Our Favorite Fall Adventures in Western North Carolina

fall colors

It is finally September and fall is almost here.  Fall is hands down my FAVORITE season in NC with crisp cool morning temperatures, warm afternoons, beautiful fall foliage, and all the fall holidays and festivities. 

Living in Western North Carolina we are blessed with so many outdoor activities year-round.  Tourists flock to this area for its natural beauty to hike, fish, rock climb, kayak, cycle, view wildlife, and visit the many wineries, breweries, farm stands, galleries, and unique small-town shops.  Fall is such a big deal here that there is an interactive map the local travel bureau put together to let people know where the colors are currently changing!  To find this map simply google fall foliage forecast NC!

We cannot talk about the stunning colors and views without mentioning the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The BRP is a scenic, winding drive covering 469 miles from Cherokee, NC up to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and is famous for its stunning views.  BUT once summer gives way to fall and the leaves start changing colors, nature really puts on a show!!  Fall is the peak time for travelers along the BRP.  For those of you who will be visiting up here in the fall, bear in mind that with so many people traveling the BRP, traffic along the parkway is slow, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and hopefully a little peek of the wildlife too.

Here are some of our favorite to-do in Western NC in the fall:

climbingRock Climbing

While rock climbing can be done year-round in our area, fall and its amazing weather is the peak time for climbing in the Carolinas. Just imagine scaling the rock wall in Linville Gorge and seeing a unique view of the fall colors from above!  There are so many great National Forests and State Parks in the Carolinas that are open to climbers.  Luckily, NC Outdoor Adventures knows all the great climbing spots in the area, away from the crowds, that is suitable for climbers of all abilities.  We offer climbing and rappelling classes year-round, with our waterfall rappelling at Big Bradley Falls in Saluda ending in late October for the season.

Mountain Project also is a great resource for area and route information for climbing in the Carolinas.


There are so many hiking trails in our area, and we have a lot of favorites. One fall favorite is hiking and picking apples at the Orchard at Altapass! Hiking to waterfalls in the fall is a unique treat. We have a lot of waterfalls in our area including Linville Falls, Crabtree Falls, and Grassy Creek to name a few.  There are hikes into the Linville Gorge and above the Gorge at Table Rock.  You can even section hike along the Appalachian Trail or Mountains to Sea Trail.  One of our favorite sections of the AT starts at the Carver’s Gap trailhead (only 10 miles from our outpost) hiking North up Roan mountain and provides visitors with stunning 360-degree views. On a clear day you can see three different states and fall colors for miles!  We like this hike so much we even hike it in the winter! 

Each season, NCOA offers guided hikes to give visitors a unique opportunity to learn about plants, history, and hiking safety through guided hikes with local experts. Our local experts will share with you their stories about why they are so passionate about the area and will teach skills that you can use including what to bring hiking and what to do if an emergency were to arise.  Hiking and connecting with nature has many benefits including reducing stress, improving your heart health, improving balance, and mental well being all while making memories and getting a little exercise.   

kayakingKayaking and Tubing

We have been fortunate to have good rainfall this summer allowing us to still run our flat-water kayaking and tubing trips through into the fall.  Tubing trips will wrap up in early September with flatwater and whitewater trips continuing through October. The views from the water are always spectacular, even more so in the fall, with riverside foliage views that not many people get to see.  We are so excited that we can offer kayaking trips and share Western North Carolina’s spectacular fall colors in our own unique way!!  Looking for something more adventurous?  We also offer whitewater kayaking options where you can paddle your way downstream and whitewater your way through the fall colors of Western North Carolina.

One more thing I wanted to mention, we just completed one of our volunteer river clean-up days on a section of the Toe River.  A couple of times during the year, we partner with other companies in the area and volunteers who come out to remove debris and garbage from the river.  This latest clean-up was the largest one yet and we are so grateful for everyone who came out and made the day a HUGE success.  The Toe River is a beautiful river that meanders through the countryside and forests of Yancey County. The river is a natural mountain and stream-fed river and it is one of the great natural features in our area.

When planning a trip to our area, be sure to plan ahead, especially in the fall as rooms are limited and fill up fast, sometimes selling out a year in advance.  The accommodations here are as unique as our area, there are unique tiny houses for rent, including our converted Root Cellar, historic inns along the parkway, and tons of camping options.

Want more photos or updates?

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more photos and updates about our activities!  If you need help planning your trips to visit our beautiful area you can check out our calendar or reach out to us directly.

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