As you plan your fall mountain getaway, your window of opportunity is larger than you think. The peak leaf color season lasts from early October to mid-November depending on where you are. No matter what week of leaf season you arrive, peak fall color is somewhere close by.
The western North Carolina mountains provide a variety of elevations, from the highest peaks to the warm, gently rolling foothills. The chances to witness spectacular fall color and beautiful mountain vistas are plentiful in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
One of the most popular destinations for leaf lookers is to venture to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, located approximately 15 miles from Hendersonville.
Autumn is a favored time to visit the Hendersonville area. On display are brilliant reds and golds of hickory, oak, silver and red maple, dogwood, beech, yellow poplar, scarlet red blackgum, sourwood and orange sassafras all set against the deep green of evergreens.
The leaves change color when the food producing chlorophyll in the leaves dies, as the days grow shorter and the temperature drops. The many hiking trails also display colorful fall flowers such as: black-eyed Susan’s, asters, Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, wild sunflowers and virgin's bower. Mountain hiking ranges from easy flat walks to strenuous trails for the more experienced hiker.
The colors are usually at their peak around mid-to- late October. Remember that colors do not disappear after their peak, but become muted with age; the reds turn to rust and yellows into gold.
Henderson County apples growers are harvesting a good crop of apples despite an Easter freeze during the blooming season. The North Carolina apple harvest season is celebrated from early September through mid-October.
North Carolina is the seventh-largest apple-producing state in the nation and Henderson County is the largest apple-producing county in North Carolina. The most widely grown apples are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Galas.
In addition, a number of other varieties are harvested. Fresh apples, pumpkins, cider, produce and many other items may be purchased at one of the many roadside apple markets or produce stands located throughout Henderson County. Some orchards offer tours and allow you to pick your own apples.
A great way to explore the breathtaking views of fall is on scenic drives and mountain hiking. Fall foliage outings include self-guided driving tours, mountain views, apple orchards, country roads, local attractions, waterfalls, colorful hiking trails and fall wildflowers.
Tour maps are available at the Visitor Center at 201 S. Main St. in Hendersonville, or online at www.visithendersonvillenc.org.
For more information on the area, calendar event information and the apple harvest or to track the progress of the fall colors, call 828-693.9708 or go to the website listed above.