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Fall Color - Tips for Leaf Season

When will the leaves be at their peak fall color on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

During the month of October, usually mid to late month, but it depends on your elevation. Leaves will begin changing first on the highest peaks and conclude in the lower elevations.

There is no simple formula for predicting fall color. The Parkway includes east and west facing slopes, and varies in elevation from just under 650 feet at James River in Virginia, to over 6,000 feet south of Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina.

Many visitors have been frustrated trying to go to one spot on one day in October, hoping to find the leaves in full color. A far better plan is to drive some distance on the Parkway, changing elevations and north-south orientation. Any one who does this around mid to late October will likely catch at least some sections at or very near their peak color.

Why does fall color vary year to year?

The intensity of fall color and time of peak color vary and are determined by complex environmental factors, as well as the genetic makeup of the plants themselves. The "best" fall color for an area occurs during the shortening days of autumn when days are bright, sunny and cool, when nights are cool but not below freezing, and when there has been ideal rainfall. Adequate rainfall also keeps the leaves on the trees longer and enhances the color. Wet, cloudy, warm weather or exceptionally low temperatures in early fall tend to mute the much anticipated autumnal display.

More Resources:

Read past years' reports on Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color

More on the Biology of Fall Color

Shenandoah Valley/Skyline Drive Fall Color Report

Virginia State Fall Foliage Information

Virginia Department of Forestry Fall Color Report

Roanoke, VA Fall Color Spots

Fall Color Report from the Weather Channel

North Carolina State Fall Foliage Information

Fall Color Report for Western North Carolina from Appalachian State Universtiy in Boone, NC

Fall Color Reports, Asheville North Carolina

Asheville Leaf Forecast and Guide

Great Smoky Mountains Fall Color

Tennesee

Highlights & Happenings

  • Julian Price Memorial Park, MP 297
  • Price Park is a haven for relaxation and recreation with the 47-acre Price Lake as its focal point. Visitors enjoy one of the most popular and largest picnic areas on the Parkway, along with camping, boating and fishing on Price Lake, and ample oppor
  • Humpback Rocks, MP 5.8
  • At the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is perhaps the best representation of the varied combination of natural and cultural resources anywhere along the Parkway corridor. Visitors can tour a collection of nineteenth century far
  • Waterrock Knob, MP 451.2
  • An ideal spot for watching sunrise and sunsets across the rugged mountains, Waterrock Knob Visitor Center sits at almost 6,000 feet elevation.
  • James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
  • At the lowest elevation along the Parkway, visitors can hike, camp, fish, have a picnic, and see restored Battery Creek Lock from the Kanawha Canal.
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • The Brinegar Cabin, craft demonstrations, and diverse hiking options and make Doughton Park a must-experience destination along the Parkway.
  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, picnic area, campground, lodge, restaurant, and country store make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Rocky Knob & Mabry Mill, MP 169, 176.2
  • These Parkway treasures offer many opportunities for visitors including hiking, camping, picnicking, and one of the most-photographed structures along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Fall Color - Tips for Leaf Season
  • Tips for planning your scenic drive or vacation to see the fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • What To Do
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway is more than a road – it is a beautiful journey that entices visitors to explore a 469-mile gateway to America’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Blooms & Wildlife Watching
  • Don't forget your cameras and binoculars when visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway! Learn when and where to see blooms along your journey.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner
  • The 68th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
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