Closed till Sep 2023

Welcome to Parkway Colors!

We take the guess work out of timing a fall trip or cruise along the parkway to see the color change. Updated every 3 - 4 days with locations that have the best color, you can now time your trip with certainty. We focus on the Southern section of the Parkway, from Asheville down to the Smokies (MP 393 - 469). 

How this Works

In simple blog format, we post notable color updates (video/pictures) from latest to oldest. We are not able to cover all 75 miles of the Southern section, but we highlight locations with a mile post (MP) and a google map directions. Subscribe here for newsletter updates. 

Last Update for 2022 Season:

I want to start out and say thank you to everyone who has followed along this color season. It was our inaugural season and I had a blast spending time with my family covering the color updates along the Southern Section of the Parkway. 

I have many ideas on how to improve the experience for the 2023 Color Season but I carry my own set of blinders and welcome any suggestions or improvements. Simply email me at lywswnc@gmail.com to share your ideas.

It has been a banner season for color and although the mid elevations fell behind the valleys and ridgelines, this second peak of color we are currently experiencing is stunning, especially the oaks. From Cherokee to Asheville, the Parkway is bare and past peak above 3500', essentially bringing our service to an end. Peak colors will linger along the valley floors through this upcoming weekend; several days past our 10/25 call date. 

As this season ends, a new season begins for us at Local Yokel Weather, snowmaking. We offer on site snowmaking or we'll deliver snow by the volume, as snowmen, or just a bunch of snowballs! Be sure to visit our snowmaking webpage for more details. Snowmaking runs till mid April. 

Thank you again for the chance to highlight the best of our region. Enjoy the remainder of 2022; we'll come out of hibernation around mid September 2023.

Regionwide Color Map
  1. Map below marks each location that has color worth seeing.
  2. Color denotes color stage: yellow >> orange >> red
  3. Below the map is footage for each location with a description.
  4. Map is updated weekly to remove past peak colors. 
Specific Locations

Peak color expected by 10/15 - 10/17

Fork Ridge Overlook
10/4/22 @ 5301' (MP 449)
Setting sun provides a boost to the current yellows. We recommend a sunset visit or picnic/short hike. 
Cowee Mountain Overlook
10/4/22 @ 5950' (MP 430)
One of the most popular overlooks on the Parkway, with a stunning view and a perfect viewpoint for a sunset.
Hwy 215 (upper section)
10/7/22 @ 5050'
PEAK color underway! Likely to move past peak by 10/13.
Slow down as you head down Hwy 215 to catch this view.

Peak color expected by 10/15 - 10/17

Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook 10/7/22 @ 5293' (MP 436.9)
Safely walk up the road after parking at Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook to see this view of Steestachee Bald. 

Peak color for entire hillside expected by 10/14

View of Sam Knob (6050') from Hwy 215 (upper)
You'll need to pull off a quarter mile ahead and walk to this view.

Peak color underway as of 10/7

Looking over Beartrap Ridge
MP 429.5 @ 5769'
You'll have to safely pullover and walk a short distance to see this view. 

Peak color down to lower elevations expected by 10/18

Fork Ridge Overlook
10/8/22 @ 5301' (MP 449)
Peak color at the overlook and above to Waterrock Knob Visit Center.

Peak color only above 5100', past peak likely by 10/15

Lickstone Ridge
10/3/22 @ 6380' (MP 430.4)
Park at overlook and walk safely across the road to see this view. 

Peak color expected by 10/8 - 10/11

Hwy 215 (upper section)
10/3/22 @ 4500'
You'll need to pull off a quarter mile ahead and walk to this view.

Peak color expected by 10/6 - 10/9

Top of Graveyard Fields
10/2/22 @ 5890' (MP 420)
Park at one of the three pullovers as you approach the top of the road and this view will be to your right. 

Peak color underway (10/3) to the left, moderate color to the right.

Black Balsam Knob
9/30/22 @ 6201' (MP 420)
Drive up Black Balsam Road, park and hike the Art Loeb for 20 minutes to see this view. Get there early (before 10am), parking fills up fast.

Video by Jared Hartman, shared with permission

Scott Creek Overlook
9/29/22 @ 5075' (MP 448.5)
From right to left, Browning Knob, Waterrock Knob, and Yellow Face. 
Fork Ridge Overlook
9/29/22 @ 5301' (MP 449)
One of my favorite spots for a tailgate picnic or short hike below Browning Knob. 
9.27.22.jpg
Haywood/Jackson Overlook
9/27/22
MP 431 (6020') 
Ample parking at this location, one of the highest overlooks @ 6020'. This view can be found near the picnic table.

Spend some time on a short hike among Spruce Firs (smells like Christmas) on hop on the Richland Balsam trail, found at the this overlook.

should turn to peak color by 10/7 - 10/9

Spruce Ridge
9/27/22 @ 5500' (MP 432.7)
pull into Lone Bald Overlook, walk safely across road to find this viewpoint
Mt Lyn Lowry Overlook 10/9/22 @ 4000' (MP 445)
Past peak on top, but high color has taken over and is working down towards the cove. 

Majority peak color is expected by 10/15

Lake Logan
10/12/22 @ 3000'
This color change was taken five days apart. Peak color is roughly 3 - 5 days away!

Majority peak color is expected by 10/16

should turn to moderate color by 10/3 - 10/6

Fork Ridge Overlook
9/25/22 @ 5280' (MP 449)
A great spot for a picnic with enough grass to stretch your legs or a tailgate. Sheltered from wind as well. 

should turn to moderate color by 10/3 - 10/6

Near Rough Butt Bald 10/12/22 @ 5300' (MP 424)
Peak color down to 4000'. Past peak observed above overlook.

Past peak expected by 10/20

Top of Graveyard Fields
9/22/22 @ 5890' (MP 420)
Park at one of the three pullovers as you approach the top of the road and this view will be to your right. 
Below Black Balsam Knob 10/15/22 @ 5221'
Still gorgeous, but bare trees across the Black Balsam Knob to Grassy Ridge Top peaks

Past Peak as of 10/14

should turn to moderate - peak by 10/2