Blue Ridge Parkway
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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:

Call the Parkway Information Line to hear the latest Seasonal Report: (828) 298-0398, press option 3.

View Fall Color Reports from previous years

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 Fall Color

Calendar

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Spring Boat Tour

Friday, April 29, 2016, 10:00 am

How the West Was Won

Friday, April 29, 2016, 2:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:00 pm
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International Migratory Bird Day Celebration

Saturday, April 30, 2016, 8:30 am

Paddy's Creek Trail Hike

Saturday, April 30, 2016, 9:00 am

Lexington Historic Garden Tour

Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10:00 am

Spring Open House Weekend at Chateau Morrisette

Saturday, April 30, 2016, 12:00 pm

South Creek Winery Deck Series - Sorella Jack

Saturday, April 30, 2016, 1:00 pm

How the West Was Won

Saturday, April 30, 2016, 2:00 pm
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Highlights & Happenings

  • Peaks of Otter, MP 86
  • With stunning views, natural beauty, and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest, it’s no wonder the Peaks of Otter area has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years.
  • 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. Exhibits, book sales, and a trail leading to the summit of Waterrock Knob await visitors. The last hik
  • 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.
  • Moses H. Cone Park, MP 294
  • A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, named in honor of Julian Price, lies directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks comprise the largest developed area set aside for public recreati
  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Visitors traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway can now make one stop to learn about the entire 469 miles and 73-year history of the Parkway. The Parkway Visitor Center opened in 2008 and unveiled innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. The LEED-certif
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • Renew your senses amid this landscape of open meadows. Doughton Park is one of the best places along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes, and bobcats.  Flowers burst on the scene in late spring and crea
  • Craggy Gardens, MP 364
  • These high elevation summits are home to spectacular floral displays. June and July are usually prime times to view the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron, but don’t despair if you miss the peak bloom. Violets, blackberry, May-apple, a
  • Parkway Road Conditions
  • An open Parkway is a safe Parkway. Be sure to check road conditions online or by phone before you travel and during your visit.
  • Camping
  • Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner
  • The 67th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • 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.
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