High Country Association of REALTORS News

The peak leaf weekend is here

Residents of the High Country have a front row seat daily to the beauty of the Fall transition. For everyone down in the flatlands, the last chance to see the show at its best is this weekend. Come one, come all, come now, and come hike, says the Winston-Salem Journal.

To best experience autumn, head to the mountains. This year, that meant driving up to Ashe County, where shamefully, I have spent little time, save a quick trip to see Ben Long's frescoes at St. Mary's Episcopal Church.

Mount Jefferson is one of those natural gems where the purpose is to simply "Be" rather than trek. At less than 800 acres, the area is a pocket of wilderness compared to, say, Stone Mountain State Park, which boasts more than 13,000 acres.

As such, the trail offerings at Mount Jefferson are miniscule, with just three trails, none of which is more than 1.1 miles. But these hikes pack a wallop of beauty.


The photo above is from the Grandfather Mountain twitter feed. For those looking to view from a more stationary, or less exerting position, the Jefferson Post lists a few places to explore.


Mathews said the peak in western North Carolina has passed above 4,000 feet, and is probably somewhere around 3,500 at press time Wednesday afternoon; West Jefferson sits at roughly 3,200 feet above sea level.

Great places to take advantage of this weekend’s spectacular autumn show include anywhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, and Grandfather Mountain State Park.

Another interesting vantage point includes the Globe Road, a rutted dirt road that splits off Main Street in Blowing Rock, and leads into the John’s River Gorge area of the Pisgah National Forest. Elevation drops off steeply heading into Caldwell County and motorists have a front row seat to brilliant fall colors on top of the mountain, trees that are still green at the bottom, and everything in between.