Here is the Fall Foliage Guide from Blueridgemountainlife.com.
Be sure to read the full article as well as view their beautiful photo gallery at their website: https://blueridgemountainlife.com/fall-foliage/
Fall Foliage 2018 Forecast and Guide
Tens of thousands of people visit the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and North Georgia each year to see the beautiful fall foliage. The Blue Ridge Mountains offer one of the most colorful and longest running fall leaf seasons in the world.
One of the many reasons for this is due to the varied elevations, which show prime fall colors for more than a month. Fall colors begin at the highest elevations in early October, and work their way down to the lower elevations in early November.
Fall Foliage 2018 Forecast and Guide
- Tell you when the peak times are for various elevations and locations
- Provide weekly updates for you on the current status of the leaf color
- Links to lots of photos from prior years, with links to great places to see the fall colors
- Share tips for fall foliage watching that will help you have the best experience and get the best beautiful photos. One of the most import? Book your reservations early. Hotels, motels, and cabins are filling up fast and many are already fully booked.
Maybe you’re wondering what makes us an authority? Well, we live here, and specifically in Maggie Valley NC. As Fall 2018 approaches, we’ll be out and about taking photos and reporting on current conditions. We also stay in touch with regional experts to get the latest information on current conditions and Fall predictions.
You’ll find our dates and photos to be some of the most accurate available, and we always provide frequent updates WITH photos.
>>> Coming Soon! <<<
Beginning in August, we’ll start providing frequent updates, including photos, of the current 2018 Fall Colors for the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Please be sure and follow our Facebook page and join our Facebook Group. We’ll be posting tons of current photos and updates as we get closer.
We would also recommend joining our Blue Ridge Parkway Photography group for current parkway colors and photos as well.
Blue Ridge Mountains Fall Foliage 2018 Forecast
The answer? It depends…
The problem is that leaf color varies year to year, elevation to elevation and even by the direction the mountain side is facing. To complicate matters even more, the intensity of the color is determined by a number of very complex factors including:
- The type of plant
- Amount of rainfall
Leaves begin changing color at higher elevations, and the color change works it’s way down in elevation.
The good news is that all of these variations don’t really throw off the normal schedule a great deal. Here is the Fall Color forecast for the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains, by week, starting in October:
October 1 – 10: Peak time for areas above 5,000 feet. This would include: Clingmans Dome, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Waterrock Knob and Graveyard fields (the first location on the Parkway to turn) and higher elevations of The Blue Ridge Parkway (between Asheville and Cherokee) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
October 10 – 20: Peak time for elevations from 4,000 – 5,000 feet. This would include almost all Blue Ridge Parkway locations and the majority of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well. Included in this elevation are the Boone and Blowing Rock areas.
October 24 – 31: Peak time for elevations below 2,000 feet. This would include: The cities of Asheville, Brevard, Waynesville, Cherokee, and many others. Places of interest include Dupont State Forest and Biltmore Estate.
October 26 – November 8: Peak time for remaining elevations, including Gatlinburg, TN, Chimney Rock NC, Lake Lure and remaining lower elevation mountains. This includes Chimney Rock as well, a great place to see Fall color.
>> Visit all of our Photo Galleries, which contains lots of Fall color photos from many other Blue Ridge Mountain Photographers.
The following maps will help you determine the best Fall Foliage times for various areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains.s
Western North Carolina Fall Foliage Map 2018
The following Fall Color Map is for Western North Carolina, and provided by the Biology Department at Appalachian State University:
The following Virginia Fall Foliage Map is from Virginia Department of Forestry:
- October 10 – 20 (Left Side of Map)
- October 15 – 25 (Center of Map)
- October 20-31 (Right Side of Map)
Tips for Fall Foliage Viewing and Photography:
- Be patient. There are lots of people here during the fall, and having a little patience will go a long way to making your visit far more enjoyable.
- Bring your digital camera at all times. You never know when the perfect photo opportunity will present itself, be prepared.
- Be prepared for weather changes. Weather in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains changes quickly, so don’t be upset if you can’t get any photos due to the fog or rain. Just hang out for a bit and be patient. Chances are it will blow by and the sun may even come out. We’ve found that some of our best photos are just after a storm. Oh, and if you’re coming in late October/Early November, you might just get some snow too! Be sure and make some snow cream.
- Stay on the roads. We see lots of people stuck trying to venture down some narrow mountain road, or trying to drive through grass they think is dry in order to get that “unique” photo. Unless you have 4-wheel drive, stay on paved or well maintained roads.
- Polarized sun glasses and a polarizing filter for your camera enhance fall colors an reduce glare.
- Travel on the Parkway. If you are traveling the parkway, read over our Parkway Travel Tips.
- Wear layers of clothing or bring a few extra jackets or sweaters. Temperatures here in the Blue Ridge can vary greatly base on weather conditions and altitude.
- Mornings and evenings are the best times for photos. Mid day sunlight is often too harsh. The benefit of getting out early or very late is that you’ll avoid most of the crowd too and get great photos too!
- Avoid thick clouds and fog in your photos. If the sky is very cloudy and/or foggy, try to keep the fog and clouds out of your photos. The white of the clouds and fog is overwhelming, and will just make your photo look smaller. As an example, see the waterfall photo below. Graveyard fields was completely clouded over that day, so when I framed the picture, I kept the sky out as much as possible.
- Make sure you have plenty of gas. Some areas, especially on the parkway and in the national parks, are a long way from the nearest gas station.
- Go Hiking! Check out our Blue Ridge family favorite hiking trails, and our favorite trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are tons of other trails too.
- Visit some Waterfalls – Waterfalls and fall colors make a great combination. Here’s our list of our favorite NC Waterfalls.
- Go Ziplining – Navitat in Asheville NC is just awesome.
- See the Elk – Be sure and visit Cataloochee Valley, which is not only beautiful in the Fall, but full of Elk as well.
- Visit Maggie Valley NC – Next to both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park – It’s the perfect mountain small town in Western NC.
- Visit Asheville NC, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg TN – These towns all have tons to do and are right in the middle of all the fall color.
- 25 Best Places to see Fall Colors! – See our guide to the very best places to see gorgeous Fall Colors.