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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

<< November 2014 >>
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The Polar Express™

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 6:00 pm

Thanksgiving Family Festivities at Fontana

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 8:00 am

Common Threads: Five Influential Women and their Legacies

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Battle of the Brushes Exhibit

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Blow your own holiday ornament

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 11:00 am

The Polar Express

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 5:00 pm

Christmas by Candlelight Tours

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 6:30 pm
27

The Polar Express™

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 6:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fashions for Evergreens

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 7:00 am

Thanksgiving Family Festivities at Fontana

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 8:00 am

2014 Union Drumstick DASH

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 9:00 am

Common Threads: Five Influential Women and their Legacies

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Battle of the Brushes Exhibit

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Turkey Day Crafts

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Blow your own holiday ornament

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 11:00 am

Thanksgiving Day Buffet

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 11:30 am

The Polar Express

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 5:00 pm

Christmas by Candlelight Tours

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 6:30 pm
28

The Polar Express™

Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:00 pm

Christmas in the Park & Lighting of the Town

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fashions for Evergreens

Friday, November 28, 2014, 7:00 am

Thanksgiving Family Festivities at Fontana

Friday, November 28, 2014, 8:00 am

27th Annual Hard Candy Christmas Arts & Crafts Festival

Friday, November 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Common Threads: Five Influential Women and their Legacies

Friday, November 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Battle of the Brushes Exhibit

Friday, November 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Blow your own holiday ornament

Friday, November 28, 2014, 11:00 am

Holiday Arts & Crafts Market

Friday, November 28, 2014, 11:00 am

Free Guided Walking Tours of Historic Lexington

Friday, November 28, 2014, 3:00 pm

The Polar Express

Friday, November 28, 2014, 5:00 pm

Christmas by Candlelight Tours

Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:30 pm

Old Fort Mountain Music

Friday, November 28, 2014, 7:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, November 28, 2014, 7:00 pm
29

The Polar Express™

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 6:00 pm

Christmas in the Park & Lighting of the Town

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fashions for Evergreens

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 7:00 am

Thanksgiving Family Festivities at Fontana

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 8:00 am

Saturdays with St. Nickolas

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 10:00 am

27th Annual Hard Candy Christmas Arts & Crafts Festival

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 10:00 am

Common Threads: Five Influential Women and their Legacies

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 10:00 am

Annual Thanksgiving Kiln Opening

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 10:00 am

Battle of the Brushes Exhibit

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 10:00 am

Blow your own holiday ornament

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 11:00 am

Fall Stroll Around the Lake

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 2:00 pm

The Polar Express

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 5:00 pm

Santa by Rail

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 5:00 pm

Christmas by Candlelight Tours

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 6:30 pm

Music at the Star

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 9:00 pm
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30

The Polar Express™

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 6:00 pm

Fashions for Evergreens

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 7:00 am

Saturdays with St. Nickolas

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 10:00 am

Common Threads: Five Influential Women and their Legacies

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 10:00 am

Battle of the Brushes Exhibit

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 10:00 am

Blow your own holiday ornament

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 11:00 am

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 2:00 pm

The Polar Express

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 5:00 pm

Christmas by Candlelight Tours

Sunday, November 30, 2014, 6:30 pm
           

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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nearby Accommodations
  • Explore the quaint towns and vibrant cities that the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through, and a variety of lodging choices.
  • 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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