Fall Color Report - Fall Has Arrived in Asheville

Fall Foliage in Asheville on October 24Almost anywhere you go in the Asheville area now, you will find some level of fall color on display. The best news is that mild temperatures have created a unique long fall foliage season that is expected to extend well into November in the area. That means there is still time to get a room and plan a getaway to view the area in all its fall splendor.

The peak fall foliage is coming to a close at the highest elevations, although there is still a tremendous display even there. Areas like downtown Asheville and the surrounding neighborhoods are seeing the fall color come to life quickly, although there is still plenty of greenery waiting to surrender to fall. Lower elevations like Chimney Rock and Cherokee are seeing the first sparks of the fall color begin.

Fall Color Report (2,500 Elevation and Below)

After much anticipation, the fall color even in the middle and lower elevations is finally beginning to gain momentum. In Asheville, bursts of vivid colors are exploding throughout the town and surrounding neighborhoods. There is still much green showing, however, so there is still much time to see and experience the fall colors here.

At North Carolina Arboretum, the 434-acre garden is bursting with fall color. According to Alison Arnold, Director of Horticulture at the North Carolina Arboretum, the arboretum could be witnessing peak color this week or next. In the woods along trails, you can see red maples everywhere, as well as brilliant yellow hickory trees, pinkish-red sourwoods, pumpkin-orange sassafras and ruby red sumac.

Biltmore, fall color has now officially begun. "Gardens and woodlands are full of bright colors," said Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture. "People are stopping on roadsides to take pictures of sugar and red maples."

The fall wonderland on the 8,000-acre estate is just starting. "Maples and sourwoods are showing off with oranges and reds," Andes said. "Sassafras and gum trees add a rainbow mix of colors on the same plant. Oaks are just starting to hint at the colors they will show and one of our native shrubs, Hearts a’Bustin‚ is showing its fall berries."

The middle and lower elevations are still likely a week or two away from a color peak. Chimney Rock Park is easing into fall color, according to Naturalist Ron Lance. "The color peak of some higher elevations in the region will be past by the end of this week, but plenty of middle to lower elevations will be great. For Chimney Rock Park, yellows of hickory and birch are intensifying on drier slopes, as well as the reds of sourwood and blackgum. Expect a lot of green for at least another week here."

Fall Color Report (Above 2,500 Feet)

Fall Color on October 24The highest elevations in the Asheville area are just peaking, and still have significant and bold color.

"Fields of wildflowers still dominate the roadsides," according to the Blue Ridge Parkway Hotline. There are splendid displays, especially ideal for photography enthusiasts, of sunflowers, bee balm and crops of pumpkins.

"In the parkway's highest elevations, especially south of Asheville, the temperature dipped close to freezing about a week ago," the hotline states. "At 4,500 feet elevation, color change is expected to come on fast."

Those elevations at 5,000 feet and above, such as Graveyard Fields, "are very bright, although past their peak color at this time."

At Grandfather Mountain, there is still a tremendous amount of color to enjoy throughout the High Country. Leaves have peaked in the highest elevations, but the show is only just beginning in the 3,000-foot elevations near Elk Park, Boone and Valle Crucis. There will also be lots of color along the major routes coming up from the foothills.

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway between Blowing Rock and Linville Falls (or on US 221 between Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain), especially near the Linn Cove Viaduct. Other colorful routes are NC 184 between the Village of Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk; NC 181 between Linville and Newland; US 19E between Newland and Roan Mountain; NC 194 between Elk Park and Valle Crucis; and NC 105 between Boone and Linville.

Photos taken Oct. 24 in downtown Asheville near the Asheville Visitor Center.

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