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
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.
*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.
*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!
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:
Downtown: In the city of Asheville, including downtown Asheville, many trees will have bright fall color. It’s the perfect backdrop for shopping or exploring the local neighborhoods.
*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: