As the Blue Ridge Mountains begin to burst with fall color, Grandfather Mountain invites leaf-lookers to see the brilliant change from one of the best leaf-looking destinations in the South.
Grandfather Mountain is home to myriad species of plants and hardwood trees that range from pumpkin-colored beech trees to blood-red sourwoods and rusty red oaks.
For a surefire glimpse of the autumnal brilliance, leaf-lookers can partake in Grandfather’s Fall Color Ramble, a series of guided walks through the mountain’s most colorful locations to be held Oct. 3-11.
These easygoing rambles, led by members of the park’s naturalist staff, give guests an opportunity to learn more about color change and explore the species of plants and trees native to Grandfather Mountain.
Participants will become more familiar with tree identification and will be able to ask questions about the annual color-changing phenomenon.
“The fall colors in the Southeast are exceptionally spectacular because of the diversity of species that change color,” said Lauren Farrell, interpretation and education programs coordinator for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Linville, N.C., nature preserve. “It’s definitely one of my favorite times on the mountain.”
The walks will be offered daily, Oct. 3 to 11, at 1 p.m., weather permitting, and are included with admission. Since the starting location will vary day to day based on the foliage, those planning to participate should inquire at the park’s Entrance Gate or Nature Museum upon arrival.
To ensure guests’ safety, social distancing practices will be observed during the rambles, and group sizes will be monitored. Face coverings are required in all indoor locations within the park, as well as outdoors when safe social distancing cannot be maintained. To learn more about Grandfather Mountain’s COVID-19 operating procedures, visit https://grandfather.com/covid-19-update/.
Those unable to attend a ramble needn’t worry. All throughout October and possibly beyond, the mountain will offer an ample display of fall color — even after the local leaves have peaked.
“You’re essentially able to see the entire season unfold before your eyes,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “Autumn always look spectacular from a mile high.”
In addition to the programs offered inside the park in October, fresh fall color photos are posted throughout the month on the mountain’s website and social media, including Facebook, Twitter (@GrandfatherMtn) and Instagram (@grandfathermtn).
The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com to book a trip.