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Peak Leaf Color Moving Towards Lower Elevations – 2,500 to 3,500 Feet


By Jesse Wood

As Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, noted in a post over the weekend, fall color progressed “rather quickly” over the past several days.

The past two weekends have offered some exceptional leaf-looking opportunities in the higher elevations of the High Country, and now peak color is descending from the mountaintops.

“The peak color now is in the valley’s from the Grandfather Mountain vantage point which does provide a great place to view the greater landscape. From Linville Peak, the best colors are along the southern escarpment of the mountain below the Blue Ridge Parkway. Drives along Edgemont and Roseboro roads between 2,500 to 3,500 feet are at peak right now. That area has lots of reds and oranges in the landscape, more so than on the western slopes this year,” Pope said in a posting placed on the Fall Color Guy page.

Pope suggested that Highway 181 from Linville Falls and Jonas Ridge to Morganton and the forest roads into Wilson Creek look “wonderful right” now with its sourwood, black gum and red oaks coloring the landscape.

ASU biology professor Howard Neufeld, aka the “Fall Color Guy” responded to a question from a reader who wondered how the color would look next week in the High Country.

Here’s what he said: “I think the portion between Grandfather and Asheville should be very good at that time, especially lower than 3,000′ elevation. And the section going from Asheville south toward the Smokies, again, at the lower elevations. By Oct 23, most of the high elevations will be past peak, but between 2,500′ and 3,000′ ought to be good color. Hope this helps.”

For more information about leaf color in the High Country, check out the Fall Color Guy page.

Shawneehaw Creek winds through Banner Elk, dappled by fall color and green rhododendrons. Fall color has progressed rather quickly during the past week in the High Country. Peak color can now be seen in the valleys from the Grandfather Mountain vantage point, which offers a stellar view of the larger landscape. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation