This is the Parkway fall color report for October 8, 2009. Obviously October means fall color season to thousands of Parkway travelers but don’t neglect the great displays along the road and the signs of fall harvest with fields of pumpkins and cabbage, corn growing right up to the edge of the roadway in many places.
Parkway meadows are filled this time of year with Coreopsis and Black Eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s Lace, Butterfly Weed, Joe Pye Weed, and Cornflower. All of those late summer blooms that fill the roadsides with color.
Typically the Blue Ridge Parkway experiences our much anticipated change in fall foliage around the middle of October. Many factors contribute to variations in when and where those colors will peak however since the Parkway stretches almost 500 miles north to south and it also meanders from east to west facing slopes and varies in elevation a great deal.
Many visitors have been frustrated trying to go to one spot on one day in October hoping to find the leaves in full color. A far better plan is to drive some distance on the Parkway and change elevations in your north/south orientation. Doing that around mid to late October you will catch a glimpse of at least some of the pretty color we’re famous for.
So here’s the latest report from some of the popular stops along the motor road. The bright colors of fall are present throughout the northern sections of the Parkway. Dogwoods assume their rusty red and Tulip Poplars displaying a little bit of yellow.
Maples and Oaks are in the earliest states of color. Sumac and Sourwood are already displaying that red foliage. A lot of bright red on the rocks as the Virginia Creeper is at its peak.We are at or near peak in several sections between mileposts 0 to milepost 36 but still perhaps a couple weeks away from peak color through the Peaks of Otter area.
Queen Anne’s Lace and Astors, White Snake Root and Healall are showy in the Linville Falls area in North Carolina with some Maples, Sourwoods, and Sassafras showing. In the Grandfather Mountain corridor White Snake Root and Queen Anne’s Lace, many varieties of Astors are blooming on the roadsides. Sundrops at Beacon Heights and Turtle Heads around Bass Lake are dominant right now. The Maples, Sourwoods, and Sassafras are showing good fall color.
Showy Astors, Queen Anne’s Lace, Queen of the Meadow, and Goldenrod are pretty at the North Carolina Minerals Museum and up around Crabtree Meadows. Expect some good color to be on display north of Asheville towards Craggy Gardens with pinnacles at Craggy showing the rusty red of Mountain Ash and the golden color of Beech.
North of Mount Mitchell has about 50% color this week. Some color showing in Asheville area itself but nothing remarkable as of yet. Typical Sourwood and Dogwood rust color is showing. On the far southern end of the Parkway a little fall color in Mount Pisgah and about 50% color in the Graveyard Fields area. Some cooler temperatures and the possibility of frost this week could bring on the color change more rapidly according to some.
It’s a busy time on the Parkway so watch out for those built in distractions like great views, wildlife, extra traffic and bicyclists. As we always tell folks, enjoy the view but watch the road.
Weekly updates at 828-298-0398 will keep you informed of what’s being reported throughout the Parkway.
Have a safe parkway visit! Enjoy the view, but watch the road.