Surrounded by the highest peaks in the East, the Asheville region experiences one of the longest and most vibrant leaf seasons in the world. Those million acres of forest and protected lands surrounding the city make for the perfect fall adventure that offers space and sanctuary.

See Fall Color from a Mountaintop or Sunrise SUP: Asheville has plenty of guided outdoor activities that provide the perfect opportunity to see the leaves and remain socially distant. Check out Asheville Hiking Tours with private natural-history tour options and hikes to waterfalls near Asheville, embark on a beautiful sunset-yoga hike with Asheville Wellness Tours or experience fall on the water with Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours’ sunrise or sunset floats. Seek out nature’s bounty on a foraging tour with No Taste Like Home, take in the stunning vantage from an Asheville Rooftop Bar Tour of downtown’s famed architecture and the surrounding mountains, race from peak to peak on tandem-style ziplines (like a rollercoaster through the color!) with Navitat or cruise along “America’s Favorite Drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Hike Off the Beaten Path: With thousands of miles of hiking and biking trails surrounding the area, Asheville is known for its iconic hiking trails, expansive views and famous natural attractions. While some hikes don’t have household-name recognition, a lesser-known path offers the chance to explore the mountain landscape with solitude on a trail less traveled. See this list of lesser-known hikes.

Scenic Drives & Drive-By Waterfalls: The Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville are home to winding mountain roads and thousands of beautiful cascading waterfalls. While most falls are in remote areas or require a hike to see, here are half a dozen waterfalls that can be enjoyed from the roadTravelers can also follow the bends of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway for sweeping views by car or hop on a trail. Bring a face mask and be prepared to hop off the trail to provide ample social distance as you meet fellow hikers. Check out this link for inspiration from Blue Ridge Parkway experts via Explorers of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  

Safer Fun & Soft Adventure | Attractions & Tours with Modified Operations: Social distance on the French Broad River on your own stand-up paddle board (SUP) with Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours and Rentals, explore Biltmore's 8,000 acres, go foraging or hiking in the woods on a private tour, try safety-first mountain biking or go flying through the canopy with increased sanitation and contact-free operations at the Adventure Center of Asheville. Check out this list of attractions with modified operations with safety and sanitation protocols in mind.

Longest and Most Colorful Color Season: The Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina are fortunate to have one of the most vivid displays of autumn foliage in the world due to…

  • Extreme Elevations: Ranging from 1,500 feet in the valleys to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River), the color show descends the mountains for a transition that can span multiple months. 
  • Unmatched Biodiversity: There are more than 100 species of deciduous (leaf-shedding) trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Long Season: Starting late September in the higher elevations and extending through early or mid-November in the lower regions of Asheville, peaking fall color is accessible throughout the fall season.

Track the Leaves Through the Long Season: Visit for weekly color reports utilizing up-to-date information from area parks and attractions, as well as an animated color-progression map of peaking fall leaves that pinpoints when and where the best color is occurring. The color updates will also include fall travel deals and autumn events and news.

Asheville Cares Stay Safe Pledge + Businesses with Modified Operations

Asheville-area businesses have stepped up to protect workers and guests with safety measures that go beyond state guidelines, including the Asheville Cares Stay Safe Pledge, a shared commitment with travelers to keep everyone safe with extra precautions. Understand the extent of the protections that the Buncombe County hospitality industry is putting in place—click here to read the Asheville Cares Stay Safe Pledge. Explore Asheville is also keeping a list of businesses with modified operations with safety and sanitation protocols in mind.