It’s safe to say that most of us are excited for fall and the gorgeous colors the season brings. At no other time of the year do dazzling color paint the North Carolina landscape quite like autumn does. If you’re already excited for fall, then get ready–according to NOAA Climate Scientist Jake Crouch, North Carolina’s 2017 autumn colors are expected to be the most beautiful and brilliant than they’ve been in decades.

If you’re wanting to catch the leaves changing at their best, look no further. Here are the best places and dates nearby to see those peak fall colors.

Late September to Early October

 

 

 

The colors first turn in areas like the high mountains in Asheville with elevations greater than 4,000 feet. Must See Places:

  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Banner Elk
  • Beech Mountain
  • Sugar Mountain

Places to stop:

The Moses Cone Memorial Park, located at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a great stop to make in this area because there is so much to do here. This park offers hiking trails, a gorgeous lake, and–my favorite–horseback riding. Its Craft Center is full of one-of-a-kind art handcrafted by hundreds of local artists.

 

 

Mid to Late October

Mountainous areas surrounding Asheville with 3,000-4,000 foot elevation show plenty of color during this time. Findbeautiful hiking trails and views of the changing leaves here:

  • Pisgah
  • Mt. Mitchell
  • Linville
  • Table Rock
  • Blowing Rock 

 

Places to stop:

To me, the Table Rock hiking trail is the most rewarding hike I’ve been on. While it can be pretty strenuous, the view at the top is so worth it. If you want a more laid-back trip to see the leaves, check out Downtown Blowing Rock.

 

 

Late October to Early November

Areas of lower elevation (about 1,000 feet) will conclude the autumn colors in late October and possibly early November. Just know that seeing the leaves in November are often a hit or miss. Half the time they are already gone; half the time they are still full of color. Try to visit these areas more towards late October if you can.

  • Hendersonville
  • Lake Lure
  • Chimney Rock

 

Places to stop:

Chimney Rock State Park is one of the best areas in North Carolina to see the fall colors. It has easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes that the whole family can enjoy full of some of the most scenic and breathtaking views in NC.