It’s mid September and the Parkway meadows are filled with Coreopsis and Black Eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s Lace, Butterfly Weed and Joe Pye. All of those late summer blooms that fill the roadsides with color.
The early signs of fall are present throughout the northern sections of the Parkway. Dogwoods have assumed a little bit of that rusty red color and Tulip Poplars are displaying yellows. Maples are in their earliest stages of color, Sumac and Sourwood displaying some red along the roadside. Still several weeks away until significant color will be seen.
Around Mabry Mill and Rocky Knob in Virginia look for Daisy Fleabane and Ox Eyed Daisy, Yarrow, Flowering Spurge, Black Eyed Susan, all of these are in fine display. Tall Sunflowers and Sweet Goldenrod, sure signs that the approaching fall season is almost here, are also showy right now.Throughout this high plateau of Rocky Knob and south into the northwest mountains of North Carolina it’s harvest time as well. The adjacent agricultural fields are filled with hay bales, pumpkins, cabbage and other signs of fall harvest.
Jewelweed is still blooming around Linville Falls picnic area, along the trails of the Linville River and along the Parkway itself between mileposts 316 and 331. Queen of the Meadow can still be seen behind the Minerals Museum. Joe Pye Weed, Ironweed, Purple Coneflower and the bright orange Butterfly weed can all be seen in many places along the Parkway from about milepost 340 near Crabtree Meadows to milepost 316 near Linville Falls.
At the Moses Cone Estate visitors can enjoy Milkweed, Tall Bellflower, Astors in a variety of species and Coreopsis. Walk the Beacon Heights trail at milepost 305 to see many of the same in addition to Whorled Loosestrife, Fetterbush and Woodland Sunflower. The Linn Cove Visitor Center staff reports lots of Touch Me Not, White Snakeroot, Turtlehead and Sundrop. Black Eyed Susan is common here and in many other areas of the Parkway.
Leaves are starting to change in the high elevations south of Asheville with Graveyard Fields starting to show some red and yellow. Sourwoods, Maple and Mountain Ash are starting to show their color. As you travel south down the Parkway little splashes of yellow and red are starting to appear, the usual fall flowers are out as well. Sunflower, Coreopsis, Coneflower and Astors can be seen as you make that southern drive. Mountain Ash is already turning the heads of visitors with fall color in the Craggy Gardens area.
It’s a busy time on the Parkway so watch out for those built in distractions like great views, wildlife, extra traffic and bicyclists.
Regular updates for color reports will be posted to our web site home page. You can also use the National Park Service information line at 828-298-0398 to keep informed of what’s being reported on the Parkway.
Have a safe Parkway visit! Enjoy the view, but watch the road.