2019 Fall Color Report for the North Carolina Mountains, Week 8

It’s our final week of fall color reports for 2020 and there are still plenty of oranges and reds in the landscape here around Asheville as we head into the late fall season, thanks to Mother Nature delaying the start of the color show this year. And some areas just south of us are at peak now, so even going further into November, leaves will be changing depending on where you go.

Although we’re moving on past peak color at elevations between 2,000 and 3,000 feet, it’s safe to say that visitors to our area have plenty of fall color hunting opportunities. Here are a few:

  • Chimney Rock State Park – Always on our list for November fall color reports, Chimney Rock State Park’s location in Hickory Nut Gorge south of the Inn on Mill Creek and its slightly lower elevation allow for a peak late in the season. Bonus for springtime visitors, this also means the Hickory Nut Gorge area has flowers blooming a few weeks ahead of us in the Spring.
     
  • Lake Lure Flowering Bridge – Across the road from Chimney Rock State Park is a long road bridge over the Rocky Broad River that was turned into a public garden several years ago. The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is, in a word, fabulous. And it is currently still blooming with seasonal flowers under a backdrop of fall color.
     
  • Catawba Falls in Old Fort – This waterfall hike is great in any season, but fall is especially pretty for a walk in the woods to a beautiful waterfall. If that sounds like a perfect hike, look no further than Catawba Falls in Old Fort, about 20 minutes from the Inn on Mill Creek.
     
  • Point Lookout Trail greenway near the Inn – At one end of our road is the start of Point Lookout Trail, a 3.5-mile greenway walking/bicycling trail (paved) with views of Royal Gorge and peaks in the 2,000-3,000 foot range. Peak color in the gorge typically happens around Halloween, but has been pushed into November this year due to the late start of leaf change.

And for our final tree feature in this year’s fall color report’s Seeing the Forest through the Trees, we bring you the might oak tree, one of our area’s most beautiful late fall changers.

person's hand holding a large leaf in a forest

The oak tree is actually a member of the beech family. They can grow 50-75 feet and can also live over a hundred years, which is good because they don’t start producing acorn nuts until they reach around 20 years old.

Our mountains in North Carolina are filled with different oak species, including chestnut oak, white oak, black oak, scarlet oak (our favorite), and red oak. All have great color in the fall and at our elevation, most don’t even start changing color until late October. We can always rely on our oak trees to contribute to western North Carolina having one of the longest periods of fall color in the world.

 

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