Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Fri September 09 2016

4 Must-Visit Places in Appalachia for Fall Colors

Features & Advice | Patrick Clarke | September 09, 2016

4 Must-Visit Places in Appalachia for Fall Colors

PHOTO: Fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains (photo via Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau)

With fall less than two weeks away, forests throughout the Appalachian Mountains are gearing up to wow autumn visitors with a slew of eye-popping colors. Whether you're planning a trip in late September trip or early November, there's no shortage of colorful destinations.

Here are four must-visit spots in Appalachia.

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania 

Home to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Wellsboro boasts some of the prettiest foliage in the Keystone State.

Typically, the best time to visit is from late September through mid October. Bring your mountain bike or walking stick and hit the Pine Creek Rail Trail, where you can take in the colorful leaves for miles and miles. 

Asheville, North Carolina 

Experts agree that 2016 promises to be an excellent season for foliage in Asheville, North Carolina, and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

According to Appalachian State University biology professor Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, "the Blue Ridge Mountains are one of the best places in the world to experience fall color."

READ MORE: Off-the-Beaten-Path Places to Leaf Peep in the Northeast

"Because of the range of elevations, we start to see color at the highest elevations like Grandfather Mountain in late September, and then that color cascades downslope all the way to lower locales like Chimney Rock in early November," added Neufeld. "A place like New England can't boast this long of a season."

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

For fall colors, mid to late October is the best time to visit Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. While a late-September or early-October visit won't disappoint, foliage tends to peak later in the season than compared to other parts of the state.

We recommend you hike the Maryland Heights Trail on the opposite side of the Potomac River for the ultimate view of Harpers Ferry's fall foliage.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

No need to rush to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains to take in the gorgeous colors this fall, because the autumn foliage here sometimes sticks around for up to seven weeks. Whether you arrive in late September or early November, the odds are solid that you won't come away disappointed.

The key to Gatlinburg's fall beauty is the diversity of trees in the Smokies. After all, as many as 100 species of native trees call the mountain range home. 

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