WNC / Northeast Georgia Fall Leave Colors

Your guide to find the best in fall leaf color, avoiding  traffic, find festivals and family fun!
We have festivals posted for Western North Carolina and Northeast Georgia!

Be sure to scroll down to see several area web cams and follow the color changes to plan your trip!

Why do leaves change colors?

Be sure to scroll down to view area web cams too.

Why Do Autumn Leaves Change Color? 

You may learn something here! Scientific American editor Mark Fischetti explains how the leaves of deciduous trees perform their annual chameleon act, changing from various shades of green to hues of bronze, orange and brilliant red.

Final Update to the Final Update!!!! Oct 29, 2022

Great fall colors were hanging on for a few more days at 3200'. With rain moving in Oct 30, autumn colors will be done at and above this elevation.  Lower elevations will continue to have a range of colors for a few more days. 

Fall Leaf Guide

Oct 23 2022
Final Color Update

The autumn color leaf season is winding down! Elevations above 3000’ had one of the best seasons in years. Elevations below that were good, but not as brilliant as higher areas. The reason for both: temperatures! All elevations had dry weather with lots of sunshine. Everyday we did have less daylight which is the trigger for autumn colors, but the higher elevations had many nights in the low 30s, even in the upper 20’s which is the trigger for intense color!

Areas below 3000’ will have autumn colors changing for another week to 10 days but without that really cold weather the colors will be muted!

We hope you have enjoyed and/or found these reports useful – see you in the Autumn of 2023!

Once again High South Adventures is your  fall leave color guide! Scroll down this page for

1. Fall color info and videos
2. Fall color maps
3. Color changes by elevation
4. Driving and road conditions
5. Where to find festivals and more in Western North Carolina and Northeast Georgia
6. Direct links to events and towns
7. Webcams all over The High South to monitor the colors!

Scroll Down!

wnc fall leave colors

Tips to enjoy Fall Leave Colors:

1. Travel during the week if you can
2. Pack water, snacks and patience
3. Book a vacation
rental NOW
 [Find a vacation rentals here]
4. Call ahead for dining reservations or info
[Top Restaurants around The High South]
5. If this a day trip only, have a full tank of gas before you head up!

Western North Carolina Leaf Color Information

Please scroll down for Northeast Georgia Information

Video by Explore Asheville Conventions and Visitors Bureau

2022  Fall Leaf Color Outlook

2022 Western North Carolina Fall Leaf Color Map

Fall Color Map for North Carolina
 created by The Biology Department at  Appalachian State University is a great resource to plan your trip. Please visit their web site  for the full image and to learn more about this map!
Go to: [https://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors/fall-color-map-north-carolina]

wnc fall leave colors

2022 Western North Carolina Fall Leaf Color Events

  1. Sapphire Valley Arts and Crafts Festival - October 1st and 2nd, 2022
    Open 10AM - 4PM Saturday and Sunday [More About Sapphire Valley]
  2. Dillsboro ColorFest and Downtown Harvest  Saturday, Oct 1, 2022 10 am - 5 pm
    Main Street in Dillsboro, NC. [About Dillsboro]
  3. Cashiers Leaf Festival - October 7 - 9, 2022
    The Cashiers NC Leaf Festival 2022 !  10AM - 5PM each day [More Info]
  4. Goblins In the Green - Cashiers  Friday, October 28, 2022 5:30PM
     A frightfully fun family-friendly Halloween event! Enjoy delicious culinary delights from the food truck, plus lots of fun and games, and tricks and treats! Be sure to dress up in your most creative costume. Prizes will be awarded for the best boy, girl, and human/canine duo.  Location: The Village Green Commons  [More Info]
  5. Shadow of the Bear - October 15 - November 5, 2022
    A High South area fall (and winter) treat is the annual ‘shadow of the bear’! This phenomenon takes place near Whiteside Mountain where the autumn light creates a shadow shaped like a bear. Times: at sunset each day [More Info]
  6. Weekly concerts along with area famers markets continue until the end of October. 
    View the [Area Events Calendar] for more info!

2022 Western North Carolina Fall Leaf Color
Road Conditions (Georgia conditions below!)

Road Conditions
The North Carolina Department of Transportation maintains a great map of North Carolina showing construction zones, road closures due to weather as well as traffic congestion.
[NCDOT Traffic Map
Northeast Georgia Map below!

wnc fall color leave guide

2022 Fall Leaf Colors

Peak Color Estimate by Elevations
The following is the current estimate of peak leaf color based on elevation in the southern High South:

Above 4500'  - October 8 - 15
Towns at this elevation: Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, Grandfather Mountain and some areas around Highlands in North Carolina and the peak of Brasstown Bald in North Georgia

3000-4500' - October 15 - 20
Towns at this elevation: Sapphire Valley, Highlands, The Highlands Outpost, and Cashiers in North Carolina. Sky Valley in Northeast Georgia

2000-3000' - October 18 - October 24
Towns at this elevation: Waynesville, Dillsboro North Carolina, Several Northeast Georgia towns are very close to 2000' including Blue Ridge, Hiawassee, Blairsville and Tallulah Falls.

