Autumn’s brilliance is starting to fall on Grandfather Mountain! Although color change has started a little slowly this year, fall foliage can already be spotted in most High Country locales. Some of the higher elevations are already off to a good start, as this view from Grandfather Mountain’s Black Rock parking lot demonstrates. However, that’s not necessarily the case elsewhere.

According to Dr. Howie Neufeld, professor of biology at Appalachian State University and North Carolina’s esteemed “Fall Color Guy,” “Usually by this time of the year, the upper elevations above 5,000 feet have significant color, and these high elevations often show their peak color at this time. However, this year, color development is way behind normal. Only some birches and mountain maples have started to change in a significant manner, and then only in isolated patches here and there.”

Fortunately, Grandfather Mountain’s mile high elevation offers a fine vantage point to see that color change. Even after peak color passes locally, the park’s lofty heights allow guests to observe the season’s colors spreading throughout the valleys below.

Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation