Fall Color Report: October 6, 2023

Fall Color Report for Oct 6-2023

Yesterday (Friday) I went out with James Scott from WCCB-TV in Charlotte to talk about fall leaf colors. The link to the report is included here. 


We went to the Rough Ridge Trail just north of the Linn Cove Viaduct, one of the most popular trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). As expected, for a Friday as we near peak color, it was crowded. Nonetheless we took off and did the interview on the boardwalk that is about 1/3 of the way up.

The day was partly cloudy but began to clear just after we finished the interview. Leaf colors are developing nicely in this area, and some patches of forest were at peak color. I don’t know why these patches of forest are way ahead of the majority of the forest, but perhaps the soils differ in those patches, or maybe the species of tree. No matter what the cause, it happens every year. I need to hike down into the patches to get an up-close look at what’s going on in them!

As you might notice from the attached photos, color saturation is quite high on a cloudy day, and photos of leaf color come out exceptionally good on such days. The main trees that are turning now are sassafras (Sassafras albidum) which can be all colors from yellow to orange to red; black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), which turns a deep red color; Bigtooth aspen, I think (Populus grandidentata) which turns a bright yellow, sometimes tinged with red; Mt. Ash (Sorbus americana) with bright red berries and yellow/orange leaves; red maple (Acer rubrum) with brilliant red leaves; Fraser magnolias (Magnolia fraseri) yellow then brown. There are many more species, too numerous to name, although if they are in the photos, I’ll provide their names there.

Forests are coloring up nicely now and you will be rewarded with nice views over the next two weeks. A cold front moved in today, dropping the temperatures some, but not as much as I would like, though it should be enough to prod the trees on. I think color will continue to improve to next weekend and will peak the week after that (Oct 13-20) in the 3-4,500’ elevational range.

After the interview with WCCB, I hiked up to the top of Rough Ridge, then headed south on the Parkway and hiked alongside the road to the viaduct, since that short walk has such great views. In my next posting, I’ll fill you in on my visit on Saturday, Oct 7 to several locations, including Wiseman’s View in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, Linville Falls, Beacon Heights, and Grandfather Mt.

For the photos, please visit Fall Color Guy on Facebook. I include captions for each photo there.