Stay up to date with the best autumn hikes, drives and travel deals in Asheville, North Carolina, with our weekly fall color reports. Our Fall Color Hunter keeps you in the know on where to go.
In the coming weeks, the brisk mountain air will help paint the leaves of the Blue Ridge Mountains in brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges.
The first hints of fall typically arrive in the mountains in late September. The fall leaf season often extends well into the month of November. In general, the fall leaf schedule begins with color showing in highest elevations (above 6,000 feet). Fall color then makes its way down the mountain sides into the valleys and foothills. Check out our interactive fall color map to see for yourself.
Not only is fall a time for beautiful foliage, it's one of the most exciting times of the year in terms of festivals, events and openings. Discover what's new in Asheville for fall 2019.
And, check out our guide to the top 10 ways to experience fall in Asheville. As you plan your visit, here are five things to know about fall in Asheville.
Near peak fall color at Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 418) just south of Asheville. Photo taken October 16, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
It sure is feeling like fall here in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Cool temperatures have helped fall color progress leaps and bounds at the highest elevations. Areas at 5,500 feet and above such as Roan Mountain and Grandfather Mountain are reporting near peak conditions. Although at a slightly lower elevation, Graveyard Fields and its unique flora should see the strongest color before the end of this weekend. The highest elevations areas to the north and south of the city of Asheville will be your best bets for the next several days.
We drove more than 50 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville on Wednesday, following a drive north of Asheville in the days before. Strongest color in the stretch we drove south appeared between milepost 440 and 425. This stretch includes some of the highest elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To the north, Rough Ridge and Grandfather Mountain showed nice color. A burst of cooler air and stronger winds Wednesday night into Thursday morning likely will produce more changes.
Park rangers and photographers we spoke to along the way told us that much of the color change at the highest elevations took place in the first 48 hours of this week (Monday through Wednesday afternoon) as temperatures dipped down at night on the mountaintops.
We also saw how those weather changes have spurred color growth between 4,000-5,000 feet, although many of the areas within this elevation range still have a fair amount of green. The lower elevations and valleys remain primarily green with some pops of color here and there. These lower elevation areas, including the city of Asheville, will continue to develop fall color during the next several weeks before putting on their strongest autumn show.
A great way to experience the fall colors is to go for a drive just like we did! Head out on the Blue Ridge Parkway, America's Favorite Scenic Drive, to see the autumn leaves at a wide variety of elevations. With numerous paved overlooks right along the road, it's an adventure anyone can enjoy. Our early fall color drives should be colorful in the coming days. In the next couple weeks, our suggested mid-season fall color drives will start to show strong autumn hues.
Autumn colors frame Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 418 just south of Asheville. Photo taken October 16, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
Colorful fall leaves float in water along the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville. Photo taken October 16, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
Looking out at fall color from the foot bridge above Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields. Photo taken October 16, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
At this slightly lower elevation, golden hues mix with green leaves on the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 437. Photo taken October 16, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
Early fall color at sunrise on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Pounding Mill Overlook near milepost 413 just south of Asheville. Photo taken October 14, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
Golden hour light illuminates pops of color at Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 302 north of Asheville. Photo taken October 12, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
A bright pocket of fall color is highlighted at sunset at Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville. Photo taken October 12, 2019 by Jason Tarr.
Fall and handcrafted art seem to go hand-in-hand. This weekend, experience one of the most anticipated craft shows of the year in Asheville: The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands (October 17-20). Now in its 72nd year, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands features both traditional and contemporary fine craft. Hundreds of artisans from the Southern Highland Craft Guild will showcase and sell their work on both levels of the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville. This is a ticketed event.
Stroll through Asheville Art in the Park (October 19) and find the finest in handcrafted art. This market series in downtown Asheville's Pack Square is now in its 11th year and takes place on three consecutive Saturdays in October. This is the final event in the series in 2019. Admission is free.
While you're in downtown, shop fall fashions, crafts and gifts at the dozens of independent shops. From Lexington Avenue to the historic Grove Arcade indoor/outdoor shopping area, you'll have your pick of one-of-a-kind finds. And, downtown Asheville is the perfect place to try one of the many local restaurants serving up fresh food from the fall harvest delivered by local farms.
Celebrate culture and music from around the world as you experience the LEAF Festival in nearby Black Mountain. This family-friendly music and dance celebration is a treasured local tradition. In addition to a powerful international lineup of musicians, take on outdoor family adventure, soothe your soul in the healing arts village, and savor local food and drinks. Also, stroll through the booths to see handcrafted art.
The Asheville area is known for having great stargazing opportunities. Join a local astronomer and author for fall stargazing and "cosmic storytelling" above Hickory Nut Gap Farm Saturday night (October 19) in the nearby agrarian community of Fairview.
Tap into our brand new Asheville Hike Finder to discover the perfect hiking trail for fall leaf peeping. You can now easily filter by distance from downtown, trail length and difficulty level. We also have a story up on the best fall hikes near Asheville.
For the sporty adventurer, enjoy fall color up close and personal on two wheels. People travel from around the world to take on the road and mountain biking in the Asheville area.
Let the experts do the work for you to help you discover fall in Asheville! We've made a list of great guided fall tours, from photography tours to rooftop bar tours.
Enjoy smaller crowds and easier access to activities when you visit during the week. Asheville features live music on nearly every night of the week (see our full Asheville live music calendar!) and other great events to help you experience the city. Here are a few upcoming weekday event highlights:
That's the question many visitors ask us each year. The answer may surprise you!
There is no single peak time for fall color in the Asheville area. That's one of our top 5 things you need to know about fall in Asheville.
The development of fall color is largely dependent on elevation. Because there is such a wide variety of elevations near town, Asheville enjoys one of the longest and most vibrant fall color seasons in the nation. The timing of the fall color change also depends on the species of trees and plants found in each area. See our guide to the science behind fall color to learn more!
Visualize the progression of fall color through the Blue Ridge Mountains with our interactive fall color map and schedule.
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The color reports will help keep you up to date on where to find the best and the brightest colors during your visit. Even if you're not planning a vacation during fall, you'll find lots of travel inspiration in the form of photos, recommended drives and hikes and fun events and festivals.
Share your photos with us throughout the season by using #VisitAsheville when you post!
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