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Fall Leaf Season is Ending Soon Above 2,500′

Stack Rock Creek takes a dip through fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Colors are still vibrant at some of the High Country’s higher elevations, as the changing of the leaves progresses further down into the valleys. For more fall color photos, visit Grandfather Mountain’s official Fall Color Gallery at http://bit.ly/2xzZnDz. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

By Jesse Wood

Leaf season is just about over in the High Country, according to the Fall Color Guy.

“The colors have come on very nicely, especially in and around Grandfather on the east side adjacent to the Parkway. In other areas, the colors are very dull, and above 3,000′, many leaves have now completely fallen off. If you didn’t get here today, and the rains coming don’t do a number on the trees, colors should persist to next weekend,” Dr. Howard Neufeld, a biology professor at Appalachian State, wrote in an Oct. 22 Facebook post.

“This has not been the greatest year for fall color, but I must say that they are not bad along Grandfather. Color is spotty this year, so as you drive the Parkway, you’ll go in and out of colorful areas. The colors are developing nicely now at 2,500′ and below and all high areas on the Parkway are now past their peak.”

If you are still looking for the best fall color, Neufeld suggests heading south and to lower elevation areas, such as Brevard, Pisgah Forest and the waterfalls, Chimney Rock and Gorges State Parks, as well as Stone Mountain State Park.

Neufeld mentioned that the unusually warm October weather and the storms from Hurricanes Irma and Nate “disrupted” this year’s leaf season and ranked this year’s season a 3 on a 1-10 scale, the lowest that he’s ever ranked a season since he started his fall color forecasts.

“Let’s hope next year we have more typical fall weather,” he wrote.

For latest updates from the Fall Color Guy, check out his Facebook page here and the App State biology leaf color page here. Neufeld’s updates are crucial if you’re trying to hit peak leaf season during your travels in the High Country and beyond – or if you just want to learn the science behind the color changes. 

Here is Neufeld’s fall 2017 photo album.