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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 Fall Color 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

Fall Color Report for the Shenandoah Valley/Blue Ridge Parkway region from the Weather Channel

North Carolina State Fall Foliage Information

Fall Color Reports, Asheville North Carolina

Asheville Leaf Forecast and Guide

Great Smoky Mountains Fall Color

Tennesee Fall Color

Calendar

<< September 2014 >>
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Historic Marian Tailgate Market

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 3:00 pm

Fall Craft Market

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 3:00 pm
24

Informal Upstairs Tour - Cone Manor

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 11:00 am

Creeking

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 3:00 pm
25

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:00 pm

Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Festival

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall Migration Bird Trek

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 10:00 am

Hotel Floyd Concert Series

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:00 pm

Ghosts of Mitchell County with Peggy Poe Stern

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 7:00 pm
26

Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Festival

Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:00 pm

Oktoberfest

Friday, September 26, 2014

Guest Appreciation Festival

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pisgah District - Hike of the Week

Friday, September 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Boat Tour

Friday, September 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Free Guided Walking Tours of Historic Lexington

Friday, September 26, 2014, 3:00 pm

Old Fort Mountain Music

Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:30 pm
27

Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 6:00 pm

Music and Art in the Mountains

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oktoberfest

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Guest Appreciation Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Evening Campfire Program at Mt. Pisgah

Saturday, May 31, 2014, 7:30 pm

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, June 7, 2014, 6:30 pm

Gettysburg Fall Outdoor Antique Show

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 7:00 am

Pippinfest

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8:00 am

Gatlinburg Farmer's Market

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8:30 am

Black Mountain Tailgate Market

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

Mountain Heritage Day

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

Green Hill Highland Games

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

Music & Art in the Mountains

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Native Plant Gardening

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Colonial Living

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Ranger-led tours of Cone Manor

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 11:00 am

17th Annual Harrisonburg International Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 12:00 pm

Vineyard Deck Music Series - Todd Greene

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 1:00 pm

Skunks!

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 3:30 pm

Across the Blue Ridge: Collectors and Song Carriers

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 4:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 7:30 pm
<W
28

Oktoberfest

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 6:00 pm

Guest Appreciation Festival

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pippinfest

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 8:00 am

Colonial Living

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Ranger-led tours of Cone Manor

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 11:00 am

Sunday Sounds at Chateau Morrisette

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 1:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 2:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 2:30 pm
29

Oktoberfest

Monday, September 29, 2014, 6:00 pm

Explore Lake James by Canoe

Monday, September 29, 2014, 9:00 am
30

Oktoberfest

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 6:00 pm

Historic Marian Tailgate Market

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 3:00 pm

Fall Craft Market

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 3:00 pm

Overmountain Victory Trail Hike

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 6:00 pm

Balsam Range Concert

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 7:30 pm
       

Highlights & Happenings

  • 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
  • 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
  • Humpback Rocks, MP 5.8
  • Located at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is an area rich in history, scenic beauty, and abundant hiking trails. Early European settlers forged a living from the native materials that flourished in the Appalachian Mountain
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Monacan Indian Nation Fall Festival
  • Come immerse yourself in the culture of the Monacan Indian Nation in a 3-day event including music, dancing, performances and artisans.
  • Fall Color - Tips for Leaf Season
  • Tips for planning your scenic drive or vacation to see the fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • 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.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Nearby Accommodations
  • Explore the quaint towns and vibrant cities that the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through, and a variety of lodging choices.
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