ASHEVILLE NC – Leaf peepers aiming to catch fall colors during their peak won’t have to look far to find it now. Weekly fall color and wildflower reports are available to help you plan your visit to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure at chimneyrockpark.com (see the latest below). Peak fall colors are expected to appear in Chimney Rock for up to a couple weeks between mid-October and early November. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park offers six spectacular ways to view autumn foliage this year, from expert- and self-guided hikes to rock climbing and a photography workshop. The Park has been voted one of the top three Readers’ Choice “Best Scenic Views” by Southern Living magazine.
“The Blue Ridge Mountains feature one of most vibrant and longest fall color displays in America, attracting visitors from around the world. In late September to early November, from popular destinations along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure, Western North Carolina is among the most beautiful places to go leaf peeping, hiking and auto touring,” said Emily Walker, Park Naturalist & Education Manager.
Fall Color Report, 10-9-2012: Fall colors are appearing at the highest elevations and creeping down into Hickory Nut Gorge. Highway 74A from Asheville, Hwy 64 from Hendersonville and Hwy 9 from Black Mountain to the Park offer beautiful drives sprinkled with reds and yellows right now. In Chimney Rock some leaves are already starting to change, including the poplars, dogwoods, buckeyes, birch, beech, walnuts, sourwoods and sassafras. Meanwhile, the most vibrant colors are in our blooming fall wildflowers, including goldenrod, Pink Turtlehead, Small Wood Sunflower, snakeroot, gerardia, jumpseed and several types of asters. See Chimney Rock’s leaf and wildflower colors, current and last year’s, in our online photo gallery. Follow our Facebook page for up-to-date fall photos.
Catching Peak Colors. Fall in the mountains rewards leaf peepers with brilliant displays of leaf color, and Chimney Rock shows the full spectrum—from deep red and maroon to fiery yellow and orange. Thanks to its range in elevation from 1,100 to 2,500 feet and a large variety of deciduous trees in Hickory Nut Gorge, peak colors can last up to a couple weeks. Below are six of Chimney Rock’s favorite outings that will reward guests with an eyeful of fall color. Advance registration is required for guided hikes and workshops; register online at chimneyrockpark.com/events.
Get an Expert Guide
- Head Off the Beaten Path and take a guided Fall Color Ridge Hike on Chimney Rock Mountain with internationally renowned naturalist Ron Lance on Saturday, October 20 from 1-3 p.m. This is the Park’s most scenic guided hike of the entire year!
- View stunning fall colors from the end of a rope high above the Gorge. Sign up for a rock climbing adventure with Fox Mountain Guides, and bring your friends to save money with a group rate.
No prior experience is necessary. Two-hour, half- and full-day clinics are available.
Take a Hike
- Soak up 75-mile panoramic views on top of the Chimney some 900 feet above the valley floor. Get there by the modernized elevator or upgraded Outcroppings trail. This is the most dramatic and popular way to get your fall color fix!
- Fall wildflowers add bright splashes of color along our trails. This season brings blooming beauties from goldenrod and Pink Turtlehead to several types of asters.
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant leaf colors by hiking along the Hickory Nut Falls trail. Study the diverse range of leaf colors from oak and hickory to red maple and enjoy marveling at the 404-foot waterfall, one of the highest of its kind east of the Mississippi River, at the trail’s end.
Capture Colors on Camera
- Shutterbugs looking for expert tips and tricks to frame peak fall colors will find them at Chimney Rock’s one- or two-day Shutterbugs Nature Photography Workshops on Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28 from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.. Award-winning photographer Jeff Miller leads one of the most affordable workshops held in one of the most beautiful parks in Western N.C.
Park admission is $15 adult, $7 youth ages 6-15 and free for under six. Guided hikes, rock climbing and workshops cost extra. For more information on fall color, scenic drives and events throughout Western North Carolina, visit fallinthemountains.com.
Fall into Live Local Music. The Old Rock Café is rocking on fall weekend nights with Beats, Burgers & Brews, featuring live music performances by local artists. Live music will be held Fridays and Saturdays, 7-9 p.m. from October 12 through November 4; go to chimneyrockpark.com for a list of upcoming bands. After a few hours of leaf peeping in the Park, come enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine while relaxing outdoors on our riverside deck with views of the Rock. While we recommend the Old Rock’s delicious burgers, soups and local brews, we’ll be serving the full menu. The Café is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through November 4. Call (828) 625-2329 for weekly specials or view the online menu.
About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. The 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views overlooking Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge. In 2012 the Park is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the release of The Last of the Mohicans, which features Chimney Rock’s 404-foot waterfall and mountain scenery during the film’s final 17 minutes. The Park is located 30 minutes southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. Call (800) 277-9611 or visit chimneyrockpark.com.