Five spots in NC you won’t want to miss out on before peak fall foliage season comes to an end.
Fall in North Carolina is a beautiful time. The air is crisp, the sun is still warm, and the leaves are an ever-changing palette of reds, oranges, and yellows.
While you can admire the changing trees on a highway drive or stroll around the neighborhood, there’s nothing quite like a day trip that ends with a panoramic view and total immersion in the colors of the season.
Here’s a list of 5 places to take in the full beauty of a North Carolina fall.
Linn Cove Viaduct
This seven-mile strip of the Blue Ridge Parkway winds around the face of Grandfather Mountain and is internationally known as an engineering marvel. Completed in 1987, Linn Cove Viaduct construction was delayed for 20 years as architects, environmentalists, and landowners developed a way to preserve the mountain’s habitat.
Now, it is one of the most recognizable sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors can take a leisurely drive across the bridge or stop at one of the several outlooks to enjoy the views of rolling fall-colored hills.
The Mile High Bridge at Grandfather Mountain
Just up the road from the Linn Cove Viaduct is the entrance to Grandfather Mountain, a mountain estimated to be 300 million years old and known for the rock formation that resembles the face of an elderly man.
The Mile High Swinging Bridge is the nation’s highest suspension footbridge and offers visitors 360 views of the trees below and above. You can take the winding drive to the summit parking area, and cross the bridge to access Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak which sits at over 5,000 feet in elevation.
Nantahala National Forest
The Nantahala National Forest offers such stunning views that it is known to have not one, but two peak seasons. Visitors come in the summer to enjoy water activities and warm-weather hiking, and again in the fall to catch breathtaking views of the fall foliage.
Sitting on 8,000 acres of land, the Biltmore Estate gardens and grounds are a sight to behold during the fall. There are six gardens, formal and informal, and trails connecting them to the French Broad River, and woodlands.
The official “Fall at Biltmore” experience lasts from Oct. 1 – Nov. 2, but each ticket includes entry to the gardens where visitors can still enjoy the fall foliage while it lasts.
Hanging Rock State Park
Further to the east is Hanging Rock State Park in the Piedmont. Visitors can hike Hanging Rock State Trail to the quartzite formation the park was named after and enjoy the views below. Those looking for 360-degree views can take the strenuous path to Moore’s Observation Tower, a former fire tower that leaves hikers in awe.
Visitors who prefer to chase waterfalls also have their fair share of trails that lead to the Upper Cascades, Lower Cascades, and Window Falls.
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