Below 2000' - October 24 - early November
Towns at this elevation: While many species of tree will change before November, the bulk of color below 2000' will occur throughout the month. Bryson City, NC sits at 1752' with higher peaks all around. Dahlonega Georgia sits at 1450' while Helen Ga sits at 1444'

These are estimates! Like trying to pick the bottom or top of a stock market move, the best approach is to allow several days to travel around and enjoy the colors at various elevations - try not to time it to just one day!

Northeast Georgia Fall Leaf Color Information

2022 Northeast Georgia Fall Leaf Color Events

  1. Grape Stomp Festival (Blairsville, September 3)
    Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa
  2. Oktoberfest (Helen, September 8 – October 30)
    More about Helen GA [[Go Here]
  3. Chattahoochee Mountain Fair (Clarkesville, September 9-17)
    The Chattahoochee Mountain Fair has been a tradition in Northeast Georgia since 1975. Spend a special week back in the good old days of home made treats, hand made crafts, a farm animal petting zoo and carnival rides galore! [More Info]
  4. Blue Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival (Blue Ridge, September 15-17)
    Always a fantastic event. Downtown Blue Ridge sets the stage as a fantastic back drop and venue location for a perfect early fall event. The leaves start to change with cooler days and crisp evenings that invite outdoor activities! The sounds of Blues music and the sweet smell of BBQ from local and regional cookers will fill the air as families and groups of friends enjoy this unique setting and event.[More Info]
  5. American Made Music Fest (Hiawassee GA, September 15-17)
    Dailey & Vincent's American Made Music Fest, presented by Springer Mountain Farms, is a 3-day festival bringing together the very best in American music - Country, Bluegrass and Gospel music! [More Info]
  6. Foxfire Mountaineer Festival (Clayton, October 2)
    We are thrilled to announce the return of the annual Foxfire Mountaineer Festival! Join us for a day of arts, crafts, music, and more, all in celebration of our Appalachian culture! [More infoThe Festival will be held at the Rabun County Civic Center on Saturday, October 1st from 10 am until 5 pm. Tickets are $8, kids 5 & under are free! With a festival wristband, you’ll also receive 30% off admission to the Foxfire Museum at 98 Foxfire Lane, Mountain City, Georgia.      
  7. Georgia Mountain Fall Festival (Hiawassee, October 7-15)
    Look forward to the 2022 Fall Festival October 7th - 15th from 10am-7pm. With its mild temperatures and beautiful scenery there is no better place to be than the North Georgia Mountains in the fall! Each October, the 9-day event features Arts & Craft vendors, educational demonstrations, and exciting music performances! New for 2022 enjoy carnival rides from Midway Rides Unlimited! Enjoy over a dozen rides including a carosel, ferris wheel, bumper cars & more! Rides for the adults & the kiddos! Plus fair food, games, and more! [More Info]
  8. Fall Arts in The Park (Blue Ridge, October 8-9)
    Join us for the 12th Annual Fall Arts in the Park festival held in the beautiful Downtown City Park of Blue Ridge, Georgia. You and your family can shop from over 150 juried fine arts and fine crafts exhibitors, enjoy tasty food, engage in artist demos and enjoy our free children’s activity booth. Leashed pets are welcomed. Festival is held rain or shine. Weekend Admission: adults $5; children under 12 free. All proceeds benefit the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association, a 501c3 non-profit community arts association.  [Learn More]
  9. Blairsville Sorghum Festival (Blairsville, October 8-9 & 15-16)
    We are back and looking forward to the 53rd Annual Blairsville Sorghum Festival and some great sorghum syrup! This year’s festival will be hosted by the Blairsville Sorghum Syrup Makers and Enotah CASA, Inc again. We are looking forward to keeping traditions alive and creating a memorable experience for all patrons of the festival.  [More Info]
  10. Gold Rush Days (Dahlonega, October 15-16)
    Gold Rush Days are always held the third full weekend in October. It is a time for thousands to come and see fall colors peaking and celebrate Dahlonega’s 1828 discovery of gold. Over 200 art and craft exhibitors and food vendors gather around the Public Square and Historic District in support of this annual event. It is estimated that a crowd of over 200,000 visits over the weekend to join in the fun and excitement! [More Info]
  11. Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show (Dawsonville, October 21-23)
    Admission: Free Admission~Parking Fee 
    THE 55TH ANNUAL MOUNTAIN MOONSHINE FESTIVAL IS A GO! [More Info] Festival will take place at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and Dawsonville City Hall's Main Street Park.
  12. Appalachian Brew, Stew, & Que Festival (Hiawassee, October 22)
    The 2022 Appalachian Brew, Stew, & Que Festival brings you great craft breweries from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Alabama. There will also be delicious food from area restaurants, regional arts & crafts, and lots of Appalachian & Americana music! [More Info]

Road Conditions
The Georgia Department of Transportation maintains a great map of North Georgia with a trip planner and shows construction zones, road closures due to weather as well as traffic congestion.
[GADOT Traffic Map

wnc fall color leave guide

Area Web Cams

View the Autumn Color Changes with these area web cams!

