Catch the Charlotte Peak Leaf Season and Experience the Shifting Seasons Like Never Before
For a state with endless summers and unpredictable winters, fall has always been a welcome reprieve. With cooler weather, beloved fall flavors and festive holidays, what’s not to love? Unfortunately, that reprieve can pass by in the blink of an eye some years. For those who want to savor every moment of this season, consider starting with some natural sights. Leaf peeping is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and experience the beauty of the changing leaves. We’ve picked out the best places to go during peak leaf season so that you don’t have to waste a single moment.
Detailing gorgeous views, there’s no better location than Waterrock Knob for taking in autumn’s foliage. The mountain peak has an elevation of 6,292 and exposes you to a gorgeous mountain range.
Though only 1.2 miles, Rough Ridge is short but impactful. Hike along the trail and take in the attractive scenery. Make sure to stop by Rough Ridge summit to catch views of Grandfather Mountain and Linn Cove Viaduct.
Linn Cove Viaduct
Wrapping around Grandfather Mountain in Linville, Linn Cove Viaduct is steeped with rich history. When faced with how to build a viaduct without bringing harm to the mountain itself, architects and engineers created a bridge with a S shape that hugs close to the mountain. Explore this unique design that gives striking views of both the mountain and leaf colors.
Don’t let the name deter you; Graveyard Fields exude some of the most remarkable sights for the change of season. Take a relaxing hike that includes wildflowers and waterfalls. There’s nothing somber about this trail.
A peaceful sanctuary located just 11 minutes from bustling Uptown, Wing Haven features rich gardens and an intimate bird sanctuary, made all the more better in the autumn season. This is the Charlotte leaf season at its best, right at home without needing to drive.
Settled between North Carolina and Tennessee, Max Patch is a bald mountain that was used as a pasture during the 1800s. Catch striking sunrises and views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Nothing short of exquisite, you’re in for only the best experience when you take a trip to Biltmore in Asheville. The estate spans over 8,000 acres and offers opportunities to view fall foliage. Take a stroll through walking trails or along peaceful spots like the French Broad River or gardens. Bike through Biltmore’s 20 miles of trails or hike through forests.
Hanging Rock State Park
Spanning over 8,605 acres, what’s most incredible about Hanging Rock is there no limit of alluring sights to see. From rushing waterfalls to solemn forests, Hanging Rock is a prime fall location.
If you’d rather avoid hiking, head to Marshall Park, located six minutes from Uptown. Walk along the lake while you view the fall colors the Queen City has to offer.
Looking Glass Rock
With its immense size that appears to rise from the ground, Looking Glass Rock is extraordinary in itself. But, if you make it to the top, you get to see the best of changing leaves and autumn colors.
Though a popular location for skiing and snowboarding, Beech Mountain is amazing in autumn. Take a trip through scenic trails and striking fall colors. Within the village, there are a variety of restaurants to enjoy after your journey.
Only 25 miles from Asheville sits Waynesville. The small town is also close to the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway, which means fall foliage isn’t far. Experience restaurants, breweries, and boutiques that make Waynesville nothing but charming.
A place to visit come the second week of October, Mt. Pisgah is where the best colors pick up steam.
Table Rock is one the most awe-inspiring ridges in the Pisgah National Forest. It’s peak reaches over 3,950 feet above sea level and overlooks Linville Gorge. This view would truly be a sight to see any time of year, but, during peak foliage season, it’s not one you can miss.
With an elevation of 6,040 feet above sea level, Tennent Mountain has stunning fall views. Hit it around sunset or sunrise and you can see the valley beneath glow in the light.
Blowing Rock is arguably one of the most “fallish” places in North Carolina. Each year the town decorates with pumpkins, fall colors, and mountain décor. And from the peak the town is named from you can get almost 360-degree view of the leaves changing.
From the lake, you can see the surrounding leaves and the reflections on the water. Take the day to go hang out on the water and bask in the autumn colors around you.
In the winter, this place operates a ski resort, but you can still ride the chairlift even if there isn’t a snowy blanket on the ground. Ride the chairlift all the way to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views of the entire region.
Banner Elk is another one of those incredibly quaint fall towns that’s not only filled with fall leaves, but pumpkins, cider, and tons of festivals and live music.
Uwharrie National Forest
Uwharrie National Forest is about an hour drive from Charlotte and best known for its ghost stories, gold mines, and beautiful lakes. Here you can hike one of the many scenic trails and truly take in the colorful leaves and crisp air.
The surrounding areas and Charlotte boast a beautiful leaf season – don’t miss out!
List by Liza Carrasquillo, Jeannette Jones, and Ellie Barker