Asheville's 2022 Fall Color Forecast, What's New + Travel Tips
What’s new with the hue in Asheville, North Carolina? As the heat settles and cooler days prevail, local experts say the elements are coming together for a strong season of color extending well into November! The Blue Ridge Mountains has long been home to leaf peeping aficionados journeying to witness the change of leaves in autumn. With sweeping mountain views and panoramic cityscapes, Asheville is home to one of the longest fall color seasons in the entire country, starting in late September in the higher elevations and lasting through mid-November in the lower valleys in and around Asheville. That's six weeks of pigmented leaves waving a warm welcome to admiring onlookers.
As color begins burgeoning throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is clear why Asheville is a staple for leaf peepers seeking captivating scenes. Dogwoods, maples and sourwoods make a sight for sore eyes showcasing tints of scarlet, rust, coral and gleaming gilt. How is Asheville's fall color shaping up this year? Each year, local experts provide insights on how the shades will progress during the season.
2022 Asheville Fall Forecast: From the Experts
According to "Fall Color Guy" and professor of plant eco-physiology at Appalachian State University, Dr. Howard Neufeld, “The trees look particularly lush and full of leaves this year. The month of September is the most crucial for determining the timing, and to some extent, the quality of our fall color display."
Dr. Neufeld also shared the following foliage factors:
- Precipitation Predictions: September appears to have above normal precipitation. Going into October, precipitation is expected to be below normal during that month for southern Appalachia, which bodes well for the region's fall color display.
- Peak Display Days: In a normal year, we expect peak fall color displays in Asheville around Oct. 20 – 31, with leaves in the surrounding region turning first at higher elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway and at Mount Mitchell, and then colors will work their way downward each week. Color can begin as early as late September in elevations above 4,500’ and last through the end of November below 1,000’ in elevation.
- Warm Weather Extension: With the general expectation of warmer temperatures this fall, colors may be delayed a few days to a week. This will flex the fall season slightly and may cause colors to begin later in September and extend well into November, depending on just how above normal the temperatures reach.
What's New in Asheville in Fall 2022
Asheville's fall season is blossoming, and there are plenty of new things to experience in the city when you visit.
New Restaurants + Breweries
- Look out for newly opened restaurants like Neng Jr's, the first Filipinx restaurant in Asheville from non-binary chef Silver Iocovozzi; Gemelli, an Italian coffee shop by day turned wine bar at night is complimented with Sicilian pizzas, antipasti and more; and Dilbar, an Indian street food eatery and sister restaurant of Mehfil.
- A trip to the River Arts District in Asheville will reveal Guajiro, a new spot outside Asheville Cotton Mill Studios that will bring Cuban comfort food just like your "abuela" (grandma) makes it.
- Two beloved Asheville spots are also set to reopen this fall: Ole Shakey’s dive bar will reopen at its new downtown location (38 N. French Broad Ave.) in early September and Cultura will reopen its doors in the South Slope on September 29 with various dining options offered Thursday - Sunday.
- Check out the newest food truck in Asheville: the Tahini Jar. Inspired by Middle Eastern foods, their plant-based cuisine is perfect for any foodie looking for a new experience.
- Visitors looking for a new sweet treat can take a trip to the recently-opened Mary's Mountain Cookies shop in downtown. Mary's specializes in gigantic cookies, brownies and ice cream sandwiches, which makes for a perfect companion for a day exploring Asheville's fall colors!
- If you're in the mood for a little trip while in the city, take a short drive to Black Mountain, a scenic small town with artsy energy and a surprising food scene. While in town don't miss Foothills Grange, the newest concept from Foothills Meats as it celebrates 20 years as a hyperlocal butcher. Its large outdoor space features picnic tables, a large patio, kids' play area and a permanent food truck.
- James Beard finalist and Top Chef star Ashleigh Shanti is slated to open Good Hot Fish, a fish camp style restaurant based on her popular pop-up of the same name, later in the season.
- Asheville, aka Beer City USA, is adding another brewery to the mix with the opening of 7 Clans Brewing. This majority female, indigenous owned company opened just in time for fall and is located in South Asheville right outside of Biltmore Village.
