It has been a long time coming! Normally, peak foliage in the mountains of the Tar Heel State occurs the first weekend of October. However, due to a very warm September and start to October, along with dry conditions for the last two months in the mountains, peak foliage has been delayed this year. Scientists with the Appalachian State University Department of Biology expect peak foliage to start Wednesday and last into Sunday.
The catch? The spots that will likely reach peak this weekend will be mainly above 3,000 feet. A quick survey of our camera network in the mountains finds that many trees have yet to even show a hint of color. While a cold front moving through on Wednesday to usher in some of the coldest temperatures so far may help to jump start the process, trees will still be overcoming the impacts of the last two months of weather.
If you are planning a foliage trip, this weekend is the first weekend that should provide some color from the trees. However, you will still likely have to head to the tops of some peaks or higher up than normal to see some of the best colors this weekend.