The reds and oranges are creeping in on the leaves around us, which means one thing: Peak Fall Foliage Season is almost here. And Asheville truly is one of the best towns from which to launch into a color-drenched hike into the mountains.
Sitting in one of the rare transition zones where northern and southern trees and shrubs start intermixing, Asheville and the surrounding southern Appalachian Mountains have gained notoriety for their spectacular tree color displays and we have our elevation to thank. Regions between 3,000 and 5,000 feet (above sea level) offer the greatest diversity in species and, as a result, produce the broadest range of colors on the spectrum.
But where and when exactly should you embark on that search for nature’s most spectacular Fall art show? Easy. Consult the experts—and see for yourself.
The National Forest Service has two live feeds located in two different regions of Western North Carolina. One is in the Shining Rock Wilderness with a view of Cold Mountain; the other is in the Joyce Kilmer Wilderness. Check out their live videos of the areas and judge for yourself how well the leaves are transitioning now and throughout the season.
Plan your trip accordingly and remember: Higher elevations (3,500 to 4,600 feet) are optimal in the early season, like now. Maybe pan a trip next weekend to the grassy bald of Max Patch in the Fines Creek area?
Wherever you go, we hope to see you on the trails!