Photos: Grandfather Mountain in the Fall

Published Friday, October 28, 2016 at 11:53 am
A brilliant autumn sky joins vibrant fall color in a reflection on the Linville River. While much of the High Country's fall foliage is past peak, spot color still abounds, and elevations lower than 3,000 feet continue to change. Fortunately, Grandfather Mountain offers a unique vantage point to watch that change progress through the valleys below and beyond. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A brilliant autumn sky joins vibrant fall color in a reflection on the Linville River. While much of the High Country’s fall foliage is past peak, spot color still abounds, and elevations lower than 3,000 feet continue to change. Fortunately, Grandfather Mountain offers a unique vantage point to watch that change progress through the valleys below and beyond. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Compiled By Jesse Wood

Decades ago, Hugh Morton, the late developer and steward of Grandfather Mountain (and promotional genius), figured out how to get his beloved mountain on the front page of newspapers across the South. He provided color separation of images depicting Grandfather Mountain to publishers.

See, this was in the black-and-white era of printing when color images were expensive and time consuming to produce. Publishers were eager to print a beautiful color photo on the front pages, and Morton knew this. Morton did the legwork in the image department and Grandfather Mountain reaped the publicity. (See more about this in the “From the Publisher” introduction in the July 2015 edition of High Country Magazine, which also features a cover story or two on Grandfather Mountain.)

In this same vein, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation sends out a fall photo from late September to late October that primarily depicts Grandfather Mountain, a roughly 4,000-acre preserve that includes Grandfather Mountain State Park, the Grandfather Mountain attraction and nature conservancy land.

For fall 2016, Grandfather Mountain sent out a fall photo just about every day from Sept. 28 to Oct. 28. Here are most, if not all, of those photos below in one gallery. For more information about Grandfather Mountain, click here.  For fall color reports, click here.

Beginning with most recent:

A brilliant autumn sky joins vibrant fall color in a reflection on the Linville River. While much of the High Country's fall foliage is past peak, spot color still abounds, and elevations lower than 3,000 feet continue to change. Fortunately, Grandfather Mountain offers a unique vantage point to watch that change progress through the valleys below and beyond. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A brilliant autumn sky joins vibrant fall color in a reflection on the Linville River. While much of the High Country’s fall foliage is past peak, spot color still abounds, and elevations lower than 3,000 feet continue to change. Fortunately, Grandfather Mountain offers a unique vantage point to watch that change progress through the valleys below and beyond.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Maple leaves change their shade at Linville Falls, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although fall color has mostly peaked at elevations higher than 3,000 feet, spot color continues to pop throughout the High Country. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Maple leaves change their shade at Linville Falls, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although fall color has mostly peaked at elevations higher than 3,000 feet, spot color continues to pop throughout the High Country.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall meets falls at the Linville Falls Visitor Center, located near Milepost 316 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Autumn colors continue to thrive at elevations near and below 3,000 feet. According to Dr. Howard Neufeld, "Fall Color Guy" and professor of biology at Appalachian State University, oaks are now changing, including pin, red and scarlet, and some color remains to develop, despite this past weekend's high winds. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall meets falls at the Linville Falls Visitor Center, located near Milepost 316 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Autumn colors continue to thrive at elevations near and below 3,000 feet. 
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall color cruises along U.S. 221 near Linville. Experts report that colors are just past peak at elevations of 3,000 feet and above. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall color cruises along U.S. 221 near Linville. Experts report that colors are just past peak at elevations of 3,000 feet and above.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall color is served on Table Rock near the Linville Gorge, in this photo taken last week. While wind and rain brought down many leaves over the weekend, experts are happy to report there's a surprising amount of trees that have held on to their color, including many in the Linville Gorge. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall color is served on Table Rock near the Linville Gorge, in this photo taken last week. While wind and rain brought down many leaves over the weekend, experts are happy to report there’s a surprising amount of trees that have held on to their color, including many in the Linville Gorge.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Ever-distinctive mountain ash berries shine bright red atop Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Ever-distinctive mountain ash berries shine bright red atop Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Huckleberries, pinkshell azalea and withrod glow bright in the sunrise near Grandfather Mountain's Top Shop. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Huckleberries, pinkshell azalea and withrod glow bright in the sunrise near Grandfather Mountain’s Top Shop. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Autumn foliage climbs its way up the Linville Gorge. Experts believe fall color is currently peaking at higher elevations and will continue to do so throughout the weekend. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Autumn foliage climbs its way up the Linville Gorge. Experts believe fall color is currently peaking at higher elevations and will continue to do so throughout the weekend.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Early morning light on Thursday brightened the roadside foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway's Linn Cove Viaduct on Grandfather Mountain. Autumn color is now at peak in many parts of the North Carolina High Country and is expected to be dynamic for at least another week. Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Early morning light on Thursday brightened the roadside foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct on Grandfather Mountain. Autumn color is now at peak in many parts of the North Carolina High Country and is expected to be dynamic for at least another week.
Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Early Thursday morning autumn colors were aglow in MacRae Meadows at the base of Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Early Thursday morning autumn colors were aglow in MacRae Meadows at the base of Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Vibrant oranges, yellows and golds lead the way to Grandfather Mountain along the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to experts, warm temperatures this week could slow down leaf color development, potentially prolonging peak color through the weekend. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Vibrant oranges, yellows and golds lead the way to Grandfather Mountain along the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to experts, warm temperatures this week could slow down leaf color development, potentially prolonging peak color through the weekend.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall color embraces the slopes of Grandfather Mountain, as seen from the boulders at neighboring Grandmother Mountain. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall color embraces the slopes of Grandfather Mountain, as seen from the boulders at neighboring Grandmother Mountain.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

