This is the Fall Color Report for October 12th. October weekends are among the busiest times here on the Parkway and if at all possible you should plan your trip for weekdays and the crowds will be much smaller. Fields of wildflowers still dominate many areas with Sunflower, Ironweed, Goldenrod, Beebalm and Joe-Pye Weed lighting up the roadsides, especially in the agricultural lands adjacent to the Parkway. Row crops of pumpkins and cabbage and corn are reminders as well of the agricultural heritage of this part of the country. In Virginia the fall color is dependent, as always, on elevation. Dogwood is a nice red wine color and as visitors travel south of Roanoke up onto the high plateau there is an increasing amount of color with a few maples turning red, and just a few Tulip Poplars also turning yellow. Sourwoods are making the slow transition to dark red-purple, and the Ash trees around Mabry Mill have started to make their change nicely right now. Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Tulip Poplar are turning nicely in the Grandfather Mountain corridor this weekend as well. The big color news seems to be the rapid onset of peak color in the high elevations above 5,000 feet just north and south of Asheville, NC. Waterrock Knob, Graveyard Fields, Mt. Pisgah, are spectacular right now. Between Richland-Balsalm and the US-276 crossing, color is especially nice. Mt. Pisgah is projected to be at peak next week. After severe heat and drought conditions such as those of this summer, leaf color can be just as brilliant, but short-lived, so catch the good color areas as soon as they come. This report will be updated on a weekly basis throughout the fall color season. Have a safe Parkway visit and don’t let the visual distractions of the season keep you from watching the road as well. Weekly updates at 828-298-0398 will keep you informed of what’s being reported throughout the Parkway.
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