Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall Color in Western North Carolina

Predicting exactly when fall color will arrive in the mountains is impossible, however some color change can start as early as mid-September in the higher elevations with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry. We usually experience an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountain sides from high elevation to low.

From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fall colors generally peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is a time of more colorful displays including sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.

Why are fall colors so remarkable in the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina? One reason is the amazing diversity of trees. Another reason is that the cascading of mountain views, which display a wide variety of elevation changes and outstanding colorful views.

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