How's the color now along the western NC mountains?
I drove from Boone, NC to Highlands, NC yesterday morning, taking Rt. 105 to US 221 to US 70 in Old Fort, to I-40 W to Waynesville, then US 23 to Franklin and finally Rt. 28 to Highlands.
Colors were at or even slightly past peak at high elevations in the Foscoe/Grandfather Mt./Linville area. Once you drop off the mountain at Linville Falls to North Cove, colors diminish some, but they are coming up on the hillsides amidst more green (lower elevation).
Once you get on I-40 in Old Fort and begin heading up the hill toward Black Mountain, the colors are great and continue past Swannanoa and then diminish slightly right in the Asheville area and beyond to Canton. However, the hillsides are quite colorful right now in all these areas.
Waynesville to Franklin is in full color now and looks very nice (lots of yellow birches and orange maples and beech and hickories coloring up. I also noted very dark reds on the hillsides, which are the oaks, the last of the major trees to develop color here.
The drive up to Highlands in the Cullasaja Gorge was beautiful (sometimes dangerously so, as that is one twisty road and you have to keep you eyes on it or risk a collision or hitting the guardrails! The areas around Highlands and Cashiers are in full color now.
The rains from the past two days were light to moderate and without strong wind, so they didn't take down as many leaves as they could have. So, this weekend, and the coming week will be your best last chance to see high elevation color.
Once the color passes at the high elevations, it will color up below 2,500' as it is doing now. So, head for lower elevation sites in November if you want to go hiking amidst the trees. Places like Stone Mt. State Park and Chimney Rock State Park, plus Gorges State Park outside Cashiers should all be having good color in the next two weeks.
That should do it for this week’s fall color report! I'm sorry, but no pictures right now as I could not take photos while driving! But I'll post some photos from Highlands soon.