On the Verge of Peaking
By Tim Lee
Fall Color in Asheville
Two excellent places to view fall color in Asheville are The North Carolina Arboretum and Biltmore Estate, due to the exceptional diversity of plant life, seasonally landscaped gardens and stunning scenic vistas. In downtown Asheville, Kimberly Avenue is a beautiful drive that stays within city limits, just north of downtown near the historic Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. For a longer color-filled ride that stays local, Town Mountain Road and Elk Mountain Scenic Highway also provide excellent views of fall color.
Although leaf season is winding down at the very highest peaks, such as Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain, you can be sure that the drive up to these mountains will offer spectacular views and reaching their summits will provide excellent vantage points to see color changing in the surrounding valleys.
Immersed in Color
Colorful routes in the area include NC 181 between Linville and Newland, NC 194 between Elk Park and Valle Crucis, and NC 105 between Boone and Linville. Julian Price Lake and the Tanawha Trail remain excellent places to immerse yourself in fall color. The drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Pisgah, currently at peak conditions, provides great views and overlooks to see fall color splashed on the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A Variety of Trees
Now is the perfect time to see tulip poplars, birches, sweet shrubs, spice bushes, and silver bells all popping out yellow. Sugar maples and sumacs are a blazing orange, and the black gums and sweet gums range from orange to maroon, and everywhere in between. Dogwoods, sourwoods, and red maples fill the spectrum between red and burgundy, and the Virginia creeper continues to offer some of the brightest reds in the forest.
Extended Leaf Season
Western North Carolina's wide range of elevations makes for an extended leaf season. If you haven't had the chance to experience the vivid fall colors here yet, don't worry because lower elevations such as Chimney Rock are still mostly green. Lower regions such as Hickory Nut Gorge and DuPont State Forest should reach full color in two or three weeks. In the meantime, fall wildflowers including goldenrod and white snakeroot continue to bloom.
Make sure to check back each week for updates on where to find the best color in Western North Carolina. And as you’re out this fall in the Asheville area, share your fall photos with us.
Fall Harvest Tailgate Flavors of the Week: At the markets this week you will find delicious locally grown vegetables such as squashes, broccoli, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, and turnips. You will also find locally raised meats such as pastured pork and lamb, free range chicken, grass fed beef, and farm-raised rainbow trout.
Budget Tip: Enjoy a fun fall getaway and treat your vehicle to some free gas in the Asheville area when you book one of several available Gas Promotions.