This weekend I attended the wedding of my sister’s daughter at the Linganore Winecellars outside of Frederick, MD. Although it was rainy and the ceremony had to be held inside, the hall they had was beautifully crafted with wood paneling and wood beams, and it felt very warm and cozy inside. We all had a great time.
Because of that trip, I didn’t get to go out and scout around for fall colors until this morning. But what a morning it was – cool, in the low 40s, maybe even in the 30s, with clear blue skies and low humidity. There was valley fog, but Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway were clear and stunning. I hiked the Flat Rock Trail, which faces east, and is about 4-5 miles south of Grandfather Mountain on the Parkway. Then, I drove the Parkway north to the Beacon Heights parking lot, took some pictures, and then made my way to the Rough Ridge trailhead and hiked up to the wooden viewing platform. While there I met Skip Sickler, who takes pictures for Grandfather Mountain (I just posted one of his pictures). Skip is also an award-winning photographer and last year won 7 individual awards for his wildlife photography! Congrats to Skip on those achievements!
Colors have progressed nicely over the last week and with this cool weather and blue, sunny skies, will continue to do so through this next week. While colors along the slopes of Grandfather are not yet at peak, they are colorful and worth viewing. By this coming weekend they should be further along, and it would be worth your while to come up if that is the only weekend you can spare. I think colors will be great from this weekend through to the next weekend (Oct 8-15). Of course, colors will persist beyond the 15th, but as time goes on, they will move downslope. But the next two weekends should be great for fall color viewing in this area.
The best colors in this region are from the Boone Fork Trailhead south to the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Parkway. Farther north, they’re looking good around Price Lake, and should peak there in the next week or so.
I expect similar trends will be found around the Mt. Mitchell area and at Waterrock Knob along the Parkway, as well as north of US 421 in Doughton Park. It looks like colors will be close to ON TIME this year, mainly a result of the cool weather we’ve been having. Hurricane Ian didn’t really impact the colors because when it came to the mountains the winds died down and the rain was fairly gentle.
So, come on up and take in the views!