Leaf Season Destination: Asheville, N.C.

Surrounded by the tallest mountains in the Eastern U.S. and connected via the Blue Ridge Parkway, the North Carolina mountains makes for a perfect leaf-season trip.

The Asheville, N.C. region is among the nation’s top leaf viewing venues, according to local tourism website RomanticAsheville.com, which offers the following forecasts for the most popular high-altitude destinations in that region:

October 1-9: Highest elevations north of Asheville above 5,000 feet show the most color, especially in the Mount Mitchell, Craggy Gardens, Grandfather Mountain, Beech Mountain, Rough Ridge and Graveyard Fields areas.

October 8-16: Color will increase in elevations greater than 4,000 feet, including the Mount Pisgah, Black Balsam, Devil’s Courthouse, Waterrock Knob, southwest of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It will also be peak color in the Highlands area, including Whiteside Mountain, with plenty of waterfalls to enjoy, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including hikes to Alum Cave and Chimney Tops. October 14-23: Many of the surrounding mountains around Asheville show plenty of color, especially in the 3,000-4,000 foot elevation range. Take the Parkway north or south from Asheville. A great hike in Pisgah National Forest would be Looking Glass Rock or Cradle of Forestry. North of Asheville, head to Linville Gorge with hikes to the top of Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain.

October 20-29: The city of Asheville (2,000 feet elevation) shows the brightest colors, along with areas around Hendersonville and Brevard. This is the perfect time for a waterfall hike in DuPont State Forest or leisurely walk at the NC Arboretum. This is also the peak leaf color for Biltmore Estate.October 25-November 2: The color show concludes in the Chimney Rock area (elevation of 1,300 feet). Ride to the top of Chimney Rock or take a boat tour on Lake Lure. Also peak at Lake James and South Mountains State Parks.

If you want to monitor the progress of the 2014 fall leaf change in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in real time without leaving home, you can check in with the Gatlinburg and related Tennessee sites:

Webcam from a vacation home in Gatlinburg

Pioneer Cabin Rentals Webcam

Webcam of foliage from Look Rock

Webcam of foliage from Purchase Knob

This article appears courtesy of The Augusta Chronicle.