Fall Color Map & Fall Leaves Schedule

Fall color in the Asheville, N.C. area generally begins in late September, with the highest elevations (above 6,000 feet) seeing the change first. During the next six weeks, fall color makes its way down the mountainsides into the valleys and foothills. So, no matter when you visit from late September to early November, there will be an area in or near Asheville experiencing its brightest fall color of the season.

Click and drag the red dot to see where color is changing in Western North Carolina each week this fall.  Zoom and drag the map for a more detailed look at where to find fall foliage each week. 

*Please note: *Dates are estimates only*, based on current and past years’ observations and current weather patterns. We cannot guarantee actual dates, and we may adjust this schedule during the season based on current conditions.

  •  10/7 - 10/20 
  •  10/18 - 10/22 
  •  10/23 - 10/29 
  •  10/27 - 11/3 
  •  11/1 - 11/6 
  •  11/6 - 11/11 
 
Minimal Change
Partial Change
Peak Color
Some Color Left

*Early October through October 20
The first signs of fall begin to appear at the highest elevations (above 6,000 feet). Some of these places turn before others (Graveyard Fields/Craggy Gardens). Places to visit at this time:

  • Graveyard Fields: While not at a 6,000-foot elevation, Graveyard Fields along the Blue Ridge Parkway traditionally is one of the first areas to see fall color because of the particular plant species found there. Take a hike here to see multiple waterfalls framed in fall color.
  • Grandfather Mountain: Early leaves are also on display at Grandfather Mountain which includes the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge and several favorite hiking areas. (In the coming weeks, both Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell will provide great vantage points to see fall color in the valleys.)
  • Mount Mitchell State Park: You'll likely see color change beginning on the approach road up to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Drive or hike to the top for an unrivaled view, and bring a jacket—the weather is often much cooler up here! The summit is primarily evergreen balsam trees, so the fall color tends to be on the approach road and slopes below.
  • Craggy Gardens: In the the Craggy Gardens area hike to Craggy Pinnacle.

*October 18 through 22
Fall color is strongest above 5,000 feet in the N.C. mountains. Places to visit this week:

  • Black Balsam: For Blue Ridge Parkway fall colors, head south on the Parkway to hike to Black Balsam Knob and Sam Knob, with expansive views of the surrounding mountains. While the colors won't be at the summit (it's a bald), the top provides a nice view of the changing colors below.
  • Max Patch: This is also a great time to check out the recently updated trail to the summit of Max Patch Mountain, where you'll find stunning 360-degree views and a perfect picnic spot.

*October 23 through 29
Fall foliage will arrive at elevations between 4,000-5,000 feet. Places to visit this week:

  • Devil’s Courthouse: Ideal for a sunset hike, Devil's Courthouse offers clear views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Mount Pisgah: Along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the south, the area surrounding Mount Pisgah should be showing fall color at this time. Enjoy a meal at the Pisgah Inn, or explore the ruins of George Vanderbilt’s hunting lodge at Buck Springs.
  • Bearwallow Mountain: A shorter hike located a short drive from downtown Asheville, Bearwallow Mountain should be shaping up well this week. You may get to enjoy a walk with the cows!
  • Pinnacle Park: If you're up for a challenge (and a day trip), hike to the pinnacle at Pinnacle Park just outside of the community of Sylva. 

*October 27 through November 3

Then, the fall leaf change reaches elevations between 3,000-4,000 feet. This is a great time for a fall drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many overlooks will provide a great view of fall color taking over the valleys below. Places to visit this week:

*November 1 through 6
Elevations between 2,000-3,000 feet, including the city of Asheville, see the strongest fall color. Places to visit this week:

  • Biltmore: This should be an especially colorful time on the Biltmore Estate. Grab a trail map and head toward the Lagoon for a magical view of America’s Largest Home. The trail also takes you along the French Broad River.
  • North Carolina Arboretum: Driving south from Asheville, stop at the North Carolina Arboretum to take a stroll on the wooded trails, or see a miniature fall color show put on by the resident bonsai exhibit.
  • DuPont State Forest: Go on a waterfall adventure in DuPont State Forest, which offers easy hikes to several favorite waterfall areas.
  • Wildcat Trail: For a new experience, hike the relatively new Wildcat Trail with views of Craggy Gardens off in the distance. 

*November 6 through 11
Fall color hits the lowest valleys and foothills between 1,000-2,000 feet. Places to visit this week:

  • Chimney Rock State Park: This is traditionally an especially nice time for a visit to Chimney Rock State Park in Hickory Nut Gorge. Hike to Chimney Rock (you can now take the elevator up!) or hike to Hickory Nut Falls.   

Last updated: October 18, 2021

See fall fan photos from the Asheville area!