Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors Tracker

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BlueRidgeParkwayFallColorTracker20141023

NOTE: The graphic above is an averaged representation. See below for specific milepost reports.

2014 Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color Report

This Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors Tracker is a great way to keep up with Autumn leaf changes. The Parkway stretches over 469 miles and two states with thousands of feet in elevation difference, so there will be a wide range of color reports from different sections of the Parkway. Weather such as high wind, rain, snow, and frost can affect specific locations along the Parkway and not others in very close proximity.

Quick Summary Update – 10/23/2014

Past Peak (but offering long-range views of valleys below)

  • Southern region of the Blue Ridge Parkway below Mt Pisgah.
  • Mt Mitchell and Graggy Gardens area from around Little Switzerland to just north of Asheville.
  • Boone / Blowing Rock area including Price Lake and Moses Cone Manor.
  • Most elevations above 4500′.

At Peak ( 75% & up ) <= This weekend’s best outlook

  • Most of the Parkway in Virginia (an hour or two drive will offer significant fall color)
  • Boone / Blowing Rock area travelling north into Virginia.
  • Linn Cove Viaduct / Grandfather Mountain south to Crabtree Falls
  • North of Asheville to Craggy Gardens / South of Asheville to Mt Pisgah
  • Most elevations in the range from 2500′ to 3750′.

Near Peak, but very colorful ( 60% to 75% )

  • Roanoke & James River Areas
  • Most elevations in the range from 1750′ to 2500′.

Patchy, but not green (  10% – 50% )

  • Long range views off the eastern and western escarpment.

See below for more details.  As we get additional reports we will continue to update this page so check back often… really, often.

October 23rd Report Details

A Better Approach to Fall Color on the Blue Ridge Parkway

fall-color-report-photo-20141023

It’s the end of October and the mountain foliage is making the striking transitions to the color that brings so much attention here in the fall. Typically, the Blue Ridge Parkway experiences the much-anticipated change in fall foliage around the middle of October. Many factors, however, contribute to variations in when and where colors will peak. The Parkway stretches almost 500 miles north to south, meanders from the east- to west-facing slopes, and, most importantly, varies in elevation from just under 650 feet at James River in Virginia to over 6,000 feet south of Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina.

Many visitors have been frustrated trying to go to one spot on one day in October hoping to find the leaves in full color. A far better plan is to drive some distance on the Parkway, changing elevations and north-south orientation. Anyone who does this from now until late October will catch at least some of the pretty color that we’re famous for.

Virginia Update

In the northern most part of the Parkway in Virginia, the trees from 2,000 to 3,000 feet are showing good color and are very close to or at peak. All shades of color are represented with the hickories, tulip poplars, birch and sassafras showing yellow and gold; red maple, sourwood, and virginia creeper showing scarlet red; and the pines and a few oaks mixing in green.

North Carolina Update

In North Carolina, a violent mid-month wind and rain storm dropped and damaged many leaves, especially at the higher and more exposed elevations, and lessened foliage vividness. However, the trees showed resilience and in some places still have a palette of color on display.

In the Boone / Blowing Rock area and near the Cone Manor House, the colors have mostly retreated but there are some red, yellow, bronze, orange and yellow-brown colors mixed in with the trees that have lost their leaves. At the Price Picnic area and the surrounding scenic hillsides, olive green, brown, some orange-brown, orange-red, yellow, and yellow-orange tones are apparent. Muted colors, but pleasant. Red sumac leaves are visible near the picnic area entrance. Smartweeds and just a bit of goldenrod are still blooming in the area. The foliage at Price Lake is diminished with many bare trees along the far shore. However, some reds and yellows from the maples are still visible at the parking area along with some sourwood red along the roadway.

The Linn Cove Viaduct area is presenting a subdued but pleasant palette of fall colors that can be best viewed from North to South. On Grandfather Mountain, fall colors are out in force with near peak to approaching peak in places. They have increased in intensity, variety, and breadth of coverage. The reds, yellows, oranges, and browns with mixed hues such as burnt orange, reddish-orange, and reddish-pink are interspersed with pockets of green foliage.

Further south, there is still a fair amount of green at the lowest elevations but most of the trees at the higher elevations have lost their leaves. Good color can be seen driving from Asheville north to Craggy Gardens and south to the Mt Pisgah areas. The colors are at peak in the 3,000 ft elevation range with lots of yellows and golds and the reds of the oaks, sourwoods, and dogwoods providing a nice visual contrast.

Milepost 305 – Grandfather Mountain

Visitors to the area should expect to see plenty of color along U.S. 221 and N.C. 181 headed up the mountain this weekend, when pleasant
temperatures and sunshine are on tap.

October 23rd Reporting Stations

Other area reports

Other Fall Color Reports We Recommend

  • Nationwide Fall Foliage Prediction Map
    A national map that can be used to predict the timing of fall colors throughout the United States.  Very useful tool for those wanting to plan trips to see fall leaf color.
  • Fall Color Forecaster Map at Appalachian State University
    Slide the leaf along the dates at the bottom. As you move through the dates, the map will highlight those parts of the state coming into peak color, followed by a browning, which indicates they are past their peak.
  • Fall Color Guy at Appalachian State University
    A page from ASU biology professor Howard Neufeld who posts a weekly report on western North Carolina.
  • Explore Asheville Visitor Center
    The “Official Source” for the 2014 fall color forecast in Asheville and western North Carolina.
  • Fall Color in the Smokies
    This is the official fall color site for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It contains information about when and where to see fall colors in the Park.
  • Fall Color on Blue Ridge Parkway
    A really great website for fall foliage color reports can be found at the Blue Ridge Parkway Guide by Virtual Blue Ridge. They update frequently, and have archived reports from the past and they cover the entire 470 miles of the Parkway.
  • The Foliage Network
    This is a New England based fall foliage site that provides information on the progression of fall foliage color throughout the eastern, southern and 
    midwestern United States.
  • Webcams of North Carolina
    One way to see fall colors without actually driving somewhere is to view the many webcams that are situated throughout the state. This webpage has links to many webcams in western North Carolina, and in other states. Note that some cameras are of higher quality and provide a better image than others. Also, the time of day you view the webcams can affect your perception of the intensity of the fall colors. Nonetheless, this is a useful site.
  • Weekly Fall Color Reports for NC
    Presented by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.

Leave A Comment With Your Report

If you have visited the Parkway in the last few days, please leave a comment letting us know the location (with Mileposts if possible) and one of the five color categories.

  1. Unchanged
  2. Patchy (10 – 50%)
  3. Near Peak (50 – 75%)
  4. Peak (75 – 100%)
  5. Past Peak

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