The 2016 fall foliage season in the North Carolina High Country is on track to be among the most colorful in recent years. This photograph, taken Monday of the Blue Ridge Parkway's Linn Cove Viaduct on Grandfather Mountain, shows that opportunities for photographers are now numerous. Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

The 2016 fall foliage season in the North Carolina High Country is on track to be among the most colorful in recent years. Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Autumn colors have been a bit late arriving in the North Carolina High Country this year, but the foliage show is beginning to get dramatic. This photograph taken Monday from the Blue Ridge Parkway shows that peak color is probably just a few more days away on the southern slopes of Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Autumn colors have been a bit late arriving in the North Carolina High Country this year, but the foliage show is beginning to get dramatic. This photograph taken Monday from the Blue Ridge Parkway shows that peak color is probably just a few more days away on the southern slopes of Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Jim Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Grandfather Mountain's Linville Bluffs looks down upon the fall color below. Throughout autumn, Grandfather Mountain's high elevation allows visitors to practically see the season in its entirety, as color change rolls through the valleys below. But since the leaves are currently changing higher up, those visiting Grandfather Mountain this weekend can expect long lines. To avoid the wait and the beat the lines, visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at https://goo.gl/H4iLBm. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Bluffs looks down upon the fall color below. Throughout autumn, Grandfather Mountain’s high elevation allows visitors to practically see the season in its entirety, as color change rolls through the valleys below. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Maple leaves catch up with their color-changing cohorts at Grandfather Mountain's MacRae Meadows. As peak color begins to arrive at higher elevations, and with several fall festivals taking place this weekend, those visiting Grandfather Mountain can expect heavy traffic throughout the High Country. To beat the lines and avoid the wait at Grandfather Mountain, guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at https://goo.gl/H4iLBm. Online tickets grant visitors access to a priority lane, which allows them to enter the park through a side entrance. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Maple leaves catch up with their color-changing cohorts at Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows. As peak color begins to arrive at higher elevations, and with several fall festivals taking place this weekend, those visiting Grandfather Mountain can expect heavy traffic throughout the High Country. To beat the lines and avoid the wait at Grandfather Mountain, guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at https://goo.gl/H4iLBm. Online tickets grant visitors access to a priority lane, which allows them to enter the park through a side entrance.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Grandfather Mountain and vibrant fall color burst into view around a bend on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Despite Friday morning's fog, cool weather and abundant sunshine throughout the week have stimulated leaf color development, and experts are anticipating peak color this weekend at higher elevations, especially those above 4,500 feet. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Grandfather Mountain and vibrant fall color burst into view around a bend on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Despite Friday morning’s fog, cool weather and abundant sunshine throughout the week have stimulated leaf color development, and experts are anticipating peak color this weekend at higher elevations, especially those above 4,500 feet.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall color is speeding up along the Blue Ridge Parkway, illustrated by some bright reds, yellows and oranges at the Stack Rock Bridge. According to Dr. Howard Neufeld, "Fall Color Guy" and professor of biology at Appalachian State University, cool mornings, moderate daytime temperatures and abundant sunshine have accelerated leaf color development in the High Country. In fact, since last weekend, hillsides in the 3,000 to 4,500 elevation range have seen a 30 percent increase in fall color, Neufeld said. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall color is speeding up along the Blue Ridge Parkway, illustrated by some bright reds, yellows and oranges at the Stack Rock Bridge. 
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

