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Cornelius News

Fall color: When and where to find the brightest reds, yellows and oranges

The color of  leaves is related to weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll is dwindling.

Sept. 26. North Carolinians can expect to see the usual orange, yellow and red on trees as they visit leaf-peeping destinations this fall, according to one NC State forestry expert.

“I think we’ll see leaves peak at about the same time as they have in recent years,” said Bob Bardon, a professor of forestry and environmental resources and the associate dean of extension at the College of Natural Resources.

Some parts of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions are experiencing mild drought, which can cause leaves to die before they reach peak color, according to NC State University College of Natural Resources News. But an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season could alleviate these conditions.

Here’s a guide to when and where to catch the best color:

Oct. 2 – 9

The highest areas of the Appalachian Mountains, including Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell, at 4,500 feet and above, are the first to welcome the vibrant fall colors in the first weeks of October.

Also included are the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Oct. 9 – 16

Peak time for elevations from 4,000 – 5,000 feet  including almost all Blue Ridge Parkway locations and the majority of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well.  Included in this elevation are Boone and Blowing Rock.

Oct. 16 – 23 

Peak time for lower elevations, from 3,000 – 4,000 feet: Pisgah National Forest.

Oct. 23 – 30

Peak time for elevations from 2,000 feet – 3,000 feet:  Asheville and Dupont State Forest.

Oct. 30 – Nov. 6

Peak time for remaining elevations,  Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure  and other lower elevation mountains.