Leaf Looker”s Guide to Fall in Carolina
Each season brings a transformation to the Carolina landscape. Winter brings white slopes. Spring buds with fresh green foliage and fields of wildflowers. Summer is warm with sunsets that paint the sky. Of all the seasons in Carolina, Fall is best of all. As Autumn comes to the Blue Ridge Mountains each morning seems to reveal more and more change until all at once the mountains burst into vibrant color and leaf season is here!
When and where to see the fall color
The show usually begins in the first days of October when the highest elevations are at their peak. This is a great time to visit Grandfather Mountain where you can see how the mountains change color from top to bottom, from a hat of vibrant red and orange to a deep summer green skirt blanketing the foothills. As the season progresses the color spreads down the mountain. If you come late in the season, late October into early November, you will likely still find color in the foothills. This is one of the main reasons why I think leaf lookers should begin their journey in the Key City (Wilkes) at the foot of the mountains. From here you can begin a morning journey up the mountain (by way of HWY 421) and see every level of color. With Wilkes County being so central, the hardest decision you will likely have to make from Hwy 421 is whether to take the Parkway North or South, drive on into Boone, up towards West Jefferson or down into Blowing Rock. Each of these places has its own charm and you are sure to enjoy your experience therehuge water slides for sale.
Fall Travel Tips
- Take your camera! The views will be beautiful and will also make for great backdrops with family and friends.
- Take it easy. Don”t get too caught up in the idea of going to one destination for one great view. The views will be all around you as you go. Take time to enjoy what you see as you see it and be prepared to stop for some unexpected photo opportunities.
- Dress for comfort. Wear your walking shoes and dress in layers. The temperatures will change from morning to noon and as you travel from higher and lower elevations.
- Read ahead. The color varies from year to year as do the best spots to see it. Reading color watch reviews online will help you to know when to be where. You can also follow us on Facebook (Visit Wilkesboro NC) where we will be sharing some of the best color in our area.
Where to start and where to stay
I prefer to start my morning in Wilkes County. Wilkes has long been know as the “Key City” or the “Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains”. There are two very nice and affordable hotels just off of Hwy 421, the Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn Express. Leaf Lookers have been staying at these two establishments for years. This means that the staff knows what your needs will be and will be able to answer any questions you may have. There are places to stay up the mountain but the prices and crowds rise with the elevation.