1. Leaves begin to change on the highest ridgelines and progress down into the valleys and foothills. Some of the highest peaks in the Appalachian Mountain Chain are found in Western North Carolina - Richland Balsam (elevation 6,410 feet), Grandfather Mountain (5,938 feet), and Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet). The color season typically lasts from late September until early November (or longer) depending upon the weather conditions - rain, frost/freeze, wind. The leaves in the Upstate of South Carolina are just beginning to hit their stride in early November when we typically wrap up the Fall Foliage Primer. If you're planning a leaf-looking tour later in the season, check out the reports from Greenville.
2. Some trees can display more than one color leaf. Sugar maples may have red leaves where they have the greatest exposure to the sun and yellow leaves underneath; white oaks can display reddish orange leaves as well as soft brown leaves.
3. Weather can change quickly at any time of year in the mountains. Be sure to bring a jacket and layer your clothing while out leaf looking. If you are hiking, be sure to let someone know where you are and when you expect to be back.
4. Plan ahead. If you make a trip to the mountains for the fall foliage “show,” be sure to book your accommodations before leaving home.
5. Check the Mast Store’s leaf update page for the color’s progression. This page will be updated at least once weekly - usually on Wednesdays.
Below is a key to help you in identifying the leaves you are seeing by their color. Click here for a downloadable guide to carry with you.