The year 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the North Carolina State Park System and NC State Parks are celebrating in a big way with events throughout the year. There are nine state parks in the mountains of western North Carolina, and we’re fortunate to have four nearby, which we’ll profile for the next four months. This month, we take a look at Mount Mitchell State Park.
If you’re looking for a super-scenic day trip hike while staying with us here at Inn on Mill Creek near Asheville, NC, consider a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Graveyard Fields. Is it a graveyard? Nope. Is it a field? You could say that… but it’s so much more. Let’s explore.
Craggy Gardens is a section of the North Carolina mountains accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway, north of Asheville. It has excellent hiking trails, a picnic area, cool mountaintop balds with wild blueberry bushes and dramatic mountain vistas. Read on to see what we saw on our hike of the Craggy Gardens Trail in early May! Hint: Wildflowers galore and other cool stuff that makes us love love love nature.
UPDATE – APRIL 16: The Craggy Gardens area is now open!
We aren’t the only ones who have a project list that we tackle in the wintertime: the National Park Service has been working on projects relating to improving the tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway around Asheville, including Tanbark Tunnel at Milepost 374.4 near Craggy Gardens.
As we move further into October, some areas of western North Carolina are at or near peak in terms of fall foliage. It’s rather impressive at elevations higher than 4,000 feet. And between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, large patches of Mother Nature’s perfect fall color palette can be found.
You may have heard about the rain we had last week…actually, it was ten full days! We were fortunate not to experience any flooding at the Inn, and while the Blue Ridge Parkway closed for a couple of days for workers to clear the roadway of any fallen trees, it is back open and offering great views of fall foliage at elevations between 3,500 and 4,500 feet.
Hey! It’s time for this year’s fall color reports! Why the exclamation points, you ask? Well, usually, our first week report doesn’t have much to share in the way of color. Early fall in the mountains of North Carolina brings little bits of fall foliage here and there, while goldenrod and aster and cardinal flower generally make up for the mostly green landscape during the first week of fall. This year, however, is another story.
Our “Fall near Asheville” Pinterest board is now live and in full color! Fall color, that is.
Ahhhh, September. The air turns crisper and temperatures start cooling down, but remain perfectly pleasant. It’s a great month to get outside in the mountains of North Carolina! And it’s excellent for bird watching because the changing seasons mean different and interesting birds are migrating through, on their way to their winter destinations.
Don’t let the name scare you: Rattlesnake Lodge is a neat destination hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway just six miles north of Asheville, North Carolina. The hike has many points of interest and takes you through a pretty area of the mountains.