ASHEVILLE, N.C., Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After a summer of generous rain and sun, fall foliage color this year should be brilliant in western North Carolina. And with a 5,000-foot elevation range near Asheville, the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains have one of the longest-running fall shows in the country. Peak color begins in early October in the highest elevations and ends in the lowest valleys by early November. According to RomanticAsheville.com Vacation Guide, these are the best places for fall views:
1. Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of top scenic drives in the USA. Stop at overlooks, picnic and hike. Best color is the last three weeks of October, varying with elevation. So if you don't immediately see color, keep driving!
2. See the first fall colors from Mt. Mitchell, highest peak in eastern America, with panoramic views from the observation deck.
3. Picnic while soaking in spectacular 360-degree views atop Craggy Pinnacle, accessed by a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike.
4. Visit Graveyard Fields for some of the most brilliant color on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Relax by the waterfall or walk through the highland valley. Nearby, hike mountain balds at Black Balsam Knob for endless views.
5. Capture the most photographed waterfall in North Carolina, Linville Falls. Nearby, see stunning views of Linville Gorge from Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain.
6. Watch elk graze in Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each fall, male elk make their legendary bugling calls.
7. Drive the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway in Pisgah National Forest and stop at Looking Glass Falls.
8. Hike in DuPont State Forest to see three waterfalls, or hike to Cedar Rock for mountain views.
9. Explore the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate by foot, bike, car, river raft, horse or Segway. See colorful fall gardens with thousands of mums.
10. Ride the elevator or hike to the famous Chimney Rock with 75-mile views overlooking Lake Lure. Peak fall color here extends into early November.
For details on these and the weekly fall foliage report for western North Carolina, visit the 500-page free online travel guide at www.romanticasheville.com/fall.htm.
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SOURCE RomanticAsheville.com Vacation Guide