Fall Colors Spreading Throughout the Region
By KelbyThe Asheville area is a kaleidescope of color, ranging from an awe-inspiring rainbow of colors at higher elevations to expanses of lush green tinged with fall foliage at the lower elevations and valleys.
Fall Color Report (2,500 Elevation and Below)
The fall color continues to emerge at the lower elevations, with pretty dashes of color in and around the downtown Asheville area. There is still a lot of green showing, but many trees are tinged in gold or burgundy.
At Biltmore, cooler weather has finally arrived and red maples have started to get a spotty look with red branches, according to Director of Horticulture Parker Andes.
"Dogwoods and sourwoods provide tree color with woodland ferns now showing a nice yellow backdrop," he said. "Virginia creeper and poison ivy add red and orange every day and tulip poplars and ashes are quickly turning yellow. Spicebush, a woodland shrub that is rarely noticed until fall, is showing bright yellow foliage and red berries. On sunny days, the katsura tree in the azalea garden continues filling the air with a fragrance described by guests as anything from cotton candy to vanilla."
Erica Bell with the 25th Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) coming this weekend to Black Mountain said fallen yellow leaves crinkle underneath the feet of their production staff and volunteers. "Off in the distance, I see deep crimson reds on the tips of the trees as the parking flags and tent canopies go up! Early color is showing in about 35 to 40 percent of the foliage."
The middle and lower elevations are still likely a couple weeks away from a color peak. At Chimney Rock Park, Naturalist Ron Lance said most trees are still fairly green around the Hickory Nut Gorge below 2,500 feet in elevation.
In Hot Springs, at an elevation of 1,300 feet, the color has been emerging for the past two weeks. "It’s beautiful," said Louise with the U.S. Forest Service's Appalachian/French Broad District. "I'd say it's like 35-40 percent. It's really gotten pretty the last week."
Fall Color Report (Above 2,500 Feet)
The area's highest elevations are the prime areas to hit this weekend to find the biggest concentration of fall colors.
"The big color news seems to be the rapid onset of peak color in the high elevations above 5,000 feet just north and south of Asheville," states the Blue Ridge Parkway fall color hotline. "Waterrock Knob, Graveyard Fields and Mt. Pisgah are spectacular right now."
There are still many fields of wildflowers displaying colors along the parkway, where they are "lighting up the roadsides." Parkway officials recommend visiting on weekdays, if possible, to avoid crowds commonplace on October weekends during the fall color season.
At Grandfather Mountain, wind last week sent some of the color to the ground. "At this point, we have many trees that are still green and have not turned, meaning that our fall color could last for a couple more weeks!" said Landis Wofford of Grandfather Mountain. "This coming weekend is expected to be beautiful, with warmer than normal temperatures and clear skies."The first photo above was taken Oct. 14 by Tom of Asheville as he traveled on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Blowing Rock. The second photo was taken by Beth-Anne on Oct. 13 at Mt. Pisgah along the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Asheville.