October 17, 2018 3 min read

It’s been a strange year weather wise, between the heat waves that have flattened the northeast to the unusually high rainfall in the southeast to the wildfire smoke that’s coated the Pacific Northwest. What does that mean for fall color? If you’re wondering when to go and what to pack for that leaf peeping excursion, we’ve got your back.

Where to Catch the Changing Colors Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Of course, when fall colors peak varies depending on your elevation and where you are coast to coast. If you plan on cruising the Cherohala Skyway or camping and hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through Western North Carolina up into Virginia, you’ll see some of the best fall scenery outside New England and the Rockies, and you’ll get it a little later, too. The colder, taller mountains in Maine, for example, will have shed their leaves by the time that leaf peeping is at its prime in the southern Appalachians, which usually see a full flush of color through Halloween. 

The last two weeks in October are usually a good bet along the Blue Ridge Parkway, though it can’t hurt to consult a fall foliage map to double check predictions and conditions before you finalize your plans. This time of year, the weather can always be a little unpredictable, especially if you’ll be moving between elevations. Usually, however, temperatures along the Blue Ridge Parkway remain fairly warm during the day before getting crisp at night. That means you’ll want to pack plenty of layers and keep your wardrobe flexible.

What to Wear for Your Leaf Peeping Adventure

We recommend some versatile pieces like this United By Blue Men’s Adventure Mobile Fleece Pullover, which blends cotton and poly together into a relaxed fit that’s soft and functional. Pair it with our Roanline Starry Mountain T-Shirt, or go for a Howler Brothers flannel if you’re worried about catching a chill. The United By Blue Men's Harrison Corduroy Pant will have your legs ready for anything, whether you’re planning a hike up Grandfather Mountain or a trip to Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium tap house.

Ladies will feel cozy in the Tentree Women's Jade Dress, which is made from a sustainable blend of organic cotton and hemp. If the temperatures really drop, you can always add a pair of Free Fly Women’s Bamboo Tights as an extra layer. The United By Blue Women’s Myles Poncho is also perfect for fall. It’s made from 100% recycled Polartec Thermal Pro Fleece, but the sleeve style keeps the cuffs out of your way and the whole poncho from feeling too stuffy.

Add in a pair of boots and wool socks, and you’ll fit right into North Carolina’s mountain communities, where the outdoors have always been intertwined in daily life and fashion tends to be pretty functional. Don’t miss the views from Linville Falls, Blowing Rock, and Mount Lyn Lowry, or the unbelievable tunnel of trees you’ll experience when you drive through the Nantahala National Forest. There’s so much to see along the Blue Ridge Parkway you might find it hard to leaf— pun intended.

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