Where to Watch the Leaves Change Color in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Fall leaves in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are a picturesque destination to observe fall foliage. Peak leaf season in the North Carolina mountains begins in early October and lasts into early November.

What are you waiting for? Go find some leaves!

5 Places to Watch the Leaves Change Color Near Boone, NC

From annual fall events to watching the leaves change, the fall in the High Country of North Carolina is a must-see. If you’re looking for places to explore and watch the leaves change color in the Blue Ridge Mountains, here are 5 spots to check out along the parkway.

#1: Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is a sight to behold when the leaves are changing. Start by taking 105 S to catch a view of the mountain from the road.

From there, your first option is to park at the Profile Trail parking lot access just before Tynecastle. The Profile Trail is a strenuous
but rewarding 3.6 mile (7.2 miles round trip) hike up to Calloway Peak. Along the way, you’ll pass the Foscoe View and Profile View lookouts that provide awesome views of the area. You’ll summit Calloway Peak and have a breathtaking view with lots of leaves
to see! From there, you can hike various ways to other peaks or you can turn around and head back.


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Another option for Grandfather Mountain is to take 221 from 105 and enter Grandfather Mountain park. There are all sorts of cool things to do in the park before you make it to the Swinging Bridge and get those fall foliage views!

#2: Appalachian Trail:

Some of the best fall foliage views on the Appalachian Trail are a little bit of a drive from Boone, but they are well worth it. Head towards Tennessee and visit Roan Mountain if you want some of the best sunrise and sunset views. Parking at Carver’s Gap and heading north will take you through some easily accessible hiking to the balds, where you can get 360-degree fall foliage views!


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Another option is to head north of Boone, to Virginia, and explore the Grayson Highlands. See the wild ponies, the killer views, and even hike up to the tallest peak in Virginia, Mt. Rogers!

If you’re looking for more day-trip ideas from Boone, check out our recommendations for trips within 2 hours drive!

#3: Pisgah National Forest:

Head to the Pisgah Forest if you want to do some hiking amongst the fall foliage. There are countless options here, but taking the Old Highway 105 along the rim of the Gorge and hitting any of the trails along the way is a great option. You can also drop down into the Wilsons Creek area where forest service roads allow for secluded and remote access.

Pisgah National Forest is one of the best camping destinations in the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can always stay in a designated campsite to enjoy fall leaves from your tent.

#4: Linville Falls:

If you’re wanting to combine your fall foliage adventure with some rowdy river views, the Linville Falls hike, at 1.6 miles round trip, is the way to go. Arguably the most famous waterfall in the Blue Ridge, Linville Falls is even more impressive during the fall, when the bright orange and yellow leaves are juxtaposed with the rock face and white water.

#5: Howard’s Knob:

If you want a quick drive from Boone, Howard’s Knob provides the definitive view of downtown Boone and would be an ideal place to have a fall picnic! Hang out in the park, with plenty of space to play, and then make your way to the overlook where you can see the fall foliage draped across the greater Boone area. Only a few minutes from downtown Boone.


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The Best Time to See Fall Leaves in Appalachian NC

One of the best ways to get a full view of fall foliage is to drive around. You’re sure to find the colors you’re looking for. Make sure you read ASU’s fall color report for real-time details on the best time to see fall leaves in Appalachian North Carolina.

About the Author

"I am a proud Boonie and feel grateful to call the High Country home. Hailing from Rome, Georgia, I am the youngest of three brothers, the proud son of a German and a native Atlantan. It only took one college visit for me to fall in love with Boone in 2011. After four years of school and various jobs in the community, I was offered an opportunity to hit the road and work all over the East Coast. I worked in construction management/sales and property inspections for insurance companies. The year of 2018 was a monumental year for me as it saw me complete my degree in Business Management and buy my home in downtown Boone, where I run an Airbnb (the Bent Street Bungalow). I live with my two dogs, Redman and Junior, and spend more time than I should in my garden or out in the woods with my pups. I bring a passion for people, connections and diplomacy to the table and love applying that to being a Realtor. My experience in construction and sales provide a unique set of tools for the world of real estate. I am so excited to help you facilitate your Boone experience and truly believe there’s no place quite like the 828. I love Boone for the normal reasons—cool air, storied mountains, vibrant rivers and so on, but I also love Boone because it is just so easy to have a good day here. The community is unlike any other I have experienced and I look forward to growing with it for a long time to come. Working in real estate is my full-time endeavor so I am fully invested in helping you with my knowledge of the area, my enthusiastic work ethic and my creativity in marketing to ensure that the best possible result is achieved.”