New Tours, Arts & Experiences
Get the inside scoop from Asheville's local experts with these new tour offerings: The North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum has partnered with Asheville Free Walking Tours to create a new walking tour that explores the history of craft beverages in Asheville and includes tastings of donuts, gin and honey from local businesses from downtown to the River Arts District. Mountain Mural Tours is an energetic way to get into the eclectic art and culture scene of Asheville. Asheville's big purple bus, LaZoom, has expanded their spooky tours with their Lil Boogers: Halloweenies Tour – a one hour history comedy ride offered every Saturday in October featuring ghoulish figures that are appropriate for the whole family.
- Check out the new murals on display throughout Asheville's South Slope district from the Indigenous Walls Project, a grassroots organization that aims to amplify indigenous voices and enhance awareness of the diversity of indigenous people through provoking murals throughout the city. Also releasing this fall is a collaboration ice cream between the Indigenous Walls Projects and The Hop called - ᎧᏄᎦᎸ, pronounced “kan-u-ga-lv”, which translates to blackberry. This specialty flavor contains wild blackberry and frosted mint foraged from the Qualla Boundary.
- Tyger, Tyger is an art gallery you can add to your "must-see" list when visiting Asheville. This woman-owned and led space recently opened in the River Arts District and displays local, regional, national and international marginalized artists.
- Kick back and relax amongst the trees at Shoji Spa & Lodge's new Treetop Package, which includes three hours of relaxation and detoxification involving their private far-infrared sauna and Senjo salt scrub.
- One way to get into the fall-iday spirit is a stay at the newly opened Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabins in West Asheville. Tapped as an "urban campground" experience, these cabins are located right on the French Broad River and offer a wealth of opportunities to unplug and connect with the outdoors, including stand up paddleboarding, biking, kayaking and climbing next door at Cultivate Climbing. If you're looking to give back during your stay, also check out their voluntourism opportunities.
Top Ways to Enjoy Fall in Asheville
Follow the Fall Foliage
- The iconic trails of the Asheville area can be explored during any season but many of these trails offer a truly special experience in the fall. Check out these top fall hikes near Asheville to find the best trail for your fall journey.
- Mount Pisgah and Mount Mitchell, both accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, are excellent stops for high elevation color in early fall.
- Hitting a route that takes you through Weaverville offers a great stop-over in this Main Street town with excellent breweries and a cute mountain vibe. Plus, it provides easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway where you can take a hike on the Craggy Pinnacle trail, which offers stunning panoramic views of fall's glory.
Warm Up with a Cup of Coffee
Asheville is a top spot for coffee lovers in the area, and what better time of year to warm up with a cup of Joe than the season of pumpkin spice? Here are some fan favorite coffee shops in Asheville:
- Pollen – This downtown cafe will certainly take you on a journey of the senses. Not only does this shop serve up noteworthy coffee but it also acts as a flower shop, too! Pollen is focused on uncompromised self-expression through flowers, coffee, design, art and music.
- Grind AVL – Grind is Asheville's first Black-owned coffee shop and co-working space. Located in the River Arts District, this hot spot features specialty coffee and house-made pastries from The Rhu.
- Yellow Mug Coffee Lounge – This shop in downtown Weaverville has quickly become a local favorite. In addition to great coffee, Yellow Mug is known for its amazing weekend brunch specials. And, don't miss the tempting array of sweet treats next to the register!
- Odd's Cafe – Just as the name suggests, Odd's is a great place for experiencing the true vibe of West Asheville. The shop specializes in high-quality, all natural products, including locally roasted coffee, loose-leaf teas, baked goods and tasty evening desserts.
- Double D's – Coffee served out of a bright red, double-decker bus? It's an iconic Asheville experience at Double D's located in the heart of downtown Asheville. Sip your coffee inside the bus or out in their courtyard.
- If you want take your coffee game to the next level, check out the Asheville Coffee Tours. This Black-woman owned business takes guests along a coffee-inspired tour of the city.
Tips for Experiencing Fall in Asheville
- Check your elevation. Western North Carolina’s elevations range from 1,500 to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. The color change starts at the peaks and makes its way down the mountains, resulting in a fall color display that can last five or six weeks. So, if you miss fall color at one elevation, check the next elevation down!
- Go green. Help preserve the colorful patchwork of the Blue Ridge Mountains by adding a little green to your trip. Check out these top eco-friendly ways to experience fall in Asheville.
- Access Fall Color Reports. Be the first to receive the latest from the mountains by signing up for Asheville's weekly fall color report, which also includes inside tips from Asheville's new team of Fall Color Hunters.