North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain Sees "Perfect Scenario" For Colorful Fall Foliage This Year

"This year is shaping up to be a good one.”

View of Grandfather Mountain from Camp Yonahnoka
Photo: Skip Sickler/Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Good news for leaf peepers. Fall is officially here, and the foliage on Grandfather Mountain is reportedly off to an auspicious start.

Buckeyes, which are among the first tree species that turn at Grandfather every year, have already started changing to yellow. Maples, with their vibrant shades of red, aren't far behind.

According to experts at the North Carolina landmark, moist soil from August rain, warm temperatures during the day, and cooler temperatures at night have triggered the trees to begin the dazzling process of going dormant for winter.

"This year I think is shaping up to be a good one," Jesse Pope, president and executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, said in a news release. "It's really the perfect scenario up to today for good fall color because we've had a pretty wet summer—so, we've had good growth. The trees have good leaf foliage on them. The leaves have grown. They're healthy. And, then in September, it's dried out. We've had a drier September than we did August, and the nights are starting to cool off. All that is the scenario for a good fall. We're optimistic."

Leaves at the highest elevations of Grandfather Mountain typically begin turning in mid-to-late September and gradually work down the slopes into the surrounding areas over several weeks. Peak color toward the summit is usually early October, with the lower sections of the park often peaking in mid-October. The views of fall color brightening up the low-lying valleys below can last through October, and possibly beyond.

To learn more about fall at Grandfather Mountain, visit

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