Fall Color Reports for 2022
This will be our final fall color report for 2022, as most of the leaves in the Park have fallen. The weather is still pleasant, but winter is definitely on the way. If you have trips planned in the coming weeks, roadways leading to the Park from the southeast are still lined with some fall color, and views from the Chimney and Opera Box feature some lingering gold from hickories in the foothills. This time of year, one of the prettiest features on the trails are the fallen leaves that line the paths. The forest floor is alive with color even after the trees are bare. As a reminder, Chimney Rock does not close seasonally and will remain open throught the late fall and winter, weather permitting. We hope you all enjoy some outdoor time this season!
As we head into November, peak color is lingering in the Park. There are still a lot of vibrant views to be found along the trails, especially toward the bottom of the Park. The Skyline trail and other ridgeline elevations have passed their peak, but the Park road, Four Seasons Trail, Hickory Nut Falls Trail, and even the Outcroppings Trail still have a lot of beautiful foliage to be seen. We anticipate another wonderful weekend for leaf peeping in the Park, as warm temperatures this week and next may cause the color to linger for a little longer.
Peak color is here! Although most of the change at higher elevations has come and gone, Hickory Nut Gorge is ablaze with shades of red, yellow, and orange. No matter where you look in the Park there is plenty of color to be found, from the golden hickories on the Hickory Nut Falls trail to the bright red and orange Sourwoods and Maples on the Park road. Even the view from the Chimney down into the Blue Ridge Foothills has come alive seemingly overnight, with color in the valley changing to match that on the ridgetops. This is the best weekend to visit the Park if you want to see full color throughout the area, though we anticipate the color will last at least another week.
Cooler temperatures overnight this week have encouraged the progression of fall color in the Park. Although we are still a week or so away from peak, there is no disappointing view to be found in the Park as nearby ridges reach their peak and golds and reds begin appearing in our own forest. Maples, Sourwoods, and Hickories are beginning to reach their peak, and the Hickory Nut Falls trail is full of golden color. The Skyline Trail is a great way to see our ridgeline color, and even the drive up the Park road is gorgeous this time of year. The fruiting vines are adding their colors to the mix this week so be on the lookout for grape, raspberry, and blackberry vines changing along the forest floor, and look for Virgina Creeper and poison ivy climbing up the trees. Birch trees in the Park are beginning to change as well, as are Fraser Magnolias, Basswoods, and Sassafras.
Though the view from the Chimney is still dappled with green, venture to the base or top of Hickory Nut Falls to see some full color views.
Any road you’re taking to get to the park is sure to be full of color this week. Although some of the higher elevations have peaked, there is still plenty of change ahead for Chimney Rock. If you’re hitting the trails, be on the lookout for the reddening leaves of our Red Maples, vibrant orangish-red of the Sourwoods, golden yellows of the hickories and Tulip Poplars and even the rich brown of Fraser Magnolias. Not all color is up in the trees though, you’ll find plenty to look at along the forest floor as well. The Park has a variety of wildflowers still in bloom including asters and goldenrods and some of our low lying deciduous plants, such as the Hay-scented fern are showing their autumn hues.
We are still a few weeks out from our peak color in the Park, and the view from the Opera Box will continue to gain color as trees in the foothills change over the next few weeks.
The slow transformation of trees in the Park has started. Along the ridgeline we can already see color starting to appear, even at our low elevation. The Dogwoods are showing off their dark redish/purple leaves, the Walnuts are dappled with yellow, and the Sourwoods are adding their pop of orangish-red to the mix as well. From the front gate and the meadows you can see the upper ridge of the mountain beginning to turn. Even the view from the Opera Box this week shows some of the trees in the foothills starting to change color.
If you’re coming in from higher elevations like Black Mountain or Asheville, your drive into the Gorge is sure to be gorgeous as they are about a week ahead of us in terms of color. We are expecting more leaves to change each day as we have some very cool nights ahead of us this week.
Our fall color reports for 2022 have begun! Though cool weather has already made its way to the gorge, things are still looking pretty green in the Park. Leaves have started changing at higher elevations in the mountains, but at around 2,000 feet we expect to have to wait a few more weeks. We are keeping an eye on local predictions and reports as we move into the season.
This map is helpful for those planning fall color trips because it shows where and when colors will peak. Visit NC also makes weekly reports to help visitors and locals know where the best color can be found. Romantic Asheville put together this prediction for the season, which has Chimney Rock and Lake Lure peaking around the first week of November.
Here are some of the views in the Park this week.
Check for fall color updates every Thursday!