North Carolina, without a doubt, is one of the most beautiful states in America for fall colors. Our mountains, valleys, and piedmont combine with perfect temperatures in the fall, drawing in thousands from around the country to soak in the splendor.
Peak leaf season in our state can hit almost anytime, as early as September and as late as mid-November, currently we’re seeing peak season hitting all along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and colors just starting to show around the Charlotte region.
In no particular order, here are the top 10 places to see North Carolina colors in all their fall glory:
#1 Uwharrie National Forest
About an hour drive from Charlotte, this place is best known for its ghost stories, gold mines, and beautiful lakes. Hike one of the many scenic trails to take in the colorful leaves, crisp air and see where the first documented gold rush took place.
#2 Crowder’s Mountain
The tallest peak within a 30 minute drive from Charlotte, this place is a haven for rock climbers, mountain bikers, and hikers alike. Climb to the top to see for miles in every direction. You can even see the Queen City’s skyline from the top. Since the elevation around the mountain is so low, peak fall colors may not be seen for another week or two.
#3 Grandfather Mountain
Soak in the stunning fall colors from Grandfather Mountain’s mile-high swinging bridge. Cross over to the other side and climb to the top of the mountain. The remarkable views are totally worth the apprehensive feelings you may get before crossing.
#4 Table Rock
One of the most awe-inspiring ridges in the Pisgah National Forest, it’s peak soars over 3,950 feet above sea level and overlooking the Linville Gorge – it’s truly a site to see any time of year. It’s a major hike to the summit, but the payoff is huge when you witness the aerial view.
#5 Chimney Rock
Take in the sites in this one-of-a-kind old fashioned mountain town and then hike to the top of the rock to take in an array of colors surrounding the famous landmark right next to Lure Lake. Since this has one of the lowest elevations on our list, the colors will turn latest in the season – expect peak colors within the next 1-2 weeks.
#6 Blowing Rock
Blowing Rock has one of the most “fallish” town landscapes on our list – pumkins, fall colors, and mountain decor everywhere. Blowing Rock is certainly one of the best places to soak up fall in the Carolinas.
#7 Little Switzerland
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway lies this incredible beauty. The charming little town offers incredible views of Mt. Mitchell (the tallest peak in North Carolina), as well as Table Rock, Grandfather Mountain, and several other peaks.
#8 Sugar Mountain
This place is a ski resort in the winter, so you can ride ski lift all the way to the top of the mountain for stunning views of the entire region.
#9 Banner Elk
Another incredibly quaint fall town that’s not only filled with fall leaves, but also pumkins, cider, and plenty of festivals and live music.
This is without a doubt the most visited fall destination on our list. If you’ve never been to Asheville in the fall, you have to go. The surrounding blue ridge parkway is remarkable, the downtown area is breathtaking, and the Biltmore truly blossoms this time of year.
What’s your favorite place to enjoy fall in the Carolinas?