It took seven weeks, but it was worth the wait for gorgeous fall color in the Asheville area. Mother Nature took her sweet time and rewarded our patience (OK, we weren’t patient the whole time) with some brilliant fall foliage. Early November peak? Sure, why not!
Although we have great color at elevations below 3,000 feet, the peak came and went rather quickly last week at higher elevations, so you’ll want to stick to the immediate Asheville area and points south for color this week. Here are some places to explore:
- Biltmore Estate trails in Asheville – Planning a visit to Biltmore during your stay? Not only will you get to see it decorated for Christmas (yes, Christmas comes early to Biltmore), but you’ll also see peak color on the amazing 8,000-acre estate, so it wouldn’t hurt to bring comfortable shoes and get out on their trails. Don’t forget, we have discounted Biltmore daytime admission tickets here at the Inn on Mill Creek for our guests.
- Tom’s Creek Falls in Marion – Tom’s Creek Falls north of downtown Marion is accessible via an easy waterfall hike, more like a nature walk really. There is a viewing platform for taking great photos and the hike extends above the falls if you want to explore a little further.
- Mountains-to-Sea Trail near the Folk Art Center in Asheville – just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 382 in east Asheville is the Folk Art Center. Not only can you check out the art and craft work of the Southern Highland Craft Guild members, but you can also hike a section of the Mountains-to-Sea trail right from the Folk Art Center parking lot. Going north takes you toward Craggy Gardens and on to Mt. Mitchell; heading south on the trail takes you toward Mt. Pisgah.
- Rainbow Road in Montreat – Rainbow Road is one of many hiking trails maintained by the Montreat Conference Center north of the town of Black Mountain. It’s on the easy end of the spectrum and gets you into the woods for good fall foliage viewing. Other great options in Montreat that are more in the moderate hike category include Big Piney and Little Piney trails. For a more strenuous option, head up the Rainbow Mountain trail. You can get a Montreat trail map here at the Inn on Mill Creek.
For this week’s Seeing the Forest through the Trees profile of trees native to our area, we’re featuring the American Beech tree.
The American Beech is a mid- to late fall foliage stunner along with maple trees, and you can often find in Pisgah National Forest around the Inn on Mill Creek patches with lots of beech trees providing brilliant gold foliage in autumn. We have a few bordering our orchard that we love to see change in the fall. The 60 to 80-foot tall American Beech also keeps our wildlife happy with shade, places to perch, and edible nuts. One way to tell if a tree is an American Beech is whether you see the leaves, which have little teeth on the edges, turning from yellow to an orangish-brown and staying on the tree into wintertime.