This 2021 Fall Foliage Map serves as a planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves.
While no tool can be 100% accurate, this is meant to help you better plan your trips
to have the best opportunity of catching peak color for Fall 2021.
2021 Fall Color Forecast for the Blue Ridge Mountains,
by week, starting in late September
September 27 - October 7
At the highest elevations, close to 6,000 feet there is some color, but it's often very spotty and muted. The views from these locations will be mostly green, since the areas viewed are lower elevations. Areas that turn early in this date and elevation range include Graveyard Fields and Rough Ridge.
October 1 - 10
Peak time for areas above 5,000 feet. This would include: Clingmans Dome, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Waterrock Knob and Graveyard fields (the first location on the Parkway to turn) and higher elevations of The Blue Ridge Parkway (between Asheville and Cherokee) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
October 10 - 20
Peak time for elevations from 4,000 - 5,000 feet. This would include almost all Blue Ridge Parkway locations and the majority of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well. Included in this elevation are the Boone and Blowing Rock areas.
October 18 - 26
Peak time for lower elevations, from 3,000 - 4,000 feet. This would include places like: Pisgah National Forest which includes Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls, Dill Falls, Wildcat Falls, and many other waterfalls. Other ares include Linville Gorge, Nantahala Gorge, Maggie Valley, and Cataloochee Valley.
October 24 - 31
Peak time for elevations from 2,000 feet - 3,000 feet. This would include: The cities of Asheville, Brevard, Waynesville, Cherokee, and many others. Places of interest include Dupont State Forest and Biltmore Estate, and Cades Cove.
October 26 - November 8
Peak time for remaining elevations, including Gatlinburg, TN, Chimney Rock NC, Lake Lure and remaining lower elevation mountains. This includes Chimney Rock as well, a great place to see Fall color.
Please note, these timeframes are estimates based on prior years and current weather and soil conditions.
Actual peak times may vary some from this forecast.
Here is a quick cheat sheet of which leaves belong to which trees based on their fall color:
Tulip Poplar: golden yellow
Birch: bright yellow
Black Cherry: yellow
Dogwood: deep red
Sourwood: brick red
Shining Sumac: red
Oaks: red, brown, or russet
Sugar Maple: orange-red
Black Maple: glowing yellow
Red Maple: bright scarlet or orange