Fall has arrived! There has been an unmistakable crispness in the air as the season moved in, and today is the official start of autumn.

According to forecasters, this year’s foliage displays will be spectacular. Kathy Matthews, an associate professor of biology at Western Carolina University, specializes in plants systematics and makes annual predictions about regional fall color. Recently she was quoted in the Asheville Cirizen-Times, saying, “This fall could be one of the best leaf seasons in Western North Carolina in recent memory. Three words explain it ~ unusually dry weather.”

We’re so excited!

There isn’t much widespread color in the area just yet, but as usual, you can expect the most consistent color at highest elevations first. Grandfather Mountain features some of the top elevations in the High Country, and has already begun daily photos. Take a peek at their page to see how the first days of the season are progressing there: http://www.grandfather.com/plan-your-visit/events/fall-color-gallery/

As for elevations around Blowing Rock, we are seeing some early-bird trees getting started. Most trees are still green, but are showing the burnished edges of fall color. This first image, from Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, is a good example of the state of autumn foliage in the area. Most of the trees have yet to show vibrant color, but you can see a warm blush starting on the higher slopes of Grandfather Mountain in the background of this image.

Price Lake Sept 23 web- 2015

Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway – September 23 2015
Elevation 3410 feet

Some trees are getting started early, and they create eye-catching pops against the green. In addition to tree foliage, look for blazing leaves on shrubs, bright berries, blushing grasses, nodding flowers and seed heads, and more. For example, the third photo below features a beautiful rowan (also known as mountain ash) tree with crimson berries among the still-verdant foliage. Click on any photo to see the full size version.

Early fall color in Blowing Rock 2015

Along Main Street in Blowing Rock

Early fall color at Price Lake 2015

Stand of trees at Price Lake


Early fall color in Blowing Rock 2015

Along Main Street in Blowing Rock

Look for our Daily Fall Photos to begin next week!