This is the Blue Ridge Parkway Fall color report for October 13th, 2011. Typically, the Parkway experiences the much anticipated change in fall color around the middle of October. But remember that many factors contribute to variations in when and where the color will peak. The Parkway stretches 500 miles from North to South and meanders from East to West facing slopes. Most importantly, it varies in elevation from just under 650′ at James River in Virginia to over 6000′ south of Mt Pisgah in North Carolina.
So many visitors have been frustrated trying to get to one spot on one day hoping to find leaves in full color. A far better plan is to drive some distance on the Parkway changing elevations and the North/South orientation. If you do that around mid-to-late October then you will catch at least some of the pretty colors we are famous for.
In the Northern Districts of the Parkway in Virginia, there are pockets of good color throughout, although not peak color in any place currently. You can find a good mix of red and yellow and green on most slopes including Maples, Sour Gum, Dogwood, and Poplar.
At the Peaks of Otter in Virginia, look for colorful Dogwood, Sourwood, Sumac, Sassafras, Tulip Poplar and Birch.
Around the Blue Ridge Music Center near the North Carolina and Virginia state line, nice yellows coming from the Birch, Tulip Poplar, and Fraser Magnolia. Red is showing on Maples as well.
Lots of fall color reported in the Grandfather Mountain Corridor along with the fall wildflowers of Goldenrod and a variety of Asters. Things are changing fast around Mt Pisgah in the Asheville Corridor with peak color expected next week.
Beyond the French Broad and up to Mt Pisgah the color is nice and close to peak at about 4000′ in elevation.
Enjoy October in the Mountains and visit some of the harvest time activities in our neighboring communities. Enjoy the view, but watch the road.