(Photo courtesy James Leithart) When it comes to enjoying the beauty of fall’s vibrant colors, nothing beats a leisurely road trip through the mountains of Western North Carolina. The crisp, cool air, scenic views and peaceful serenity allow visitors to take in what many say is their favorite time of year. One of the best routes to explore the area’s brilliant autumnal hues is along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Jackson County. Created in 1936 with the final 7.7-mile stretch completed in 1987, the Blue Ridge Parkway was constructed to link the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today, the road covers 469 miles, stretching from Virginia to North Carolina. More than 40 miles traverse our county, including the highest section of the entire Parkway. As a result, the area attracts leaf lookers each year who come to take in the rich colors of autumn in the mountains. 2018’s rainy summer will bring out warm hazel tones, siennas and golden yellows throughout Jackson County beginning in September. Dr. Beverly Collins, biology professor at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, is predicting peak color around the fourth week of October and expects color to extend through early November. Unlike portions of the Parkway farther north in the state, the section here is generally much less congested, making it more enjoyable to explore. Plus, because the Parkway speed limit is just 45 mph, with some areas seeing even lower limits, it’s easy to cruise along leisurely while taking in theContinue Reading
It’s officially fall, and the hunt for stunning foliage is in full swing. Jackson County in Western North Carolina is a prime viewing destination for those who make the trip during the upcoming peak colors of autumn. With the majestic mountains as a picturesque backdrop, travelers on the move for the best seasonal displays will find the fall colors of their leaf-seeking dreams in Jackson County throughout the next month. Check out the below fall leaf report to plan the perfect trip to catch the colors at their best. Fall 2017 Leaf Report from Beverly Collins, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Biology at Western Carolina University Right now, the earliest species are turning, including: sourwood (red); tulip poplar (yellow and brown); black walnut (yellow), black gum (orange, red). Keep in mind that the timing of color change and peak color varies with elevation. For visitors making a trip to the area soon, the highest elevations in Jackson County could reach peak color as early as the first week in October, or early in the second week. For visitors planning a trip later in the season, the lower elevation likely won’t reach peak (except in spots with ”early” species) until the third week in October. The Top Five Places for a Unique Leaf-Viewing Experience in Jackson County Shadow of the Bear Jackson County is the only place in the country to see the fall phenomena known as the “Shadow of the Bear.” From mid-October to mid-November, when the sun setsContinue Reading
Visitors to the mountain towns of Jackson County, NC. are getting revved up for the fall season! October is right around the corner, and the county is gearing up for two spectacular displays of classic cars. The annual Cruise-In at Sylva Plaza will take place Sunday, Oct. 1, and closing out the fall car season will be the Spirit of the Smokies Car Show, set for Saturday, Oct. 28, in Dillsboro.