The following is a list of suggested places to visit as fall colors unfold across the state. Fall comes to the mountains first, so we’ve tracked the best locations for photo opportunities based on elevation and likely color timeframe. Of course, every year is different and this list may shift based on the features of individual years. Use the following guide to plan your photo ops, romantic picnics, or family hikes.
October 18 through 22: Above 5,000 Feet
Fall color is strongest above 5,000 feet in the N.C. mountains. The place to visit this week:
Black Balsam: For Blue Ridge Parkway fall colors, head south on the Parkway to hike to Black Balsam Knob. Just 40 minutes away from the Cabins at Seven Foxes, Black Balsam Knob is a tree-less bald that sits above 6214 ft. in elevation and gives wide sweeping views of surrounding mountain ranges. There are several trails accessible from this point on the Blue Ridge Parkway and plenty of areas to explore. A great short hike for families, day hikers, and photographers. While the colors won’t be at the summit (it’s a bald), the top provides a nice view of the changing colors below.
October 23 through 29: 4,000-5,000 Feet
Fall foliage will arrive at elevations between 4,000-5,000 feet. We suggest the following places to visit this week:
Devil’s Courthouse: Devil’s courthouse is located approximately 35 minutes from the Cabins at Seven Foxes and it’s ideal for a sunset hike. The view location presides over some of the most spectacular views in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From the top of Devil’s Courthouse at 5,720 feet, visitors can see into South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee in a 360-degree panorama. While at the top, you’ll be able to spot hawks, ravens, vultures, eagles, and peregrine falcons ride the hot air currents that rise from the valley. Because Devil’s Courthouse offers clear views of the surrounding mountains, its a great place to capture the fall color spread out below.
Pinnacle Park: If you’re up a day trip, hike to the pinnacle at Pinnacle Park just outside of the community of Sylva. Located 1 hour and 20 minutes from the Cabins at Seven Foxes, the nearly 1,500-acre town park features streams, waterfalls and panoramic views throughout.
October 27 through November 3: 3,000- 4,000 Feet
Next the fall leaf change reaches elevations between 3,000-4,000 feet. Now, fall colors become easier to spot and don’t always require a hike, In fact, we thing this is a great time for a fall drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway as many overlooks will provide a great view of fall color taking over the valleys below.
November 1 through 6: 2,000-3,000 Feet
Elevations between 2,000-3,000 feet, including the city of Asheville, see the strongest fall color. Places to visit this week:
North Carolina Arboretum: Located approximately 1 hour from the Cabins at Seven Foxes, the North Carolina Arboretum is nestled in the Southern Appalachian Mountains just south of Asheville. Its a great place to see fall colors as it offers acres of cultivated gardens and groomed trails featuring some of the most beautiful, botanically-diverse plants in the region. Take a stroll on the wooded trails and be sure to catch the miniature fall color show put on by the resident bonsai exhibit.
DuPont State Forest: Located 40 minutes from the Cabins at Seven Foxes, the state forest offers trails suited for casual and more serious hikers, with some trails also offered for mountain bikers. The large falls on the Little River offer stunning views while a couple of smaller falls on the Grassy Creek offer variety and solitude. Grab your camera and plan to capture the waterfalls with the fall colors surrounding.
November 6 through 11: 1,000-2,000 Feet
Fall color hits the lowest valleys and foothills between 1,000-2,000 feet. Places to visit this week:
Take a day hike or spend the weekend exploring more than 250 mountain waterfalls framed by fall foliage in the Brevard area. Located just 25 minutes from The Cabins at Seven Foxes, the town of Bravard will have loads of colorful trees right in town. We suggest grabbing a brew at Oskar Blues Brewery’s. Take it to the outdoor patio in and savor the taste of some equally enjoyable colors – amber, gold, and brown (beer, that is).
*The above information taken from the Interactive Fall Color Map by Explore Asheville. This is a fun little map of how colors move across the state. https://www.exploreasheville.com/trip-ideas/seasonal-fun/fall/interactive-fall-color-map/