Tag Archives: Southern Appalachians

When, where to find fall color

Editor’s note: This is a piece we run annually around this time. It has been tweaked, updated and massaged.

When it comes to fall color, outdoors types take the changing of the leaves pretty seriously.

How seriously?

Virginia has a fall foliage hotline — 800.424.5683 — that you can call for the latest breaking fall color news. Operators standing by; in our book, that’s quite serious. And, curiously, quite practical. read more

Piedmont fall foliage report: a flash of brilliance

The dogwoods and sourwoods were ablaze at Hanging Rock State Park two weekends ago.

Late last week I had a great idea. If you’re planning a trip to the mountains to catch the fall color, you check out the Weekly Fall Forecast and Color Report issued by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority. There, you can find updated reports from throughout the mountains about what colors are popping where.
But what if you don’t have time to drive to the mountains? Or what about when the season has peaked there and is blooming closer to home (assuming that home is in the Piedmont)?
Why not do a similar report for the Piedmont? I thought. I could do it based on reports from the dozen or so state parks, recreation areas and natural areas spread throughout the Piedmont. What brilliant idea!
Apparently the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development thought so, too, because they’re already doing it.
From this week’s report, for instance, we learn that as of Monday, “you can see a small change in color with yellows being the most predominant” at Raven Rock State Park near Lillington. And as of Wednesday at Falls Lake State Recreation Area in the Triangle, “Hickories are a nice golden yellow, and sweetgums and poplars continue to turn yellow as their leaves fall. The oaks and maples are still holding onto their green colors but should start to transition soon.” Other reporting stations since Oct. 1 include Haw River State Natural Area, Pilot Mountain State Park, Crowders Mountain State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, Mayo River State Park, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, Eno River State Park and Lake Norman State Park.
Personally, within the last week and a half I’ve seen the dogwoods and sourwoods add to the tableau at Eno River, Falls Lake and Umstead State Park with flashes of red and maroon. Color may not be close to peaking in the Piedmont, but it’s certainly starting to show. And based on the forecast for next week, there could be a significant uptick in color next weekend: temperatures are expected to cool significantly, with overnight lows dipping into the 30s. Cold snaps are one event that can significantly accelerate fall’s color display.
To recap: read more