Every year, North Carolina’s lush trees and sky-high mountains put on one of the most dazzling displays in the country. Cascading waterfalls and spectacular canyons beckon visitors to explore all year round, but North Carolina’s fall colors have a special way of highlighting the state’s natural beauty in an unforgettable way. Read on to discover some of the best places for leaf peeping in the autumn. And, if you are looking for more great ways to celebrate the season, download our free Chimney Rock Vacation Guide. It is full of recommendations on apple orchards, fall festivals, outdoor recreation, and everything you need for the perfect mountain getaway.
3 Places to Admire North Carolina’s Fall Colors
1. Western N.C.’s State & National Parks
The state and national parks in Western North Carolina are premier leaf-peeping destinations. Some of our favorite parks to explore in the autumn include Chimney Rock State Park, Pisgah National Forest, and Dupont State Forest. All three of these enchanting parks offer boundless hiking and walking trails, breathtaking wildlife, and spectacular waterfalls. For those who want those panoramic mountain views without the hike, make your way to Chimney Rock State Park. Here, you can enjoy 75-mile panoramic vistas of Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills. There is an elevator available that will take you to the top.
2. The Blueridge Parkway
If you don’t have the energy for a hike, we’ve got you covered. Hop in the car and take a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is one of the longest and most scenic roads in America! The 469-mile route travels through mountains, blanketed with vibrant trees. In the fall, the trees transform with shades of red, gold, and orange. You’ll find plenty of places to stop, stretch your legs, and take photos. Many rural areas add colorful barn quilts to buildings in the autumn, which are fun to spot on your road trip. On the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s all about the journey! Drive slow, stop frequently, and enjoy.
3. Biltmore Estate
With over 8,000 acres of grand estate, Biltmore Estate is the perfect place to enjoy North Carolina’s changing colors. From the majestic views of the Blue Ridge mountains at the top of the Esplanade to brilliant gardens of orange mums, you’ll find so many great places to enjoy fall at Biltmore. Schedule an estate tour to make the most of your trip!
Tips for Optimal Leaf-Peeping
- The fall weather in Western North Carolina fluctuates between chilly mornings and warm afternoons. You will notice differences in temperature at varying elevations, so wearing layers is always a good idea!
- After admiring the season’s colors, take advantage of everything that Western N.C. offers, like apple picking, fall festivals, and more. When you pack your bags, remember to bring a copy of our free vacation guide!
- If you are planning a trip to Chimney Rock State Park or Biltmore Estate, save money on your trip with our vacation specials, like our Hickory Nut Gorge Package and Biltmore Estate Package.
Enjoy the Fall Colors From Your Mountain Cabin
There isn’t a better place to admire North Carolina’s fall colors than The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant. Our inn and our cabins offer unbeatable views, overlooking the crystal-clear rapids of the Rocky Broad River and Hickory Nut Gorge. For a classic fall getaway, book the Chimney Rock River Cabin. This cabin offers incredible mountain views from every window of the house and is only steps away from the Rocky Broad River. Complimentary gourmet breakfast and on-site spa services are a few amenities to enjoy! If you are ready to plan your fall getaway, check our availability and book your stay. We can’t wait to host you at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant!