Fall Color in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Roanoke Valley in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains boasts some amazing fall color!

It would be nice if there was a set schedule or formula for predicting the arrival of the fall color in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, but it remains an inexact science.

Because of the changing weather patterns and complex environment factors, forecasters do their best to annually predict the peak fall foliage every year.

It traditionally takes place in the Roanoke Valley from mid-October to early-November.

Typically, the best fall color for Virginia's Blue Ridge occurs when the shortening days are bright, sunny and cool, and they give way to cool nights when the temperature does not get below freezing. The peak fall color also benefits from a generous amount of rainfall leading up to Autumn. 

The proper amount of rainfall keeps the leaves on the trees for an ideal amount of time, meaning they stay on the trees longer, which helps them turn a brighter color. When the Roanoke Valley experiences a wet, mild summer, it often gives way to stunning fall foliage.

One of the best ways to see the fall colors of Virginia's Blue Ridge is by taking a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway has been named "America's Favorite Drive" and is regularly listed by many travel publications as one of the best places to see striking fall color every year.

Because the Blue Ridge Parkway features many changes in elevation, a great idea for seeing a variety of colors is to plan to drive a fair distance on this scenic road. The changing elevations and the north-south direction of the road should present some incredibly colorful views.  

Many different types of trees come to life during the beautiful colors of fall. The following list is a helpful resource that explains the variety of trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains and explains what colors the leaves turn during the fall season.

Types of Trees & Colors

  • Birch: Leaves turn yellow

  • Blackgum: Leaves turn deep red

  • Dogwood: Leaves turn deep red

  • Oaks: Leaves range from russet to maroon

  • Red Maple: Leaves present a range of color from yellow - maroon

  • Sassafras: Leaves turn vivid orange

  • Sourwood: Leaves turn deep red

  • Tuliptree: Leaves turn yellow

Here are few more helpful resources about the fall colors in Virginia:

Virginia Department of Forestry

Virginia Fall Foliage Report - 1-800-424-5683 x1

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color Report - 828-298-0398 x3

Blue Ridge Parkway

Roanoke Region Spotlight

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