Parkway and 221

Parkway and 221

Stray leaves and reflected pinpoints of sunshine create a dazzling galaxy in a pool of water near the Blue Ridge Parkway/U.S. 221 intersection, leading toward Grandfather Mountain. This entry marks the last in Grandfather Mountain’s 2017 Fall Color Gallery. Compared to previous years, 2017’s fall color progression was somewhat unusual, in that the change came on quickly, only to stall, start again, stall again and start again. Experts attribute this — and some resulting premature defoliation — to the erratic fluctuations in temperature that dominated October’s forecasts. However, autumn is always glorious in the North Carolina mountains, and this...
Milkweed

Milkweed

A milkweed plant in nearby Pineola assumes its autumnal form. The plant is named for its milky sap and is a favorite among monarch caterpillars, which feed exclusively on its leaves. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation...
Linville River

Linville River

Fall color frames the Linville River, this section located in Grandfather Mountain’s hometown of Linville. Those looking for Halloween fun this weekend are encouraged to visit Grandfather Mountain for the park’s annual A Beary Scary Halloween celebration. Featuring games, crafts, nature programs, a costume contest and trick-or-treating, the festival also offers kids the chance to create special treats for the mountain’s furry and feathered habitat residents. Plus, kids in costume get in for half-price! The fun runs from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., rain or shine. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation...
Hwy. 221 Overlook

Hwy. 221 Overlook

An overlook off of scenic U.S. Hwy. 221 showcases fall splendor in the High Country. With much of the High Country past peak, Grandfather Mountain’s mile-high overlooks offer a prime vantage point to see fall color in the elevations below. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Stack Rock View

Stack Rock View

Stack Rock Creek takes a dip through fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Colors are still vibrant at some of the High Country’s higher elevations, as the changing of the leaves progresses further down into the valleys. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Stack Rock & 221

Stack Rock & 221

Colorfully crisp fall foliage lines the ridge between Stack Rock (Milepost 308.4) and the U.S. 221 exit on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway-facing side of Grandfather Mountain continues to be a prime spot for leaf-looking, although vibrant colors are popping in many areas of the High Country, especially in descending elevations. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Linville River Bridge

Linville River Bridge

Golden leaves cross the Linville River Bridge, located near Milepost 316 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Despite Monday’s torrential rainfall, many trees seem to have retained their leaves, meaning fall color is still shining and well on track in the lower elevations. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Price Lake

Price Lake

Fall foliage adds a spot of brightness to a rainy day on Price Lake, located at Milepost 296.7 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although many leaves have fallen at higher elevations, colors continue to burst around Grandfather Mountain, particularly on the east side facing the Parkway. According to Dr. Howie Neufeld, Appalachian State University biology professor and “Fall Color Guy,” higher-elevation areas along the Parkway are now past peak, but colors should persist through next weekend, especially at lower elevations, weather permitting. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Green Mountain Creek

Green Mountain Creek

Golden leaves add seasonal color along Green Mountain Creek, located off the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to Virtual Blue Ridge, views from the Green Mountain Overlook (Milepost 300.6) are more stunning in fall and winter than they are during summertime, when growth is abundant. Although fall color has peaked at higher elevations, the next couple of weeks should afford leaf-lookers ample opportunity to see color change in the High Country’s lower elevations, with Grandfather Mountain offering an ideal vantage point to witness the season unfolding. Those visiting Grandfather Mountain this weekend are encouraged to skip the line by buying...
MacRae Meadows Picnic Area

MacRae Meadows Picnic Area

Sunshine beams through golden leaves in the picnic area of Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows. Those visiting Grandfather Mountain this weekend for fall color are encouraged to skip the line by buying their tickets online, which allows guests to enter the park via a Priority Lane through the meadows. To learn more, visit https://goo.gl/Yvtbyx. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation ...
Over MacRae Meadows

Over MacRae Meadows

Fall color descends the slopes of Grandfather Mountain into the forests and valleys below. According to experts, since many trees at lower elevations are still mostly green, leaf-lookers can expect to see color change continue over the next couple of weeks. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
U.S. 221

U.S. 221

Fall color begins to spread through the High Country’s lower elevations, as seen at this pull-off from U.S. Hwy. 221. The highway runs near the Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers dramatic vistas of the mountains and valleys below, much of which still remains green. According to Dr. Howie Neufeld, Appalachian State University biology professor and “Fall Color Guy,” the forests seen from most overlooks are about 1,000 feet lower in elevation, meaning the leaves in those locations still have a little way to go. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
MacRae Meadows

MacRae Meadows

Golden leaves complement the sunshine in Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows, with the mountain itself creating a stunning seasonal backdrop. During summertime, the meadows are draped in a different color — plaid. MacRae Meadows is the site of the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, held each July and celebrated as one of the nation’s most popular gatherings of Scottish clans. Meanwhile, fall color continues to progress into the lower elevations of the High Country, with spot color still bursting at higher elevations, such as Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 302.8), meaning leaf-lookers can expect some colorful sights...
Boone Fork Creek

Boone Fork Creek

Seasonal color sits along the banks of Boone Fork Creek. The creek and its bridge — part of the popular Tanawha Trail — can be accessed from milepost 299.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trail, named after Grandfather Mountain’s Native American moniker, meaning “fabulous hawk,” connects with the mountain’s Daniel Boone Scout and Nuwati trails. With much of the Parkway’s lower elevations still relatively green, experts are expecting superb color this coming weekend. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation  ...
Grandmother Mountain

