Here in late September, the fields of the Parkway are full of Black-eyed Susan, Joe-Pye Weed, Queen Anne’s Lace, Ironweed, Goldenrod, and some Butterfly Weed. There are great displays of Cardinal Flower in a few wet areas. The staff at the Peaks of Otter is reporting Ironweed and Jewel Weed, Woodland Sunflower, and Pink Turtlehead in addition to all the above species.
Some fall color is showing around milepost 80-90 with Dogwood, Sourwood, and Tulip Tree, along with Virginia Creeper and Sassafras. A few striped Maple and Sweet Birch are also beginning to show some color. The meadows and agricultural lands in the Rocky Knob/Mabry Mill area are showing nice displays of Joe-Pye Weed, Black-eyed Susan, Goldenrod, and even a few early signs as well of fall color here and there.
Touch-Me-Nots, Jewel Weed, Spotted Knapweed, Coreopsis, and Goldenrod are all common throughout the North Carolina section, especially around Price Lake. From Linville Falls through Gillespie Gap around the Minerals Museum, look for Ox-eye Daisy, Phlox, Angelica, Jewel Weed, Yarrow, Ironweed, Coreopsis, and Black-eyed Susan, all common in this area.
Mountain Ash is coming in along around the Craggy Gardens area. Things seem to be gearing up for a splendid fall showing. Tall Coneflower, Fleabane, Ox-eye Daisy, and Goldenrod can be found on the Craggy Garden trails as well. Blueberry bushes on the Pinnacle and Mountain Ash seem to attract visitor’s attention right now. The beginning of fall color is also beginning to show around milepost 400 with Sourwoods and Dogwoods turning red as well.
As always, we remind you to drive carefully along the Parkway. Keep your eyes on the road as you enjoy the view. In a few weeks, more indications of fall color will be showing up with peaks commonly coming in early to mid-October.
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.