Fall is on the horizon, and with it comes the spectacular foliage that is famous throughout the Eastern seaboard—from the forests of New England to the mountains of North Carolina. Asheville in particular is one of the most beautiful spots in the South to catch some of the season’s prettiest colors because of its abundance of scenic spots throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains that make it ideal for some of the fall’s loveliest leaf views.
To make the most of your fall visit, check out Asheville in October when its leaves are generally in their peak season in the latter part of the month. Below are some tips for checking out some of Asheville’s best and brightest foliage during a fall weekend getaway.
Fall In Love With Fall
Because Asheville is known for its distinctive fall foliage, the fall months are also some of the busiest times for tourists to visit. Be sure to book accommodations well in advance when planning a trip, as rooms tend to fill up fast. However, most visitors find the expense and planning worth it due to this charming city’s gorgeous October weather that is temperate as well as colorful.
Where To See The Brightest Hues
There is no shortage of ways to experience Asheville in the Autumn months. However, if peeping peak fall foliage is your goal, these are some of the best spots to take your love of nature, your camera, and your sense of adventure.
The Best Stops: The Blue Ridge Parkway
Known as one of the country’s most scenic drives, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile winding road that takes visitors through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. However, some of the most scenic outlooks on this famed route are in and around Asheville, where visitors can catch some of the most stunning views of the surrounding mountains—and, during fall, the best fall foliage.
Most of the best stops to glimpse fall’s peak colors are anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour away from Asheville, making this scenic trek one of the best ways to experience Autumn over a weekend visit.
- Craggy Gardens offers some of the area’s most spectacular views due to its elevation of 5,640 feet. Access the Craggy Garden Trail and climb to the top where there are some of the area’s most amazing views. There’s also access to other hiking trails where visitors can access popular spots like Craggy Pinnacle.
Mile Marker: 364.4
Distance From Asheville: 24 miles
- Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River and visitors can easily drive to the parking area almost at the top. From there it’s an easy 1/2 mile hike to an observation deck with stellar mountain views
Mile Marker: 355.4
Distance From Asheville: 35 miles
- Mt. Pisgah is another great spot to scope some of the area’s best views, and it is so majestic (5,721 feet!) that it can be seen from downtown Asheville on cloudless days. Access the Mt. Pisgah trails to get picturesque views of the many forested ridges which showcase the fall foliage beautifully
Mile Marker: 407.6
Distance From Asheville: 26 miles
- Graveyard Fields is a family-friendly spot that offers several hiking options--each with beautiful views of the surrounding area. The main trail is a loop that takes visitors through a variety of landscapes including high elevation meadows and lush, beautiful forests. There are even waterfalls that are easily accessible via a paved pathway and wooden steps
Mile Marker: 417
Distance From Asheville: 37 miles
Other Ways To Scope Fall Foliage
- Pack a picnic while scoping the scenery at Richland Balsam, the Blue Ridge Parkway’s highest point (6,047 feet). There are two overlooks where visitors can enjoy the views, and afterward take a hike through the surrounding forest.
- Check out the Farm Heritage Trail, a scenic route through Asheville’s rural farm communities. Outdoor enthusiasts will want to leave the car behind and bike this lovely trail with many hikes and activities along the way.
- Get a bird’s eye view of the fab foliage by taking the Urban Canopy Zipline Tour at the Adventure Center of Asheville, which has two 1,200 foot lines and the country’s first zipline adventure designed specifically for kids.
- Visit the North Carolina Arboretum, and check out their Forest meadow for some great fall colors. There are also many guided walks and garden tours available where visitors can enjoy the surrounding scenery.
- Rent a paddleboard and cruise down the French Broad River to relax and enjoy the season’s most vibrant hues.
Fall Is Festival Season, Too
Visitors don’t have to head to the woods to enjoy the best Asheville foliage. Stop in at one of the area’s many Autumn festivals to soak up the fall vibes while enjoying the views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
- The French Broad River Festival in Hot Springs has some great music, food, and outdoor events. October 1-3, 2021
- Spend an afternoon at the Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival in Cashiers, a short 1 1/2 hour drive from Asheville. Enjoy local artists, live music, and delicious food all while soaking up the amazing peak season views. October 8-10, 2021
- Head to Black Mountain, a short 20-minute drive from Asheville, to check out the LEAF Festival—a multicultural, eclectic celebration of art, music, and dance. October 14-17, 2021
- The Apple Harvest Festival is the epitome of small-town fall fun. Located in Waynesville, it’s just a 40-minute drive from Asheville—and there are many scenic spots along the way. October 16, 2021
- Head to Asheville’s Uncommon Market, a popular pop-up market for everything from antiques to vintage decor. Located in the River Arts District, there are plenty of views of the colorful surrounding area. October 24, 2021
Asheville in Autumn is a winning combination of spectacular scenery and vibrant fall hues on display. With plenty to do in this charming area, visitors can make the most of a fall weekend in this lovely city nestled in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.