Overview: The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic parkway operated by the National Park Service. This limited access road runs through the southern Appalachian Mountains from Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia, to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
People flock to this Blue Ridge Mountain leaf show because of its elevated views of the wooded mountains and valleys that are the Southern Highlands. There are more native species of hardwood trees to be seen here than anywhere else in North America and probably on planet earth.
Dogwood, sourwood, and blackgum turn deep red in late September and are the first to be seen. Yellow-poplar and hickories turn bright yellow, red maples add their brilliant reds while sassafras explodes in orange. Oaks finally end the season with their browns and reds. Add southern Appalachian conifers including Virginia pine, white pine, hemlock, spruce and fir and you have a fantastic green backdrop.
Vote for your favorite leaf viewing vacation: The Poll
Viewing Dates: Good viewing in higher elevations begins the first week in October. The fall viewing season usually peaks the third week in October and rides the wave south through the first of November.