What’s new with the hue in Asheville, North Carolina? As the heat settles and cooler days prevail, Asheville’s tree top color schemes will be bountiful this fall. The Blue Ridge Mountains have long been home to leaf-peeping aficionados and vacationers eager to witness the change of leaves. With sweeping mountain views and panoramic cityscapes, Asheville wears her palette proudly during the autumn season. This means six weeks of pigmented leaves waving a warm welcome to admiring onlookers. Local experts say the elements are coming together for a strong fall color season that could extend well into November. Because there is such a wide variety of elevations near town, the Asheville area enjoys one of the longest and most vibrant fall color seasons in the nation.
As color begins burgeoning throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is clear why Asheville is a staple for leaf peepers seeking captivating scenes. Dogwoods, maples, and sourwoods show tints of scarlet, rust, coral, and gleaming gilt. How is Asheville’s fall color shaping up this year? Experts provide greater insights on how the shades will progress this season.
2022 Asheville Fall Forecast: From the Experts
According to the “Fall Color Guy” and professor of physiological plant ecology at Appalachian State University, Howard Neufeld, Ph.D., “The trees look particularly lush and full of leaves this year. The month of September is the most crucial for determining the timing, and to some extent, the quality of our fall color display.”
Dr. Neufeld also shared:
- Precipitation Predictions: While September began with above-normal precipitation in the region, October is expected to be below normal for the southern Appalachians, which bodes well for our fall color display.
- Peak Display Days: In a normal year, we expect peak fall color displays in Asheville around Oct. 20 – 31, with leaves in the surrounding region turning first at higher elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway and at Mount Mitchell, and then colors work their way downward each week. Color can begin as early as late September in elevations above 4,500′ and last through the end of November below 1,000′ in elevation.
- Warm Weather Extension: With the general expectation of warmer temperatures this fall, colors may be delayed a few days to a week. This will flex the fall season slightly and may cause colors to begin later in September and extend well into November, depending on just how above normal the temperatures reach.
“With that expectation of warming, I’d say colors may be delayed a few days to a week, depending on just how above normal the temperatures are going into October,” added Dr. Neufeld.
Top Ways to Enjoy Fall in Asheville
Travelers can soak in the colors of fall foliage with a variety of hikes and day trips that bring them closer to nature:
- The iconic trails of the Asheville area can be explored during any season but many of these trails offer a truly special experience in the fall. These top fall hikes near Asheville include the best trails to enjoy each week. Biltmore Estate Trails, for example, offer 22 miles of hiking trails with striking views, including to the Lagoon for picnicking. Biltmore gardeners will soon begin planting fall floral designs in display beds highlighted by a dazzling array of chrysanthemums.
- Mount Pisgah and Mount Mitchell, both accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, are excellent stops for high elevation color in early fall.
- Hitting a route through Weaverville offers a great stop-over in this Main Street town with excellent breweries and a cute mountain vibe. Plus, it provides easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway where visitors can take a hike on the Craggy Pinnacle trail, which offers stunning panoramic views of fall’s glory.
What’s New in Asheville in Fall 2022
Asheville can only be described as quintessentially scenic during the fall, and there are plenty of new experiences in and around the city to enjoy this season:
New Restaurants and Breweries
- Look out for recently opened restaurants like Neng Jr’s, the first Filipinx restaurant in Asheville from non-binary chef Silver Iocovozzi; Gemelli, an Italian coffee shop by day turned wine bar at night is complimented with Sicilian pizzas, antipasti and more; and Dilbar, an Indian street food eatery and sister restaurant of Mehfil.
- A trip to the River Arts District in Asheville will reveal Guajiro, a new spot outside Asheville Cotton Mill Studios with Cuban comfort food just like “abuela” (grandma) makes it.
- Two beloved Asheville spots are also set to reopen this fall: Ole Shakey’s dive bar will reopen at its new downtown location (38 N. French Broad Ave.) early September and Cultura will reopen its doors in the South Slope on September 29 with various dining options offered Thursday through Sunday.
- Check out the newest food truck in Asheville: the Tahini Jar. Inspired by Middle Eastern foods, its plant-based cuisine is perfect for any foodie looking for a new experience.
- Visitors looking for a new sweet treat can take a trip to the recently opened Mary’s Mountain Cookies shop in downtown. Mary’s specializes in gigantic cookies, brownies and ice cream sandwiches, which makes for a perfect companion for a day exploring Asheville’s fall colors.
- When in the mood for a little trip while in the city, travelers can take a short drive to Black Mountain, a scenic small town with artsy energy and a surprising food scene. Visitors can’t miss Foothills Grange, the newest concept from Foothills Meats as it celebrates 20 years as a hyperlocal butcher. Its large outdoor space features picnic tables, a large patio, kids play area and a permanent food truck.
- James Beard finalist and Top Chef star Ashleigh Shanti is slated to open Good Hot Fish, a fish camp style restaurant based on her popular pop-up of the same name, later in the season.
- Asheville, aka Beer City USA, is adding another brewery to the mix with the opening of 7 Clans Brewing. This majority female, indigenous-owned company opened just in time for fall and is located in South Asheville right outside of Biltmore Village.
New Tours, Arts and Experiences
- Asheville’s local experts share the inside scoop with these new tours: The North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum has partnered with Asheville Free Walking Tours to create a new walking tour that explores the history of craft beverages in Asheville and includes tastings of donuts, gin and honey from local businesses from downtown to the River Arts District. Mountain Mural Tours is an energetic way to get into the eclectic art and culture scene of Asheville. Asheville’s big purple bus, LaZoom, has expanded its spooky tours with “Lil Boogers: Halloweenies Tour” – a one hour history comedy ride offered every Saturday in October featuring ghoulish figures that are appropriate for the whole family.
- Check out the new murals on display throughout Asheville’s South Slope district from the Indigenous Walls Project, a grassroots organization that aims to amplify indigenous voices and enhance awareness of the diversity of indigenous people through provoking murals. Also released this fall is a collaboration ice cream between the Indigenous Walls Projects and The Hop called – ᎧᏄᎦᎸ, pronounced “kan-u-ga-lv”, which translates to blackberry. This specialty flavor contains wild blackberry and frosted mint foraged from the Qualla Boundary.
- Tyger Tyger is a “must-see” art gallery when in Asheville. The woman-owned and led space recently opened in the River Arts District and displays local, regional, national and international marginalized artists.
- Travelers can kick back and relax amongst the trees with Shoji Spa & Retreat’s new Treetop Package, which includes three hours of relaxation and detoxification involving its private far-infrared sauna and Senjo salt scrub.
- One way to get into the fall-iday spirit is a stay at the newly opened Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabins in West Asheville. Tapped as an “urban campground” experience, these cabins are located right on the French Broad River and offer a wealth of opportunities to unplug and connect with the outdoors, including stand up paddleboarding, biking, kayaking and climbing next door at Cultivate Climbing. Those looking to give back can also check out its voluntourism opportunities.
For more information on travel to the Asheville area this season, including weekly color reports, a fall foliage tracking map, autumn adventure ideas, and to meet Asheville’s Fall Color Hunters, visit ExploreAsheville.com.