A brilliant blue sky mingles with autumn gold in a reflection on the Linville River. Color is bursting in Linville and surrounding areas, and experts believe peak color will reach Grandfather Mountain by this coming weekend. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A brilliant blue sky mingles with autumn gold in a reflection on the Linville River. Color is bursting in Linville and surrounding areas, and experts believe peak color will reach Grandfather Mountain by this coming weekend.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Sunshine beams through brilliant foliage in Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows. According to Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, peak color will likely arrive at Grandfather Mountain and other high-elevation locales this coming weekend. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Sunshine beams through brilliant foliage in Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows. According to Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, peak color will likely arrive at Grandfather Mountain and other high-elevation locales this coming weekend.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall foliage flows along the Boone Fork Trail, located at Milepost 296.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Dr. Howard Neufeld, "Fall Color Guy" and professor of biology at Appalachian State University, reports that, despite the slow start, colors are now starting to jump out, most evident with the yellows and oranges of birches, poplars, magnolias and maples. In addition, a few bright red maples, sourwoods and black gums can be spotted on area hillsides. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall foliage flows along the Boone Fork Trail, located at Milepost 296.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

A colorful medley of American beech, aster and fern decorate Grandfather Mountain's Woods Walk Trail. While experts believe this weekend and the next will bookend peak color season, fall color could extend into the third week of October in the Boone and Blowing Rock areas if the weather doesn't get much colder. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A colorful medley of American beech, aster and fern decorate Grandfather Mountain’s Woods Walk Trail. While experts believe this weekend and the next will bookend peak color season, fall color could extend into the third week of October in the Boone and Blowing Rock areas if the weather doesn’t get much colder.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Autumn foliage complements the lush scenery at Grandfather Mountain's Woods Walk & Picnic Area. This weekend, visitors to the mountain can expect to see some colorful maples, sourwoods, azaleas, huckleberries and hobblebush that are crimson red to bright red. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Autumn foliage complements the lush scenery at Grandfather Mountain’s Woods Walk & Picnic Area. This weekend, visitors to the mountain can expect to see some colorful maples, sourwoods, azaleas, huckleberries and hobblebush that are crimson red to bright red.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall foliage smooths out the color palette at Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 302.8). According to Dr. Howard Neufeld, “Fall Color Guy” and biology professor at Appalachian State University, this weekend should be a prime time to visit the higher elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway, with this weekend and the next bookending the peak color season. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall foliage smooths out the color palette at Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 302.8). 
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Shrouded in morning fog, Grandfather Mountain’s iconic peaks begin to show the signs of autumn. According to Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, fall color is still slowly progressing and not yet peak at higher elevations. However, increasingly colorful maples, sourwoods, azaleas, huckleberries, hobblebush and yellow birches point toward peak color just around the corner, with each day bringing a visible change. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Shrouded in morning fog, Grandfather Mountain’s iconic peaks begin to show the signs of autumn. According to Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, fall color is still slowly progressing and not yet peak at higher elevations. However, increasingly colorful maples, sourwoods, azaleas, huckleberries, hobblebush and yellow birches point toward peak color just around the corner, with each day bringing a visible change.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

A red maple turns bright crimson in the town of Linville, N.C. Although much of this year’s fall color has yet to arrive, experts believe it could peak next week. Meanwhile, areas above the Blue Ridge Parkway, which are typically the first to turn, are beginning to showcase their seasonal colors. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A red maple turns bright crimson in the town of Linville, N.C. Although much of this year’s fall color has yet to arrive, experts believe it could peak next week. Meanwhile, areas above the Blue Ridge Parkway, which are typically the first to turn, are beginning to showcase their seasonal colors.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Bears in the Mist: Smokey and Kodiak enjoy a foggy morning at Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Alexis Rowe | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Bears in the Mist: Smokey and Kodiak enjoy a foggy morning at Grandfather Mountain.
Photo by Alexis Rowe | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Mountain ash creates a fiery contrast with huckleberry and azalea bushes on the switchbacks up to Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge. According to Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, color progression has been a little slower on the mountain than in previous years. This week, however, has seen colors begin to turn very quickly, with daily changes evident, especially at elevations higher than 4,700 feet. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Mountain ash creates a fiery contrast with huckleberry and azalea bushes on the switchbacks up to Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge. According to Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, color progression has been a little slower on the mountain than in previous years. This week, however, has seen colors begin to turn very quickly, with daily changes evident, especially at elevations higher than 4,700 feet.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

