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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


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Campground & Interpretive Programs

Thursday, November 26, 2015, 6:00 pm

The Polar Express

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fashions for Evergreens

Thursday, November 26, 2015, 8:00 am

2015 Union Drumstick Dash

Thursday, November 26, 2015, 9:00 am

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, November 26, 2015, 7:00 pm

Campground & Interpretive Programs

Friday, November 27, 2015, 6:00 pm

The Polar Express

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fashions for Evergreens

Friday, November 27, 2015, 8:00 am


Friday, November 27, 2015, 10:00 am

Hard Candy Christmas Arts and Crafts Show

Friday, November 27, 2015, 10:00 am

Black Friday Holiday Wine Sale Kickoff

Friday, November 27, 2015, 10:00 am

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, November 27, 2015, 7:00 pm

Campground & Interpretive Programs

Saturday, November 28, 2015, 6:00 pm

The Polar Express

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fashions for Evergreens

Saturday, November 28, 2015, 8:00 am


Saturday, November 28, 2015, 10:00 am

Holiday Tree Lighting

Saturday, November 28, 2015, 3:30 pm

Campground & Interpretive Programs

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 6:00 pm

The Polar Express

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fashions for Evergreens

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 8:00 am


Sunday, November 29, 2015, 10:00 am

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 2:00 pm

Campground & Interpretive Programs

Monday, November 30, 2015, 6:00 pm

The Polar Express

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fashions for Evergreens

Monday, November 30, 2015, 8:00 am


Monday, November 30, 2015, 10:00 am

Highlights & Happenings

  • Julian Price Memorial Park, MP 297
  • A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, named in honor of Julian Price, comprises this popular park and lies directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks make up the largest developed area set as
  • Cumberland Knob, MP 217.5
  • Located near the Virginia state line, Cumberland Knob is the site where construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1935. It was the first recreation area opened to the public and remains a favorite destination for both locals and visitors. The m
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, camping and the Mount Pisgah Inn make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain and thousands of surrounding acres was originally purchased by indust
  • 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
  • Fall Color - Tips for Leaf Season
  • Tips for planning your scenic drive or vacation to see the fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • 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 66th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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