An October in Western North Carolina – A Photo Essay

Throughout the month of October, I traveled and hiked the high country of Western North Carolina seeking the seasonal change and corresponding forest color. One of the great things about the mountains is how you can follow the change as it lowers in elevation, starting with the highest peaks and ending in the lowest river valleys.

My brother has been in the process of moving from Colorado to WNC this fall, so we’ve been revisiting some of our favorite trails and overlooks in between searching for a house for him. The first week of October we went to check out the elk at Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park where we saw just the earliest hint of color change in the deciduous trees.

The next week it was off to the land between the wildernesses as we climbed to the dual summits of Sam Knob for the views into Shining Rock Wilderness and Middle Prong Wilderness. The most pronounced color was the bright red of the mountain ash berries, but it was definitely beginning to change in the 5,000 to 6,000 foot range.

The third week of the month found us at Purchase Knob in the Smokies, and hiking along the Cataloochee Divide Trail to The Swag and beyond to Cataloochee Ranch. We were within just a matter of a couple days +/- of hitting the best color along the trail and in the forests that surround this region.

Then, the last week of the month, it was a casual drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to Highway 276. The best color had fallen down to the 3,000 to 4,000 foot range, while the woods above that were beginning to show their brown. Still, and always, one of the best scenic drives in the whole country.

So follow along in the photo gallery below as we pass through the month of October 2019 at some of my favorite places in all of Western North Carolina. Also, please feel free to leave your comments below the gallery. Thanks for viewing!



This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.

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