Fall in Cherokee, North Carolina, is a thing of beauty. During peak color, you’ll see a whirr of yellows, golds, and reds along the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to the experts, the brightest colors will be visible at elevations between 4,000 and 5,000 feet—which includes most of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Peak color should hit the Blue Ridge Parkway around the third week of October this year.

Waterrock Knob

But don’t just drive by. Pull over to get your senses fully engaged. The air is crisp, the leaves are crunchy underfoot, and the sunshine is bright and warm. It’s a great time of year to slow down and take in the natural splendor of the area. Here’s some inspiration for your trip!

Photo by Fabian Crow, taken at Waterrock Knob, 10 miles west of Cherokee.
Photo by Fabian Crow, taken at Waterrock Knob, 10 miles west of Cherokee.

Mingo Falls

Mingo Falls, located on the Qualla Boundary, is one of the tallest waterfalls in the southern Appalachians. Though it is a short, half-mile hike to the viewing platform, it is a steep 161 steps up.

Mingo Falls Steps

Here’s a view of the steps leading to Mingo Falls. It’s worth the trek to see the falls cascade down almost 200 feet, especially set against a glowing fall backdrop. Look at that color! For more on Mingo Falls, see The Waterfalls of Cherokee, NC.

Steps leading to Mingo Falls
Photo by angela_11228

Natural Beauty

Sometimes you don’t have to look up to catch the best fall view—try looking down. Instagrammer barntobewild96 caught this colorful composition while strolling outside in Cherokee, NC.

Colorful composition of tree leafs in water
Photo by barntobewild96

Fall Leaves

Can’t you almost hear the crunch of leaves just by looking at this photo? Fall color is fab, but nothing beats a crunchy hike in the cool mountain air. Once the leaves have dropped from the trees, the fun really begins! If you’re in the neighborhood, check out the new Fire Mountain Trail System contains 10.5 miles of paths and seven trails for hikers, bikers, and runners.

Fall Fishing

Fall offers some of the best views in Cherokee, NC, as well as some of the best fishing! Competitive anglers can try their luck in various fishing tournaments in Cherokee.

Nature’s Colors

This photo taken outside the Museum of the Cherokee People shows just how explosive the foliage color can be even when viewed in town.​

Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Photo by laney303

Blue Ridge Parkway

Did you know that there are 26 tunnels along the Blue Ridge Parkway? Twenty-five of them are in North Carolina and one is in Virginia. This fall landscape shows the entrance to Sherrill Cove Tunnel, set against electric fall color in Cherokee, NC. The tunnel runs 550 feet long. artwork!

Soco Falls

Soco Falls is a twin waterfall located between Maggie Valley and Cherokee. This shot was taken in late September, just as fall colors were starting to emerge. Look at those golden leaves! For more on Soco Falls, see The Waterfalls of Cherokee, NC.

Soco Falls
Photo by bttinsley