Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge parkway in the fall season: Fall colors near Chimney Rock.

A Golden Guide to the Most Spectacular Chimney Rock Fall Colors

You already know there are a million reasons to celebrate autumn in North Carolina, but do you know about the state’s best-kept secret? Just outside the city of Asheville lies the quaint mountain town of Chimney Rock. With its cascading waterfalls, hiking trails, and endless apple orchards nearby, the fall colors in the Chimney Rock area are second to none. Read on to learn more! And, if you are looking for more ways to make the most of your getaway, take a look at our free Vacation Guide. You’ll find over 100 handpicked recommendations on outdoor recreation, fall festivals, restaurants, and more.

The Best Places to Enjoy Fall Colors Near Chimney Rock


Chimney Rock State Park is one of the most accessible places in North Carolina where you can enjoy the season’s fall colors. The park’s hiking trails range from leisurely, kid-friendly strolls to moderate/strenuous excursions. The Hickory Nut Falls Trail is among one of the most popular hikes; at the end of this trail, a 400-foot cascading waterfall awaits! For those unable to hike, an elevator is also available to take you 2,280 feet up to the top of Chimney Rock. Here, you’ll find incredible 75-mile panoramic views of the Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and the Blue Ridge Foothills.


Apples are one of the most important agricultural crops grown in Henderson County, NC. In fact, they generate an average income of 22 million dollars each year! Apple harvest season usually begins in August and lasts through October (when fall leaves start making their appearance). You’ll pass through the quiet town of Hendersonville on your way to Chimney Rock, so take advantage! With the sweet smell of apples in the air and trees dotted with changing colors, there is nothing like a trip to an apple orchard in autumn.


The Blue Ridge Parkway is easily accessible from Chimney Rock. Along your road trip, you can look forward to some of the most beautiful fall colors in North Carolina. In the Asheville area nearby, you can access the parkway from U.S. 70 East at milepost 382 and N.C. Highway 19 at milepost 392. If you’re up for a day trip, we recommend taking the route to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee where the parkway begins. This national treasure is only a two-hour drive from Asheville! For customized recommendations on pit stops and sites along the way, take a look at the Blueridge Parkway website for a personalized map.


If you aren’t sure when to plan your vacation, consult the fall foliage map and tracker on the official Smoky Mountains website. Peak season typically takes place in mid-November. If you are planning a last-minute trip, give us a call at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant. We are happy to provide you with an update! However, keep in mind that autumn is the most popular time to visit, so the sooner you plan, the better.


When you’re enjoying the fall colors in Chimney Rock, our mountainside cabins are the perfect place to stay. Enjoy a cup of coffee on your private balcony overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains or end your evening with a bonfire in the outdoor fireplace. No matter how you choose to wind down the night, you can always look forward to the best amenitiesvacation packages, and top-notch service. Gourmet breakfast and on-site spa services are a few ways to make your trip special.

When you’re ready to plan your autumn getaway, remember your free Chimney Rock Vacation Guide. We hope to host you soon at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant!

Featured cabin at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant.