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Sugar Mountain Provides Updates about First Fall Colors in the NC Blue Ridge Mountains

By Harley Nefe

Sugar Mountain Village Tourism will be providing local fall color updates in addition to the peak color forecasts and guides from Appalachian State University Biology professor Howard Neufeld, who is better known as the “Fall Color Guy” on Facebook

Sugar Mountain is the sweet spot for the first fall colors high in the North Carolina mountains. 

According to the most recent update from Sept. 6 on Sugar Mountain’s website, “First overnight temperatures in the 40s are perfect to begin the color transition. Long range weather for September looks more “normal” than recent years when heat delayed and muted colors. All signs are pointing to great fall colors this year. Find very spotty color already.”

So, this begs the question, when is fall peak color?

Also according to Sugar Mountain’s update, “From the mile-high summit of Sugar Mountain (elevation 5,236 ft) to the nearby valley deep in the Linville Gorge (elevation 1,300 ft), you’ll find autumn colors during most of October. Since elevation varies greatly in our area, easily drive to find the most vibrant colors. If leaves are past peak in one area, just head down in elevation. Weather controls the exact timeline. If we have a warmer than usual September, colors are slower to turn.”

An estimate of the timeline of fall color changes is also listed on the website.

  • Late September: See the first foliage turning on our highest summits and rocky slopes including the Rough Ridge hike.
  • Early October: Head to the highest elevations including the top half of Sugar Mountain, Grandfather Mountain and Linn Cove Viaduct area of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the most foliage color.
  • Mid October: Most of the Blue Ridge Parkway in our area (see our Parkway Scenic Loop) peaks – especially the Linville Falls area.
  • Late October: Our valleys and views from the Parkway into the valleys are the most vibrant. Areas of color continue into early November.

For more updates on the peak color forecast from Sugar Mountain Village Tourism, check out their Facebook page. 

Read the High Country Press’s last update on fall leaf colors here: https://www.hcpress.com/news/appalachian-states-leaf-color-expert-says-cool-september-will-result-in-vibrant-leaf-colors.html

Be sure to keep checking back with the High Country Press for updates on the fall leaf season in the mountains.