High hopes for fall leaf season in mountains

by: Dave Faherty Updated:


Along the Blue Ridge Parkway Mike Kennedy and his wife took in the views even if they could catch only a glimpse of a hint of fall in the trees. But despite seeing mostly green across the mountainside has high hopes for the fall leaf season after the heavy rains this summer.

"I thinking once the cold weather hits it will be spectacular," Kennedy said.

Channel 9 went to the top of Grandfather Mountain to find out.

"Right below us you can see some of the colors starting to pop. Some of the maples are starting to turn a little bit," Jesse Pope, director of education and natural resources at Grandfather Mountain, said.

Pope expects to see some color by next weekend above 5,000 feet. Here in Avery County it was one of the wettest summers on record with 29 inches of rain in the month of July alone. But as we found out today, all that rain in July shouldn't have a big impact on the leaves. It is what Mother Nature is doing now that matters.

"We need sunny days and cool nights and the sunny days allow the last bit of photosynthesis to take place and the concentration of chemicals in the leaves to take place and with that I think it will be a good fall," Pope said.

In towns like Blowing Rock, a good fall leaf season matters where some hotels count on being booked up for the October weekends. The best advice is to call ahead.

"I do know the impact is huge for us and it is definitely worth seeing. The colors up here are gorgeous. The ride on the Parkway," said Rob Dyer with the Inn at Ragged Gardens.

The folks Channel 9 spoke with said there really isn't a peak day -- it is based on the elevation. Early in the season you may look up a mountainside and then later in the fall down into a valley to see the fall colors.