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Fall Leaf Colors are Beginning to Peak at Areas with an Elevation of 3,000 Feet and Below

Grandfather Mountain on Friday at noon.

By Nathan Ham

While there are some colors still hanging around in areas of the High Country, the place to be in the next week are areas with an elevation at 3,000 feet and below, according to the latest update from Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, Appalachian State’s own Fall Leaf Guy.

“I think you will have one more good week and the next weekend to see good colors in the High Country. After that, you’ll have to focus on sites located at lower elevations, like Stone Mt. State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, and Gorges State Park. The Smokies should also be good this week and next, as will be places north on the Parkway up into Virginia,” said Dr. Neufeld. “Once you get above 3,500 feet though, the colors quickly drop out and by 4,000 feet, most of the leaves are gone or barely hanging on.”

Some leaves have been able to hang on to their color a little longer than usual due to the unseasonably warm temperatures this week according to Neufeld. Also as a reminder, oak trees are typically the last trees to start their color change so if you are familiar with areas that have a dense oak population, you should be able to find some lively colors of leaves still on the branches.

The latest leaf color update from Sugar Mountain posted on Wednesday said: “Peak fall colors have now progressed down to the lower elevations – below 3,500 feet elevation. However, you will still have plenty of color in the valleys that surround Sugar Mountain. Great color in Linville Gorge – see the view from Wiseman’s View. Head south on US 221 or NC 181 as colors head down to the foothills.”

For additional leaf color updates throughout the weekend and photos he has taken throughout the fall months, check out Dr. Neufeld’s Facebook page, Fall Color Guy.

Scenes from the Banner Elk area on Friday around lunchtime.

Beech Mountain
Sugar Mountain