WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Fall color peaks in next few weeks

Posted October 11, 2013

It’s getting good up in the hills!

Reports are that leaves haven’t peaked except in the highest elevations at and above 5,000 feet.

A professor at Appalachian State University reports that around Boone and Blowing Rock about 40 percent of the trees are showing color. Elevations there are around 3,500 feet. A little higher up around Grandfather, Beech and Sugar mountains there is color in about 75 percent of the trees.

That makes it a good weekend for leaf peeping but next weekend and the weekend after should also be good. Sugar maple See, share fall fun photos

Cold temperatures help the process along a bit, and finally this week there were a few overnight lows in the northern mountains in the mid 30s. Temperatures near freezing cause a chemical reaction in the leaves that brightens the color. Right now some of the prettiest trees are sourwood, sassafrass and maple.

A little farther south, near Asheville, there are reports of more subdued color. Estimates are that the leaves are two to three weeks away from peak in southwest NC.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is normally a great place to go to see fall color. Just remember that facilities are closed along the parkway due to the government shutdown. The road is open. As of now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed, but the federal government announced that individual states could re-open their national parks with their own money if they choose. No word yet on whether North Carolina and Tennessee will do this.

Normally I would highly recommend going to Cataloochee Valley in early October to see the elk. It’s the rutting season, and it’s quite a show to see the male elk battle each other in the meadow in person.

Check back next week for more color updates!


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • ThomasL Oct 13, 2013

    Just returned from brevard,nc and the leaves are about 25%changing,mostly poplar trees and sumac,poison ivy.Colors are muted browns and yellows with a lot falling to the ground.Wait til the end of the month for southern mountain leaf peeping.

  • jonstewartrules Oct 11, 2013

    There are plenty of places along the Parkway to visit. None of the private areas are closed, and potentially a number of Federal areas are allowing access to private inns and restaurants on Federal property as well. Come on up and visit us. The Oak trees are getting bright red, Dogwoods are almost past prime, Poplar, Maple and Sycamore are all dull to golden yellows. We're at about 2600 ft and things are just starting to turn color now. Don't forget about Asheville either. Tons of microbreweries and lots to do from there all the way up to Ashe county and West Jefferson.

  • Obamacare is here Oct 11, 2013

    Raking leaves is for fools. Just wait until the spring and mow them into natural mulch.

  • wu Oct 11, 2013

    Why ever rack the leaves..........they make a wonderful natural fertilizer......................Wu

  • pappybigtuna1 Oct 11, 2013

    Go ahead and ooh! and aah! about the colors, I have to rake all those sticking leaves up