NC Fall Color Report 2017

I’m not a native of NC, I grew up all over the US and have had the pleasure of calling Charlotte my home for 15 years. One of the things I love best here is fall. It’s the time when big yellow buses fill the morning commute with kids headed back to school, pumpkin spice fills the restaurant menus and store end caps, and temperatures drop out of the 90’s and we pull our warmer clothes from the back of the closet. But best of all is the fall color. We’re blessed with abundant natural beauty in the Carolinas, both the beautiful beaches and stunning mountains.

If you’re like me and want to take in the beauty of fall leaves this year, see my short Q&A below for some top tips:

Is it going to be an amazing year for fall color?
It’s hard to predict this early, but unlike last year, the mountains are not in drought, quite the opposite. The key elements of a great color show depend on 1. the type of plant, 2. the amount of rainfall and 3. cooler temperatures. All indications point to a great season for fall leaves.

Where are the best places in NC to see fall leaves?
Fall color varies by elevation, with the highest elevations seeing color change first. My top recommendation is to pick based on when you can go and what areas have peak color. See the map below from App State on fall color timing. A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is always a good bet and you’ll be able to take in views of many elevations.

What are the best tips for viewing and photographing fall landscapes?
-Plan ahead and book accommodations early
-Be patient, it’s busy this time of year and many peak spots/overlooks will be full of other visitors
-Plan for the weather. Particularly at higher elevations, weather changes quickly so pack layers. Don’t get discouraged by storms or fog, they often leave as quickly as they came.
-Take your camera everywhere with you and don’t miss the Golden Hour, the times near sunrise and sunset with soft golden lighting that can add a magical touch to your photos.

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