10 Best Places To See Fall Colors in The Carolinas

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • October 25, 2019

Looking for the best place to spot fall colors in the Carolinas? Here are 10 local areas to visit!

We Carolinians are lucky to live in a region that has beautiful weather and landscapes all year round. But, there is really nothing quite like the beauty that takes over our state in the fall as the leaves on the trees turn from summer greens to vibrant yellow, rich red and burnt orange. 

While foliage changes happen in our own backyards, some of the best places to “leaf peep” are in the western part of our state. Each year, thousands of people head out toward the mountains to witness true fall colors in the Carolinas. 

Over the coming weeks, the weather is expected to change dramatically and according to experts, conditions are lining up for a vibrant autumn season. If you’re up for a bit of a ride (in the name of fall) check out one, two, or all of the places on this list for some unbe-leaf-able leaf peeping.

There is an ideal time to visit each of these locations but color changes can be unpredictable, so be sure to check online before you go. Explore Asheville offers a free fall color map and leaf schedule – check it out!

Top 10 Places to See Fall Colors in the Carolinas

1. Mount Mitchell State Park 

Early October – Mid-October

Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, so you’ll likely be able to see some great fall colors beginning at the summit. You can either drive or hike to the top as either will give you an unrivaled view of the fall colored blanket that covers the land below. 

2. Grandfather Mountain 

Early October – Mid-October

Known for its famous Mile High Swinging Bridge and it’s popular hiking trails, Grandfather Mountain also puts on an early leaf display. All throughout the fall season, Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain provide ideal vantage points to see the fall colors in the valleys.  

3. Graveyard Fields

Early October – Mid-October

Graveyard Fields gets its name from the appearance of the landscape after logging and fire destroyed much of the forest and soil. The tree stumps left behind look like gravestones. While not at the same 6,000+ ft. altitudes as the previously listed locations, Graveyard Fields is one of the first areas to see fall color because of a particular plant species native to the area – the rhododendron. 

4. Blowing Rock

Early October – Mid-October

The charming town of Blowing Rock should be on every Carolinians fall must-visit list. The area has so much to offer in the way of outdoor recreational activities – you and the family are sure to catch a glimpse of fall color if you’re here in early October. 

5. Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle

Mid-October 

Throughout the fall months you can always count on some great views along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but if you’re looking for a 360 degree fall color experience, head to the Craggy Gardens area and take a short hike up to the Craggy Pinnacle. 

6. Black Balsam 

Mid-October 

A little further south on the Parkway, you’ll find the Black Balsam Knob and Sam Knob offer expansive views of the surrounding mountains and their autumn colored trees.  

7. Max Patch

Mid-October 

While just a hilltop or “bald” as the Southern Appalachians call it, Max Patch offers unimpeded views for miles with Mount Mitchell in the east and the Great Smokies in the west. Pack a picnic and Frisbee, and spend the day taking it all in.

8. Linville Falls

Mid October – Late October

This waterfall is one of the most popular in the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering a truly spectacular experience all year-round. But in the month of October, visitors of Linville Falls are treated to gorgeous fall views and fresh, crisp mountain air.  

9. Biltmore Estate 

Late October – Early November 

When the leaves start changing, the Biltmore Estate becomes a beautiful fall wonderland. While any other time of the year a visitor’s focus is likely on the house, it’s during the fall that the property itself gets some real attention. Take your time to explore – scenic mountain views can sneak up on you everywhere. 

10. Lake Lure

Late October – Early November 

There’s nothing quite like the view of fall colored mountains reflecting on a smooth lake – a view you get at Lake Lure in late October. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in the Hickory Nut Gorge, you can make a day trip of this fall destination from the Charlotte area.

These sites will certainly get you ready for fall, but is your lawn ready for what this time of year brings with it? 

We created a free guide to help you help your lawn prepare for each season. Download The Four Seasons of Lawn Care: The Seasonal Benefits of Having A Professional Lawn Care Service to get started. From weed control and fertilizer, to disease prevention, lime applications, aeration, and more – understand exactly what it is your lawn needs to flourish each season. 

DOWNLOAD YOUR GUIDE

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