Fall Foliage Peak Periods in the Southeast

  • 01 of 09

    Southeast Peak Fall Foliage Guide: Overview

    Fall foliage in North Carolina
    ••• Brilliant fall color along the 11- mile stretch of U.S. 129 known as the Tail of the Dragon. Photo Credit: Bill Russ / VisitNC.com

    Fall foliage usually peaks in various areas of the Southeastern United States from September to November. Mother Nature, however, can be fickle so the following average peak fall foliage periods are approximations, based on the events of past years. The best way to stay informed about up-to-date fall foliage progress for this year is to visit the websites listed for the states you would like to visit.

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  • 02 of 09

    Alabama Peak Fall Color Guide

    Fall in Alabama
    ••• Fall creek scene near Smith Lake in Alabama. Photo Credit: Anne Strickland Fine Art Photography / via Getty Images

    The Southeastern state of sweet Alabama is especially lovely to visit during the fall when bursts of color and a welcome relief from the heat of summer provide a great setting for outdoor enjoyment. According to the Alabama Tourism Department, estimates for peak fall color are in northern Alabama are late October to early November.

    Additional Alabama Fall Foliage Information

    Visit the Alabama Tourism Department Fall Color Trail for information about the best fall foliage spots and fall color updates.

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  • 03 of 09

    Georgia Peak Fall Color Guide

    Road Amidst Trees In Forest
    ••• Daniel Bates/EyeEm/Getty Images

    The most colorful fall foliage in Georgia can be seen in the northern part of the state where you will find the Blue Ridge Mountains, scenic mountain trails, and many state parks. In this part of the state, peak colors occur in late October and early November.

    Additional Georgia Fall Foliage Information

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  • 04 of 09

    Kentucky Peak Fall Color Guide

    Fall at Cumberland Falls - Kentucky
    ••• Fall at Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. Photo Credit: Danita Delimont / via Getty Images

    The first bursts of red, yellow, and gold fall foliage begin to appear in some areas of Kentucky as early as mid-September. According to the Kentucky Department of Travel, color changes appear in the eastern regions of the state first and work toward the west, usually over a period of one to two weeks. The average typical peak time is around mid-October.

    Additional Kentucky Fall Foliage Information

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  • 05 of 09

    North Carolina Peak Fall Color Guide

    Award-Winning Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain
    ••• Award-Winning Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain. Photo Credit: Tim Kiusalaas / via Getty Images

    North Carolina's earliest and most vibrant fall foliage occurs in the beautiful mountains in the western part of the state, although leaf peepers may also enjoy good fall color a little later in the season in many areas of the North Carolina Piedmont. Because of the high elevation of many of the North Carolina mountains, some of the tallest in the eastern United States, the peak fall foliage period in the higher areas usually precedes peak foliage periods in more northerly regions. Based on past averages, the best times to see fall foliage in North Carolina are:

    • Western North Carolina Highest Elevations: Late September to early October
    • Western North Carolina: Early to mid-October
    • Western to Central North Carolina: Mid-October to late October
    • Central North Carolina: Late October to early November

    Additional North Carolina Fall Foliage Information

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  • 06 of 09

    South Carolina Peak Fall Color Guide

    Autumn Leaves and Moss at Goose Creek, South Carolina
    ••• Autumn Leaves and Moss at Goose Creek, South Carolina. Photo Credit: Marc Crumpler / via Getty Images

    The colorful foliage displays in the mountains of South Carolina normally peak later in fall because of the state's warm fall weather. The most brilliant leaf changes usually occur sometime between the end of October and early November, although bursts of color often start in early October. Throughout November, and sometimes extending a bit later, the fall color changes progress across this Southeastern state.

    In addition to the traditional beauty of fall leaf foliage, South Carolina's autumn displays also feature other picturesque sights. Along the coast, the marsh grasses change dramatically from the summer shades of soft greens to shimmering fall hues of gold and amber. Across the interior farm country, fields of bright white cotton bolls create illusions of freshly fallen snow.

    Additional South Carolina Fall Foliage Information

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  • 07 of 09

    Tennessee Peak Fall Color Guide

    Autumn painted views in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    ••• Autumn painted views in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo Credit: Robert C Nunnington / via Getty Images

    Tennessee has many areas to see beautiful fall colors, but many people head to the mountains, especially the Smokies. Typical periods for peak fall foliage in Tennessee are:

    • Northeastern Mountain Regions: Last two weeks of October
    • Color Across Tennessee: Peaks from east to west mid-October to late November

    Additional Tennessee Fall Foliage Information

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  • 08 of 09

    Virginia Peak Fall Color Guide

    Fall View from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke Virginia
    ••• Stunning Fall View from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke Virginia. Photo Credit: David Sucsy / via Getty Images

    According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, peak fall foliage in Virginia tends to begin in the western mountains around mid-October and end in the eastern areas of Virginia in mid-November. Based on previous years, the best times to see the changing leaves in Virginia are:

    • Western Virginia: Mid- to late October
    • Central Virginia: Last week in October through the first week in November
    • Eastern Virginia: End of October to mid-November

    Additional Virginia Fall Foliage Information

    • The Virginia Tourism Corporation offers fall tourism information including weekly fall foliage reports, scenic drives, getaways, and more in its fall guide
    • Visit the Virginia Department of Forestry Website to see a map of typical peak color Periods, weekly reports, driving tours, and fall activities. 
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  • 09 of 09

    West Virginia Peak Fall Color Guide

    Glade Creek Mill at Babcock State Park - West Virginia
    ••• The picturesque Glade Creek Mill is a popular subject for photographers in any season. Photo Credit: Tim Kiusalaas / via Getty Images

    West Virginia, nicknamed the Mountain State, is a wonderful destination for fall road trips, fun festivals, and more. According to this map from the WV Division of Forestry, typical periods for peak fall foliage in this Southeastern state are:

    • Eastern Panhandle and Neighboring Counties (excluding the northernmost Panhandle areas): Late September to early October
    • Central and Northwestern Regions: Early to mid-October
    • Southeastern and Southern Regions: Late October
    • Northern Panhandle Regions: Early October

    Additional West Virginia Fall Foliage Information

    Reminder: These average peak periods are based on previous years and do not necessarily reflect the peak fall foliage periods of the current year. To avoid disappointment, be sure to obtain updated fall foliage information before making your final travel plans.