As the Blue Ridge Mountains begin to burst with fall color, Grandfather Mountain invites leaf-lookers to see the brilliant change from one of the best leaf-looking destinations in the South.

Grandfather Mountain is home to myriad species of plants and hardwood trees that range from pumpkin-colored beech trees to blood-red sourwoods and rusty red oaks.

“Fall color’s sprung early this year,” said Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates the Linville, N.C., nature preserve and attraction. “We’re thinking it’ll be an early year, but the color itself is looking great — fall color is always great in the mountains.”

One way leaf-lookers can enjoy fall foliage this season is Grandfather’s guided walk series, “The Colors of Grandfather,” offered on weekends Oct. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22.

“The Colors of Grandfather” will visit various locations around Grandfather Mountain to showcase a spectacular contrast of autumn hues. These guided walks, led by members of Grandfather’s naturalist staff, give guests an opportunity to learn more about color change and explore the species of plants and trees native to Grandfather Mountain.

Participants will become more familiar with tree identification and will be able to ask questions about the annual color-changing phenomenon.

The programs typically begin at 1 p.m. and are included with regular admission. For more information about “The Colors of Grandfather,” call (828) 733-4326, or visit

Even after color has peaked on the mountain, Grandfather’s elevation offers guests a lofty view to observe the colors changing in the valleys below.

“You’re essentially able to see the entire season unfold before your eyes,” said Frank Ruggiero, the foundation’s director of marketing and communications. “Autumn always looks spectacular from a mile high.”

In addition to the programs offered inside the park in October, fresh fall color photos are posted daily throughout the month on the mountain’s website and social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325.