Plan Your Visit to Chimney Rock Park
hikers enjoying the view from atop Chimney Rock in North Carolina

In Their Words

I had a wonderful time hiking, camp firing and laying under the stars and moon in such a miraculous meadow...when daybreak started it was a soul touching eruption of the morning's sun.

2013 Fall Color at Chimney Rock

The Blue Ridge Mountains feature one of most vibrant and longest fall color displays in America, attracting visitors from around the world. Chimney Rock and Lake Lure have a large variety of colorful tree species and an elevation ranging from 1,100 to 2,500 feet, and these conditions create a long window for optimal viewing. Peak colors typically arrive at the Park’s higher elevations around late-October and spread down to the lower elevations through early November (photo right). See current fall color and wildflowers in our online photo gallery.

November 6, 2013 – Peak Colors Are Awesome
Leaf colors exploded at Chimney Rock last week, surrounding us in brilliant golds, reds and oranges! Peak leaf colors arrived late last week, and our mountains should remain colorful into mid-November if the weather remains calm. The maples are stunning this year, and the red oaks are just now living up to their name. Magnolia trees add a rich chocolate brown to the layers of color. Leaf peepers can find beautiful autumn foliage along the Park’s four scenic trails, cruising the road or rock climbing with Fox Mountain Guides this Saturday at Climbin’ the Chimney, 11am-3pm. Colors are awesome around Lake Lure now, making the 75-mile panoramic views from atop the Chimney even more breathtaking.


October 30, 2013 – Fall Colors Are Gorgeous Now

Leaf colors have exploded at Chimney Rock in the past few days! The maples are most impressive with bright yellows, reds and some oranges. The sassafras trees are turning orange, and the red oaks are just starting. Leaf peepers’ best views are from the Chimney and along the Skyline trail to Exclamation Point. There’s great color along the Park road and on the mountain peaks in Hickory Nut Gorge, with autumn foliage peaking over the next 7-10 days. For up-to-date fall photos, follow our Facebook page.


October 23, 2013 – A Beautiful Fall Drive to Chimney Rock

A golden yellow glow brightens the roads leading to Chimney Rock and the drive to the base of the Chimney. Hickories are showing golds and yellows and most sourwoods are still a vibrant maroon. Hiking from the Chimney to Exclamation Point should offer the best leaf peeping in the Park with pretty views of the 2,500 foot peaks still turning throughout Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. A cold snap in the next few days should help make the colors pop. The gorge’s highest elevations could near their peak within the next week or so.


October 16, 2013 – Autumn colors are arriving!
Fall color is spreading daily through the Park’s higher and middle elevations and at Rumbling Bald Access. While there’s still a lot of green, bursts of yellow are appearing in the Chestnut Oaks, hickories and locust trees, and especially the ash trees near the Chimney. The dogwoods remain a vibrant maroon with splashes of red in the sourwoods. With more cool nights and some sun, autumn colors could be good in the highest elevations by early next week. Some autumn wildflowers are still blooming, including many asters and some snakeroot.


October 10, 2013 - Abundant Wildflowers & More Colors on the Horizon
Many colorful fall wildflowers are still in bloom at Chimney Rock State Park! You’ll see goldenrod, Wingstem and a variety of asters (especially the purple species) near the Chimney level and above on the Skyline trail. Fall colors are speckling the higher elevations and at the Rumbling Bald Access, with bright purples in the dogwood trees, more reds in the sourwoods and muted yellows from the poplars. A few maples are starting to turn. The 10-day forecast shows cool nights and some sunny days ahead, which should add a healthy dose of color to our leaves.

October 3, 2013 - Fall Wildflowers in Bloom
Early leaf colors are starting to show on the higher-elevation roads leading to Chimney Rock State Park and are sprinkled on the ridges and upper trails in the Park. Splashes of red are appearing in the dogwood and sourwood trees, along with yellows in the poplars. This is a very good wildflower season for goldenrod, snakeroot, Wingstem and a variety of asters. Brown-eyed Susans and sunflowers are also blooming, with some Pink Turtlehead remaining.


A Local Favorite
Chimney Rock was voted the “best beautiful fall foliage spot” by readers of Blue Ridge Country in the 2013 Best of the Mountains poll, along with a gold award for “best scenic photo opportunity.”
See our top list of fun, adventurous ways to view fall colors in Chimney Rock.

Fall Color in the Mountains
Species diversity in the Blue Ridge Mountains is vast and produces a kaleidoscope of vibrant fall colors. In Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Gorge specifically, the large variety of hickory trees display beautiful yellows and golds. Dogwoods and sourwoods brighten up the understory with their vibrant reds, and the mountain magnolias produce a shiny chocolate brown. Intermixed with the oaks, sliverbells, locust and dozens of other tree species, the Gorge is a stunning place to see fall leaf colors. 

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