Brilliant mountain peaks and deep blue skies — you won’t find a better place to chase the changing colors of autumn than Western North Carolina (WNC). Whether you have an hour or plan a long weekend getaway, the panorama setting on your camera is sure to get a workout.
A tantalizing array of options await, from drivable overlooks to short walking trails to strenuous mountain hikes. As fellow lovers of the fall season’s colors, the team at GoPrime is pleased to share our picks with you for the best WNC fall leaf vistas.
Where Are the Best WNC Fall Leaf Vistas?
If you’d rather stay inside your ride, the best fall views are along the Blue Ridge Parkway. In WNC, gorgeous vistas reward you at every turn. Pull off frequently to check out the eye-popping colors. A few highlights, from the north to south, include:
- Grandfather Mountain/Linn Cove Viaduct. These stops afford views of our colorful mountains and a 1987 engineering marvel.
- Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. The small visitor center at this pull-off provides displays, souvenirs, bathrooms and beautiful fall leaf vistas.
- The Waterrock Knob. Over a mile high, this locale near the south end of the BRP is a great place to catch a sunset or sunrise, along with the fall colors.
If you crave a hike, trails abound in WNC. Some of the more outstanding hikes include:
- Joyce Kilmer National Recreational Trail. “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.” That iconic verse from Kilmer’s poem was inspired by this astonishing tract. Marvel at ancient woodlands on this two-mile trek.
- Elk Knob State Park. This park near Boone, NC provides brilliant vistas without the crowds. Hikers have a choice of gentle wanders to the more challenging Summit Trail.
- Mitchell State Park. The highest peak east of the Mississippi is a bucket list stop. The observation deck offers 360-degree panoramic vistas.
What Are the Mountain Towns to Visit for the Fall Colors?
After your excursion into the forest, stop for a meal or an overnight in one of the charming towns. Standouts include:
- Near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sylva affords a sweeping mountain view from a charming main street lined with eclectic shops and eateries. Enjoy the nearby Tree Walk, featuring more than 50 different species.
- Black Mountain. Just 15 minutes east of Asheville, this rocking chair town is a mecca for artists and musicians, with shops full of the region’s crafts.
- An historic town in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain, Boone has a thriving culture. Choose rafting or zip-lines. Or take a ride on the Tweetsie Railroad in nearby Blowing Rock.
The peak season for WNC fall leaf vistas occurs around mid-October. Higher elevations start earlier, so you can find colors nearly the entire month. To explore the views of affordable home ownership, contact GoPrime Mortgage. Our dedicated team offers personal service with individualized solutions.