Leaf peepers hoping to catch fall colors during their peak won’t have to look far to find it now. Brilliant reds and yellows are appearing at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, and peak fall colors are expected in areas of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure from mid-October through early November. Guests can plan their visits with weekly fall color and wildflower reports at chimneyrockpark.com (see the latest below). Chimney Rock offers six spectacular ways to view autumn color this year, from expert- and self-guided hikes to a photography workshop. The Park has been voted one of the top three Readers’ Choice “Best Scenic Views” by Southern Living magazine.
"The Blue Ridge Mountain range features one of most colorful and longest leaf color displays in the U.S., attracting visitors from around the world. The region's weather pattern so far suggests that Western North Carolina will again be a premier destination for viewing incredible displays of fall leaf colors," said Ron Lance, Naturalist, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.
Fall Color Report | October 11, 2011. Thanks to the recent streak of sunny days and cool nights, upper elevations of Chimney Rock have started to brighten with color more than a week earlier than anticipated. The sourwoods are the most brilliant now with a vibrant red! Other reds are appearing in the red maples, black gum (or tupelo) trees and Virginia creepers. Yellows are bursting onto the Park’s fall spectrum as well! Poison ivy, tulip poplar and hickory trees are starting to brighten, and the Fraser magnolia trees are taking on a greenish-yellow. Birch, walnut and basswood leaves are also just starting to turn. Meanwhile, fall wildflowers are blooming now, including the Pink Turtlehead, Golden Aster, White Wood Aster and Late Purple Aster, Snakeroot and Goldenrod.
Peak colors can be expected for several weeks starting in mid-October due to the range in elevation from 2,500 to 1,100 feet and a large variety of deciduous trees in the Hickory Nut Gorge. As the higher elevations, such as the Chimney level, continue to explode with stunning color, leaves in the lower elevations will likely peak in the next couple weeks. See the Chimney Rock’s current leaf colors in our photo gallery.
Catching Colors at Their Peak
Fall in the mountains rewards leaf peepers with brilliant displays of leaf color, and Chimney Rock shows the full spectrum—from deep red and maroon to fiery yellow and orange. When planning a trip during the fall leaf season, be sure to check the Park’s weekly fall color updates online at chimneyrockpark.com. Chimney Rock offers countless ways for leaf peepers to view the beautiful autumn foliage. Below are six of the Park’s favorite outings that will reward guests with an eyeful of stunning fall color:
Get an Expert Guide
Head Off the Beaten Path and take a guided Fall Color Ridge Hike with Park Naturalist Ron Lance on Saturday, October 15 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. This is Park's most scenic guided hike of the entire year.
View striking fall colors from the end of a rope high above the Gorge. Sign up for a rock climbing adventure with Fox Mountain Guides, and bring your friends to save money with a group rate.
No prior experience is necessary. Two-hour, half- and full-day clinics are available.
In addition to autumn color, fall brings a variety of bird calls from migrating birds heard throughout the Park. Join world-traveled expert Simon Thompson for a guided Southbound Migration bird walk on Saturday, October 23 from 9 a.m.-noon.
Take a Hike
Soak up 75-mile panoramic views on top of the Chimney. Elevations in 14-mile-long Hickory Nut Gorge range from 1,100 feet on the valley floor to more than 2,500 feet on the mountain peaks. This is the most dramatic and popular way to get your fall color fix! Remember, the elevator is out of service for a modernization until April 2012, so be prepared for the 25-minute hike up stairs.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant leaf colors by hiking along the Hickory Nut Falls trail. Study the diverse range of leaf colors from oak and hickory to red maple and enjoy gazing at the 404-ft. waterfall—the 2nd highest on the east coast—at the trail's end.
Capture Colors on Camera
Shutterbugs looking for expert tips and tricks to frame fall colors should attend the two-day Shutterbugs Nature Photography Workshop at the Park on October 29-30, 2011, from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Award-winning WNC photographer Jeff Miller’s work has been featured in many regional, state and national publications. For details and to register, visit chimneyrockpark.com/events.
Park admission is $12/adult, $5/youth ages 6-15 and free for 5 years and under. Guided hikes, rock climbing and workshops cost extra. For more information on fall color, scenic drives and events throughout Western North Carolina, visit fallinthemountains.com.
Chimney Rock in the Spotlight. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, an iconic Southeast travel destination, is home to soaring rock cliffs, a stunning diversity of colorful deciduous trees and rare species of animal and plant life. Chimney Rock has been named “One of the Best Places to Stand in NC” by the Charlotte Observer. Its rugged natural beauty was in the spotlight in the 1992 epic romantic adventure The Last of the Mohicans starring Daniel Day-Lewis, and Dirty Dancing was filmed just a mile east at Lake Lure.
Fall Flavors. After a cool day of leaf peeping, satisfy your appetite at the Old Rock Café in Chimney Rock Village with a hot bowl of award-winning chili and a grilled sandwich. New soups are offered weekly. The Café is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends through November 6. Call for weekly specials at 828-625-2329 or view our menu online.
About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, and the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern United States. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com. More information on current Capital Improvement projects at chimneyrockpark.com/progress or by calling 800-277-9611.Read the full article
Read more articles in:News