Brasstown Bald Web Cam
Elevation: 4784'
The highest point in Georgia!!!

This camera is looking north from Brasstown Bald over the Brasstown Wilderness area toward Hiawassee Georgia and just beyond into North Carolina 

Be sure to hover your mouse over the camera feed for the full screen option in the lower right!

Camera courtesy and please visit:

Bryson City, NC
The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad!
Elevation: 1752′

Bryson City, NC is a great small town located on the Tuckaseegee River and bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Camera courtesy and please visit: 
 Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and 

Highlands, NC
Elevation: 4117"

Highlands, NC is one the highest towns in terms of elevation in this part of Western North Carolina.  
Camera courtesy: The Town of Highlands
Visit: https://highlandsnc.org/

Whiteside Mountain
viewed from
Big Bear Pen Mountain
Elevation: 4930"

This is a great view of Whiteside Mountain. Easy access to a great hike with big views is available just off Highway 64 between Highlands and Cashiers, NC.
Hiking Info: [Hiking Whiteside Mountain]

Camera courtesy: The Town of Highlands
Visit: https://highlandsnc.org/

Previous Updates:

October 16 Update
Peak colors at elevations above 4500' have peaked are beginning to fade!

Strong and gusty winds may hit the area Monday and Tuesday as cold weather arrives. This could greatly impact the leaf season in areas where there is peak color. In other words, the wind could blow the leaves right off the trees!

Elevations from 3000' up to 4500' are peak now and for the next several days!
Due to dry weather in some areas we will see trees change a very different times.

Temps in the 30's down to 1200' will enhance the colors but they may change quickly.
Several species, particularly maples are looking good down to 1200'

We updated the peak colors by elevations timeframe below.

October 10, 2022 Update
Crisp, cool weather with plenty of sun has accelerated the leaf changes just over the past few days! Colors look great at higher elevations and this week should be peak up there. Many other species of trees at all levels have reacted to the cool, sunny weather! Be sure to check out the web cams below!

October 6, 2022 Update

It looks like the heavy cloud cover from Hurricane last week delayed the leaf color changes by about 7 - 10 days. This is mainly the case in far Northeast Georgia and Western North Carolina. With sunny, dry, and colder temperatures over the past week you begin to see the changes take place.
We updated the date ranges on our Leaf Color Change by Elevation below to accommodate this information.

Update for Oct 1, 2022

Above 4500’ the colors on some species look great while others need another week or week and a half to have the best color. Some maples are displaying brilliant yellows and reds.

We observed colors just below 4000’ were still very green which is a good thing. Green leaves are still strong and will be less impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ian.

The High South team took a trip up through Blue Ridge Georgia this week then over to Blairsville, Dahlonega and back to Chestatee. These towns are all between 1200’ and 2000’. The change from a dark green to a pale green was noticeable.

We also hiked in a new Nature Park just outside Blue Ridge, Fightingtown Creek Nature Park, a great new hiking and mountain bike park [see our review] and got up to 2200’. Areas at this elevation are probably a month away from peak.

Keep in mind that species will react differently to the fall change in daylight and temperatures and as we have seen before, we could see a prolonged leaf season – which is all good!

Sept 8, 2022
 We are a bit surprised to see some species of trees already changing and in a few cases, fully displaying great fall colors at 3200' elevation. Most trees at higher elevations are beginning to loose that dark green color - showing various shades of yellow and red.
Please scroll down for our estimated peak color times based on elevation.

September 26, 2022, Fall Leaf Color Update

Seasonal dry and cooler weather will help intensify the colors of autumn! Temps have dropped to the upper 30's and lower 40's in areas above 3200'. This is good news.

It looks like we are on target, give or take a few days, to peak colors based on elevation as shown lower on this page.

The impact of Hurricane Ian will be determined later this week should it hold together and move up into the Appalachia area of The High South! 

Update for Sept 12, 2012:
With plenty of rain this past week or so, lack of moisture will not be a problem for the trees and color changes. At this point the deciding factor will be temperatures which are expected to be above normal and that will delay the change by up to a week. Time will tell – stay tuned!

September 19, 2022, Fall Leaf Color Update
Next Update: Sept 26, 2022
Dry weather this past week will influence fall color changes and speed. A very wet week was followed by a very dry one and with rising temperatures in lower areas. Temps in the higher elevations are in the 40’s at night and that has color changes above 4500’ are now very evident.
Our forecast for color changes by elevation show below is on target.
The official start of Autumn is September 22 when the length of day and night are the equal.

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