions along the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, over the mountains, across valleys and through tunnels. Choose from a variety of train adventures departing from Bryson City. First-class passengers enjoy dining and souvenirs. Many special event train rides.
LaZoom Haunted Tour
Haunted Comedy Tour by LaZoom
Ride the purple bus to discover Asheville's strange and sordid past. Spooky guides uncover mysteries and classic monsters (new for Oct 2017). Laugh and scream. Adults only, ages 17 and up. 60-minute tour begins at 76 Biltmore Avenue (you can grab a beer there to take along). Tours book fast, so buy tickets in advance.
Asheville Stand-Up Paddleboard
Stand-Up Paddleboard Trips
Find the best places to stand-up paddleboard in and near Asheville on the pristine waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rent SUPs, take lessons and even take a guided river trip. Fun way to see fall color, too!
Farm Visits Asheville
Farm Visits & Tours
Visit farms and learn about their local food. See buffalo and alpacas, sample local cheeses, watch bees make honey, visit wineries, pick apples and more. Plus, tour historic farms at Biltmore and in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Bed and Breakfasts
Top 35 Bed & Breakfasts
See our favorite and highest reviewed Asheville bed and breakfast inns in the western North Carolina mountains near Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway. All have luxury accommodations with a long list of amenities. Innkeepers are delighted to help with special occassions and requests.
Cabin Rentals Asheville
Top 50 Cabin & Vacation Rentals
Get away to a remote cozy cabin or cottage, a unique vacation rental downtown or with mountain views, or find a big house for a family or friends group getaway in and near Asheville and Biltmore.
Asheville Hotels
Top 30 Hotels & Resorts
Find the best hotels in Asheville and western North Carolina, including luxury resorts, limited service hotels and full-service country inns. Stay downtown, near Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Parkway, or in one of the cool small towns throughout the mountains.

Thanksgiving & Christmas
Looking ahead, see our Thanksgiving Things to Do and Top Holiday Outings.

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