The famous profile of Grandfather Mountain.

The High Country summers that we know and love must all come to an end, but just as many people travel up the mountains for summer, so do the mountains get an influx of visitors for the fall month. Many traverse up the mountains for a glimpse of the crisp reds and vibrant yellows that surge free for a few weeks during the changing of the leaves. Fall is a time to enjoy the splendor and innate beauty of nature on the grandest scale.

There are few places that Mother Nature is as resplendent as she is in the mountains of North Carolina. Before giving way to the bare branches of winter, the mountain trees light up with color turning entire mountainsides into tapestries on the grandest scale.

The time to best witness this kaleidoscope of color varies year to year depending on factors such as the amount of moisture in the air and the frequency of storms.

Too much rain in a given year can dampen the leaves or simply knock them off, turning crisp reds into soggy shades of purple. For seasonal updates visit and the region’s tourism information center, High Country Host at

The wind, which can be relentless at times in the mountains also plays a key factor as to how long the fall leaves stay on their branches. A single powerful storm has the potential to strip large portions of leaves from their foundations.

Leaf Looking LocationsHere is a listing of the best locations in The High Country where the colors are sure to awe and entertain.

Elk Knob State Park, just north of Boone. A two-mile hike to the top provides some of the best fall color in the area.

Roan Mountain, at Carver’s Gap, west of Avery County on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Located on the Appalachian Trail, it has excellent views of colors from the peak.

Doughton Park, located in Traphill along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This location is not as popular as the others, which means it is sure to be less crowded. The park has a nice hiking trail ideal for spending time in the natural beauty of fall.

Chesota Overlook, south of Linville Falls. It is also located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and could be crowded, but it is certainly worth stopping by.

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