Tips for Leaf Season on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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The Blue Ridge Parkway is an immensely popular destination for trips to see the leaves change in Autumn. Many residents of our apartments in Lynchburg, VA are planning for their leaf peeping trips now that Fall has arrived.

When will the leaves be at their peak Fall color on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

During the month of October, usually mid to late month, but it depends on your elevation. Leaves will begin changing first on the highest peaks and finish in the lower elevations.

There is no simple formula for predicting Fall color. The Parkway includes east and west facing slopes, and varies in elevation from just under 650 feet at James River in Virginia, to over 6,000 feet south of Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina.

Folks often find that they cannot go to one spot on one day in October, hoping to find the leaves in full color. A far better plan is to drive some distance along the Blue Ridge Parkway, changing elevations and north-south orientation. Any one who does this around mid to late October will likely catch at least some sections at or very near their peak color.

Why does Fall color vary year to year?

The intensity of Fall color and time of peak color vary and are determined by complex environmental factors, as well as the genetic makeup of the plants themselves. The “best” Fall color for an area occurs during the shortening days of autumn when days are bright, sunny and cool, when nights are cool but not below freezing, and when there has been ideal rainfall. Adequate rainfall also keeps the leaves on the trees longer and enhances the color. Wet, cloudy, warm weather or exceptionally low temperatures in early fall tend to mute the much anticipated autumnal display.

2018 Fall Color Updates

9/24/2018 Update – From the Blue Ridge Parkway

The first day of Fall was this on Saturday, 9/22! The official kickoff for the 2018 Fall Color Season has begun!

We headed up to the upper elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend to see how colors were progressing in the upper elevations, above 5000 foot.

Good news, they are!

As you approach 5,000 feet and above, you'll begin to see some yellow, oranges, and even a little read sprinkled in here and there. The higher up you go, the more color you can see. The primary color is still very much GREEN, but the change has definitely started and is noticeable!

We drove from Parkway from Waynesville NC up to Graveyard Fields, at MP418.5. Graveyard Fields is one of the first areas to change on the Parkway, due to the elevation, and unique type of foliage. It generally peaks during the first week in October, but seemed to be just a little behind this year.


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