Fall Color Report For October 20, 2016
Fall color has come alive throughout the Western North Carolina mountains. Cool mornings this past week have propelled big changes in the leaves.
Many high elevation areas above 4,000 feet, such as Rough Ridge and Linn Cove Viaduct, are seeing their brightest color of the season. And now is the time when the mid-elevation areas really begin to shine. The vibrant reds of the maple and black gum trees are providing great contrast to the sea of golds, yellows and oranges in the 3,000-4,000 ft. range.
Here's a look at the color along the Blue Ridge Parkway as of Tuesday, October 18:
Near the Cradle of Forestry on Highway 276, the brilliant yellows of the black birch trees are having their strongest showing of the season. The scenic highway runs from Brevard through the Pisgah National Forest up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. “The black birch trees are just glowing,” said Cindy Carpenter, interpretative specialist with the Cradle of Forestry center. She says the sourwoods, maples, and sassafras trees are also displaying great color.
Meanwhile, the lower elevations, including the city of Asheville, N.C., and Biltmore Estate, are just starting to see pockets of vibrant color. The best fall color in those spots is still to come. At the North Carolina Arboretum, red maples are among the highlights as the fall color changes get underway there, spokesperson Whitney Smith said.
In other words, there is still a lot of the autumn show yet to see!
Live Update from Navitat Canopy Adventures
Join us every Thursday on the Visit Asheville Facebook page for live broadcasts from a top fall color spot of the week.
Best and the Brightest
Blue Ridge Parkway - Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina within 30 miles of Asheville in either direction, nearly every turn presents a colorful photo opportunity. For example, the leaves beautifully frame Looking Glass Rock from the Pounding Mill Overlook at milepost 413.2. For other great mid-fall scenic drive routes, such as N.C. Highway 63 from Asheville to Hot Springs or U.S. Highway 19 from Maggie Valley to Cherokee, click HERE. As you enjoy your drives, tune in to the Scenic Sounds playlist on Explore Asheville Radio, featuring 13 tracks by local artists:
Highway 276 Corridor – Stop to enjoy the roadside Looking Glass Falls or add some adventure to your trip with a hike up to John Rock. The Cradle of Forestry is also hosting a walking outdoor drama performance this weekend, including an evening show with the leaf color having a supporting role.
Linville Gorge – With relatively short hikes to the top of Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain, Linville Gorge is a stunning place to see fall color in the coming days.
Events and Activities
Considered one of the biggest art events of the year, the 69th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands takes over the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville this weekend. Nearly 200 of the region’s finest artists showcase their traditional and contemporary crafts. Crafts include pottery, woodworking, fiber and basketry, among many others. Artists will be selling their work and providing demonstrations. There will also be music entertainment. The fair runs Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In the nearby community of Black Mountain, the four-day music, dance and craft festival known as LEAF takes place in an incredible setting. For 20 years, the festival has brought thousands of people together for a cultural experience unlike any other. Music from across the region and around the globe takes center stage and many people camp out for the weekend to enjoy the festivities among the rolling hills, lakes, and streams. The festival is October 20-23, and music lovers can even watch from home on a livestream from the Lakeside (Main) Stage. Highlights include performances by Beats Antique (Friday at 10:30 p.m.), Balkan Beat Box (Saturday at 10:30 p.m.), Squirrel Nut Zippers (Sunday at 4:30 p.m.) and Dar Williams (Saturday at 2 p.m.).
Top photo by Jason Tarr. Fall colors along Blue Ridge Parkway photo by Jennifer Mesk Photography (@jennifermeskphotography). Looking Glass Rock photo by Jason Tarr. Craft Fair photo courtesy Craft Guild of the Southern Highlands. Cataloochee Valley elk photo by Jeremy Beasley (@beaz78).