The higher elevations are the first to turn and that's usually not until the first week of October. I spotted a post on Facebook yesterday that showed some early color in Graveyard Fields off the Blue Ridge Parkway, so Cindy and I headed that way today. The forecast called for foggy conditions and we were in and out of it all day long. We saw some very spotty color heading up US276 north from Brevard - a bit of yellow and the reds of the earliest turning trees. Once we hit the Parkway, we passed a few small patches of very bright yellows, peaches and reds. The overall color was still mostly green, but it's a bit early to be seeing these peak trees. It was too foggy to stop at East Fork and Second Falls overlooks, so the Graveyard Fields parking was our first stop. Visibility was low, but we could see color in the trees just below the parking area. We packed our gear and headed down. Once we got down to the bridge at Yellowstone Prong, the colors just popped! We wandered around for a few hours while the fog moved in and out. There were a lot of peak trees mixed with green ones, goldenrod was still very yellow, and blueberry and huckleberry shrubs were red to maroon colored. It was absolutely beautiful. At Second Falls, the color was more green, but there were also some reds and oranges mixed in. After leaving Graveyard Fields, we headed north on NC215 which is usually very colorful also. Peak is still at least a week or so away down there, but we could see quite a few peak trees higher up in the first couple of miles. Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades had a bit of color, but not enough to pull the camera out. Water levels were also very low - we need some rain! We'll be back up that way in the next few days to see how the color is progressing. Below are some shots I took in Graveyard Fields.
|along the trail|
|along Yellowstone Prong|