BLOWING ROCK, N.C. -- Leaves up in the high country are still mostly green now, but some colors are slowly popping up.

  • Different areas will see the leaves change at different times
  • Temperatures will determine when the leaves change
  • The mountain areas see the longest fall color season

It’s a transition that brings people to the Blue Ridge Parkway from all over.

"It looks almost like a rainbow of warm colors," Darlene Azarmi from Lincolnton said.

Dr. Howard Neufeld, a biology professor at Appalachian State, says the red pigment is protecting the leaves. While you may see some colors popping up, he says we have a long way to go as different colors turn at different times.

"We have the longest fall color season of anywhere in the country," he said. "The maples, cherry and sourwoods will start turning end of September in higher elevations."

Areas like Grandfather Mountain, because of its higher elevations, could see dark purple colors first.

"The peak in that will be somewhere starting at the end of the first week in October through the 15th," he said.

In places like Blowing Rock, it will take a little longer for those leaves to change.

"I would say the 10th of October to the 20th," Neufeld said. "Each week the colors move down slope."

The same could happen for areas like Asheville about 10 days later. He says those days can fluctuate back and forth by four days if September is warm.

If you plan to go to the mountains this fall season, keep an eye on next month’s temperatures.

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