After two weeks of rapid color changing, the trees are taking what seems to be a tiny breather this week. While many trees are still green, leaves in shades of red and golden hues dot the landscape, giving us a possible precursor to a beautiful peak in fall color at our elevation soon. We’ve had really cool evenings this past week, which will help bring about more change.

Sumacs and maples are currently providing the best in oranges and reds, but yellow is really the dominant color right now in our part of Pisgah National Forest. Birch, maple and hickory trees have come alive, providing a golden drive down our road.

This week, we hiked up the Kitsuma trail, which leads along Youngs Ridge about 1.5 miles from the Inn. Heading east on Old Hwy 70 out of Black Mountain past the Ridgecrest Conference Center, simply stay on that road rather than turning left onto Yates to get to the Inn. The road will dead-end at a parking lot and trail head.

The sign says it’s a four-mile trek, and we hiked up the first mile, which is a series of switchbacks up Kitsuma peak, used frequently by mountain bikers. The trail had several spots where the color really showed through in the trees, and also on the ground with dappled sunlight leading the way.

The innpugs came with us and were real troopers, making the way to the top with energy to spare. Lots of leaves to run through on the ground made for joyous pugs:

We made it to the top of the ridgeline and snapped some pretty photos before making our way back down to the parking lot. We’ll share some photos below and more on Saturday.

Bugsy Pug is first to the top

If you plan to be in the area this weekend or for the last part of October, some great places to view fall foliage are:

  • Highway 80 heading north through our beautiful McDowell County toward the Blue Ridge Parkway — just east of the Inn on Mill Creek via Hwy 70 in Old Fort. This is the detour for getting onto the northbound section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and what a scenic detour it is! Once you get past Lake Tahoma on Hwy 80, turn right on the dirt road after the bridge. Then turn left at the first intersection and go 1.5 miles to the Little Buck Creek trailhead for a hike that offers great views of Lake Tahoma and the Black Mountain range.
  • The Orchard at Altapass on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The orchard is open until October 31, so now would be the time to go and take advantage of the beautiful drive along the Parkway.
  • Biltmore Estate — not only does it have great views of the surrounding mountains full of color, but also a spectacular display of mums in the Walled Garden (and don’t forget, tickets purchased at the Inn on Mill Creek are good for two consecutive days).

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