Weekly Fall Color Report - Week of November 3 - 9, 2022
Fall is a season of wonder when the trees paint the Blue Ridge Mountains hues of yellow, red and gold. It’s the perfect time to plan an escape to the mountain summits, hiking trails, waterfalls and charming communities of Old Fort, Marion, Little Switzerland, Nebo and Linville Falls.
This region of the United States is home to an impressive biodiversity of tree species that produce a wide range of autumn-colored leaves. Paired with the Blue Ridge’s dramatic variations in elevation, the deciduous trees of the Southern Appalachian Mountains put on one of the longest and most colorful displays of fall foliage in the world.
Our Final Weekly Fall Foliage Update!
Be sure to bookmark this page, or follow along on our Facebook or Instagram channels for the most up to date information on fall color conditions around the NC Blue Ridge Mountains.
This week: It has been a beautiful and brilliant fall color season in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s not over yet! Peak color extends into the foothills this week. And with warm weather forecast for the week ahead, there’s still time to plan a fall adventure or enjoy the season from the comfort of a small town patio.
Take a hike at Lake James State Park to see the colors of autumn reflected in the pristine mountain lake, or visit nearby Chimney Rock State Park for a beautiful view from above. (Be sure to visit the Opera Box for a colorful photo op!)
Old Fort’s Point Lookout Trail has just reopened following repairs and offers a great vantage point for hikers and bikers to enjoy the fall color. And if you’re seeking adventure with a bit more balance, check out Namaste in Nature’s Waterfall Yoga Hikes to Tom’s Creek Falls on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the month of November.
On Saturday, Marion will host its annual Dia de Muertos Festival on Main Street — come for traditional food, music, performances and vendors. And enjoy the flavors of fall in the Blue Ridge throughout the week — choose from our great local restaurants or make a stop along the High Spirits Trail.
VIDEO: 2022 Fall Color Progress in the Blue Ridge Mountains
This video was taken during the first 10 days of October 2022. Fall color is full peak at elevations above 5,000 feet, and will begin popping in the lower elevations throughout the rest of the month. So far this year has been one of the best in terms of color brightness and variation. There is still plenty of time to catch this season's most striking color!
Expert Predictions for Fall Foliage in 2022
The Blue Ridge Mountains have seen plenty of rain throughout the summer, which means the forests here are lush, healthy and ready to put on a good show.
“Fall Color Guy” Dr. Howard Neufeld, professor of biology at Appalachian State University, has been following and documenting the fall color season in Western North Carolina for 15 years. He is optimistic that a drier (and hopefully sunnier) than normal forecast for October bodes well for bright colors — especially the eye-catching red of maples, dogwoods, sumacs and other species.
The timing of the color change can be largely determined by temperatures during the day and at night. With temperatures forecast to be above average in the coming weeks, Dr. Neufeld suggests that color may arrive a few days later than average. This also means that the fall season will extend well into the middle of November, especially in the lower Blue Ridge elevations around Marion and Lake James.
Where to See Fall Color in the Blue Ridge
The Blue Ridge Mountains’ extended color season means that no matter when you plan your visit, you’re sure to spot some brilliant leaves — as long as you know where to look.
The fall color changes begin at the highest elevations in late September, soon after the first calendar days of fall. Look for early color at Grandfather Mountain or at Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Linville Falls often boasts bright pops of gold early in the season, so be sure to bring your camera.
Over the following weeks, color will make its way down the mountain slopes into the middle elevations. Early to mid-October is a great time to take a scenic drive along the Parkway, watch the leaves fall beside Crabtree Falls, stop for lunch at Little Switzerland or enjoy the 360-degree view from the summit of Mount Mitchell.
By early November, the trees will be showing off along the main streets of Blue Ridge towns. Enjoy the autumn atmosphere as you browse shops, galleries and local restaurants in Old Fort and Marion. And don’t miss the beauty of fall reflected in the cool waters of Lake James.
Be sure to plan ahead for your fall getaway to the Blue Ridge. Book a place to stay at a local hotel, campground, cabin or vacation rental — it’s the ideal base camp for all of your fall adventures in the mountains!