Wildwater’s Guide to 2022 Peak Fall Foliage in the Southeast

Lysianne PeacockUncategorized

Wildwater’s Guide to 2022 Peak Fall Foliage in the Southeast

According to the National Park Service, over 2 million people visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park and over 4 million people visited the Blue Ridge Parkway in September and October 2021. With elevations ranging from 1,000-6,000+ feet, the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains offer one of the most colorful and longest running fall foliage seasons in the world. With a six-week span of fall color that slowly descends from the tallest mountains to the lowest valleys, it is no wonder people flock to the Southeast to experience the brilliant show the leaves put on every fall. To help you plan your Southeastern autumn adventure, we have put together a guide to estimated peak foliage times and the best places to see the fall colors. 

2022 Estimated Peak Foliage Color Timeline

Vibrant Blue Ridge mountains in the fall

September 25-October 2

Spotty, muted colors begin to appear at 6,000+ feet in the highest mountains and on rocky ridges including Rough Ridge and Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Colors are still mostly green at this time.

October 2-9

In the first week of October, peak fall colors appear above 5,000 feet. Fall foliage can be viewed at higher elevations on the Blue Ridge Parkway and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This includes Clingmans Dome, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Waterrock Knob, and Graveyard Fields.

October 9-16

The second week of October is peak time for elevations between 4,000 and 5,000 feet. This includes almost all of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the majority of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Boone and Blowing Rock, NC areas.

October 16-23

Peak colors for lower elevations between 3,000 and 4,000 feet appear in the third week of October. Places to visit include Pisgah National Forest, Linville Gorge, Nantahala Gorge, Maggie Valley, and Cataloochee Valley.

October 23-30

For elevations from 2,000 and 3,000 feet, peak time is the fourth week of October. Areas include the cities of Asheville, Brevard, Waynesville, and Cherokee, NC. Make sure to visit Dupont State Forest, Cades Cove, and the Biltmore Estate. In northern Georgia, fall foliage at this time can be best viewed on the Russell Brasstown Scenic Byway.

October 30-November 6

The first week in November is peak time for remaining elevations including Gatlinburg, TN, Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, NC, and Helen, GA.

Experience Peak Fall Color By Taking a Canopy Tour

The best way to see fall foliage in all its vibrant glory is by taking a canopy tour with Wildwater. Wildwater offers five full zipline canopy tours that run from tree to tree with ziplines, bridges poles, man-made towers, and other elements. To experience fall in the best and most exciting way, book your canopy tour today!