Western North Carolina is famous for putting on one of the longest-running autumn leaf color displays in the country. This is especially true in Chimney Rock, NC, where locals and visitors can enjoy the show from October to early November. Whether you head out on a hike or a long car ride, our region’s beauty is sure to take your breath away. Here are some of our favorite ways to see Chimney Rock’s fall colors.
Learn more about Chimney Rock’s fall colors and other things to see in North Carolina when you download our free Vacation Guide. It’s the perfect resource to help you plan your autumn getaway!
How to Admire Chimney Rock’s Fall Colors
1. Go Hiking
Chimney Rock State Park is a premier leaf peeping destination in Western NC. It’s also a great place to hike! Visitors can explore trails that to lead to waterfalls, scenic outlooks, and ancient geological features like Chimney Rock.
To witness the park’s legendary colors from high atop Chimney Rock, take an easy stroll through a man-made tunnel and ride the elevator 26 stories up. Then, follow a cliff-top path that leads to a set of steel and wood stairs. Once you’ve made your final ascent, feel free to snap a few photos and enjoy 75-mile panoramic views of Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills.
2. Take a Drive
Not up for a hike? Pile in the car and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to find the best fall color. One of the most scenic roads in America, this 469-mile route travels through mountains covered in red and gold leaves. You’ll find countless points of interest along the way as well great places to stretch your legs. Plus, many rural areas add colorful barn quilts to buildings, which are fun to spot on your road trip. Remember: it’s all about the journey! Go slow, stop frequently, and enjoy.
3. Attend a Festival
Another great place to go leaf-peeping is at a local festival. There are plenty of fun events coming up this fall, including Asheville’s Oktoberfest and the NC Apple Festival in Hendersonville. Great food, live music, and family-friendly activities only add to the show-stopping foliage.
Autumn Leaf Viewing Tips
- Do your research. If you’re hiking in a state park, you likely won’t have cell service or Internet. We recommend planning your route or printing out a trail map beforehand.
- Wear polarized sunglasses. This helps to enhance fall colors.
- Bring snacks. We are happy to offer our guests a Trail Package that includes a delicious picnic lunch for two and dinner at our restaurant.
- Wear a sweater or jacket. Temperatures can vary depending on elevation.
- Take your camera! Early morning and late afternoon sunlight create especially dramatic images.
Book Your Stay at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant
With fall right around the corner, now is the time to start planning your trip to Chimney Rock! Book your stay at our bed and breakfast and enjoy spacious accommodations and top-notch amenities, including an onsite restaurant. We even have a relaxing outdoor spa! Our intimate retreat sits gently on a wooded hillside, overlooking the crystal-clear rapids of the Rocky Broad River and Hickory Nut Gorge. It’s the perfect place to admire our region’s changing colors! Rooms are filling up so don’t wait – check our availability and make your reservations today.
Looking for more fun things to do?
Read our blog about visiting the best Hendersonville, NC apple orchards.