The sun rises on Beacon Heights (MP 305.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway), as autumn foliage complements the hues of dawn. According to Dr. Howard Neufeld, Fall Color Guy and professor of biology at Appalachian State University, this coming week could be the best time to visit high-elevation spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, since they peak earlier than lower elevations. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

The sun rises on Beacon Heights (MP 305.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway), as autumn foliage complements the hues of dawn. According to Dr. Howard Neufeld, Fall Color Guy and professor of biology at Appalachian State University, this coming week could be the best time to visit high-elevation spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, since they peak earlier than lower elevations.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Virginia creeper assumes the hues of autumn, as it crawls along a bridge on U.S. 221 near Grandfather Mountain. Each day, the drive to Grandfather becomes ever more colorful, although the mountain's western slopes have already seen a dramatic change. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Virginia creeper assumes the hues of autumn, as it crawls along a bridge on U.S. 221 near Grandfather Mountain. Each day, the drive to Grandfather becomes ever more colorful, although the mountain’s western slopes have already seen a dramatic change.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Red maple beings to show its true color near Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 302.8). This is typical of the parkway's dry, high-elevation ridges, many of which are the first to exhibit signs of the season. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Red maple beings to show its true color near Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 302.8). This is typical of the parkway’s dry, high-elevation ridges, many of which are the first to exhibit signs of the season.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

A young buck pauses among white wood aster and goldenrod near Grandfather Mountain’s Woods Walk, as a red maple above begins to contradict its name. Fall color continues to be most prevalent between altitudes of 5,000 and 6,000 feet, although spot color is bursting into view at elevations between 4,000 to 4,500, particularly along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A young buck pauses among white wood aster and goldenrod near Grandfather Mountain’s Woods Walk, as a red maple above begins to contradict its name. Fall color continues to be most prevalent between altitudes of 5,000 and 6,000 feet, although spot color is bursting into view at elevations between 4,000 to 4,500, particularly along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

While more prevalent at elevations higher than 5,000 feet, fall color is rapidly spreading through the 4,000-foot range, as this scene near the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct demonstrates. As autumn continues its march, higher elevations, like those on the parkway and Grandfather Mountain, will afford leaf-lookers an opportunity to also see the foliage changing in the valleys below. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

While more prevalent at elevations higher than 5,000 feet, fall color is rapidly spreading through the 4,000-foot range, as this scene near the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct demonstrates. As autumn continues its march, higher elevations, like those on the parkway and Grandfather Mountain, will afford leaf-lookers an opportunity to also see the foliage changing in the valleys below.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall color is on exhibit, as this view from Grandfather Mountain's Nature Museum illustrates. With temperatures continuing to drop at night, the change in color is on the rise. In fact, experts are predicting peak color this very weekend at elevations between 5,000 and 6,000 feet. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall color is on exhibit, as this view from Grandfather Mountain’s Nature Museum illustrates. With temperatures continuing to drop at night, the change in color is on the rise. In fact, experts are predicting peak color this very weekend at elevations between 5,000 and 6,000 feet.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A Blue Ridge dawn offers a striking backdrop, as mountain ash bursts into color atop Grandfather Mountain's Linville Peak. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

A Blue Ridge dawn offers a striking backdrop, as mountain ash bursts into color atop Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

Fall color peeks out near Stack Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 304.8). According to experts, the area has seen very slight increases in color throughout the last week. From Linville Peak on Grandfather Mountain, one can see some color forming around the Seven Devils area along the south-facing ridge tops. Early last week, one could see a faint change in color, and by Saturday, the dry, rocky ridges on the south slope were predominately red and orange. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Fall color peeks out near Stack Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 304.8). According to experts, the area has seen very slight increases in color throughout the last week. From Linville Peak on Grandfather Mountain, one can see some color forming around the Seven Devils area along the south-facing ridge tops. Early last week, one could see a faint change in color, and by Saturday, the dry, rocky ridges on the south slope were predominately red and orange.
Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

 

 

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