Cindy and I headed out on Monday for 3 nights of camping in the Wilson Creek area. It may take me a couple of days to process pictures and videos, so here's a short summary of the color situation.
We camped at Mortimer Campground and got there via I-40, NC181, and Brown Mountain Beach Rd. As we passed through the Wilson Creek gorge, there was some spotty color along the creek and still a lot of green. It was mid day and the sun was rather harsh. FR464 showed a lot of nice color on Tuesday as we headed towards Big and Little Lost Cove Cliffs. Both the trails showed a lot of brilliant color in the tree tops as we were hiking, but there were green trees also. The views showed patches of nice color below and nice color in the higher elevations in the surrounding mountains. We could see Grandfather Mountain and of course the leaves are gone in the highest elevations. On Wednesday, we did an 8 mile loop along Harper Creek, then back along the Raider Camp Trail. The trees above Harper Creek Falls were very colorful, but the sun made shooting a nightmare. There was spotty color along the creek, more color when we got to South Harper Creek Falls, then more color along the Raider Camp Trail.
We wanted to take the Parkway back today, so we took FR464 from the campground. There were sections of brilliant color and it looked like the color had really picked up since 2 days ago. Once on the Parkway, the color was mostly gone around Linville, but picked up once we got descended in elevation. There were several sections of really nice color before we got to Hwy 80. We exited there, went north and headed towards FR472 with the intention of following that past the Black Mountain Campground, then on to connect back up to the Parkway. The color was really nice along the South Toe River and in the surrounding mountains. This was a very nice detour. Around Mount Mitchell, the leaves are gone, but the lower elevations show a lot of peak color. Towards Craggy, a lot of the leaves are past peak and showing that bronze color. Heading towards Asheville, there were some pockets of brilliant color along the road. We were heading into the sun, so these leaves were back lit.
This week end should be a zoo along the Parkway, so good luck if you go.