Grandmother Mountain

The view from nearby Grandmother Mountain sees Grandfather Mountain draped in fall colors. While Grandfather Mountain’s leaves peaked last week and this past weekend, the mountain’s mile-high elevation offers a stunning viewpoint to see the abundance of color in the valleys below. According to Dr. Howie Neufeld, Appalachian State University biology professor and “Fall Color Guy,” there is still a lot of green to be found in in the surrounding High Country, meaning this coming weekend should offer some prime leaf-looking. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Parkway Boulder

Parkway Boulder

Fall color is in full swing along the High Country stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, as demonstrated in this photo taken near the Linn Cove Viaduct. According to Dr. Howie Neufeld, Appalachian State University professor of biology and “Fall Color Guy,” last year’s colors peaked in the Boone/Blowing Rock area around Oct. 20, and this year’s pattern seems to be on the same track — meaning leaf-lookers might expect brilliant color over the next couple of weekends and the week in between. Grandfather Mountain offers a spectacular vantage point to see the seasonal color spreading through the lower...
Raccoon

Raccoon

A raccoon enjoys some mountain ash berries at Grandfather Mountain’s Half Moon Overlook. Mountain ash leaves may be either green, dull red or rich yellow, while their clusters of fruit remain bright red well into the winter. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation...
St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church

St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church

Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak peeks out from the clouds, as seen from St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church in Linville, N.C. Those visiting Grandfather Mountain this weekend can expect peak colors on the mountain and vibrant hues spreading throughout the valleys below. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Grandfather Lake

Grandfather Lake

Autumn casts a colorful reflection on Grandfather Lake, as fog shrouds Grandfather Mountain above. Much of the foliage on the mountain is at or near peak color, with leaves also changing at lower elevations. According to Dr. Howie Neufeld, Appalachian State University professor of biology professor and “Fall Color Guy,” most of the leaves in the High Country were spared from the remnants of Hurricane Nate, with plenty left to still develop color. As such, leaf-lookers can expect a picturesque weekend, with ample color to be seen the following week and beyond. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain...
Atop Sphinx Rock

Atop Sphinx Rock

Fall color brightens the drive up Grandfather Mountain’s main road, as pictured from atop the park’s Sphinx Rock boulder. Most of the mountain’s foliage is now at peak, and experts are anticipating a most colorful weekend ahead. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Half Moon Overlook

Half Moon Overlook

Autumn is bursting with color at Grandfather Mountain’s Half Moon Overlook. Most of the foliage on Grandfather is near or at peak, with foliage in the surrounding valleys beginning to follow suit. As such, visitors to the High Country can likely expect a vibrant display this coming weekend. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Camp Yonahnoka

Camp Yonahnoka

Fall colors and Grandfather Mountain cast their reflections in the lake at Camp Yonahnoka, located just south of Grandfather Mountain in Linville. Fall colors are near or at peak on the mountain, while foliage in surrounding areas is now beginning to pop, particularly in the Boone and Blowing Rock areas. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Witch-Hazel

Witch-Hazel

Witch-hazel embraces the season near Grandfather Mountain’s Nature Museum. Despite its spooky-sounding name, the plant is far from scary. The term, “witch,” is derived from an Old English term for “flexible,” and the plant itself boasts numerous medicinal applications, especially in terms of skin care. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation   ...
Near the Habitats

Near the Habitats

Fall color brightens the landscape around Grandfather Mountain’s environmental wildlife habitats. Environmental habitats are large enclosures that allow visitors to see animals in natural settings. Unlike the exhibits found in many zoos that bring in plants and boulders to recreate an appropriate setting, these enclosures were built around the animals’ actual native habitat. Grandfather Mountain’s habitats are currently home to black bears, cougars, bald eagles and river otters, with elk coming soon. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Linville River

Linville River

Golden leaves reflect off the Linville River in Linville, N.C., the town Grandfather Mountain calls home. From there, the river winds its way through scenic Linville Falls and the famous Linville Gorge, known as the “Grand Canyon of North Carolina.” Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Bass Lake

Bass Lake

Bass Lake in Blowing Rock grows even more picturesque, as fall color begins to brighten the landscape. Located off U.S. 221 near Blowing Rock, a short drive from Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 294.6, the lake is part of Moses Cone Memorial Park and offers ample easy-access hiking and leaf-looking options, with some of the longer trails leading to the historic Cone Manor House. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Toe River

Toe River

Golden leaves brighten the landscape surrounding the Toe River in Newland. With temperatures fluctuating between warm and cool, fall color has exhibited an irregular pattern this year, with colors stalling during warmer weather and resuming the shift with cooler temperatures. There has also been a surprising amount of premature defoliation, or leaf-dropping, especially in sugar maples, birches and tulip poplars, which experts are attributing to the unusual weather. Nonetheless, leaf-lookers should expect nice color over the coming weekend and the following week. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Black Rock Parking Lot

Black Rock Parking Lot

Fall color enhances the vista from Grandfather Mountain’s Black Rock parking area. Although leaves are gradually changing at higher elevations, an abundance of green fills the valleys below. A forecast for warmer weather by the end of the week could yet again stall color development, meaning what was originally thought to be an early peak could instead prove late. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...
Mile High Swinging Bridge

Mile High Swinging Bridge

Fall color is on the rise near Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge. Many trees are nearing peak color at higher elevations, and this week’s forecast of cooler temperatures could help accelerate the process at lower elevations. Dr. Howie Neufeld, Appalachian State University professor of biology and “Fall Color Guy,” predicts that colors will start popping toward the end of the first week of October and peaking in mid-October in the Boone and Blowing Rock area. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship...