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Fall color from Grandfather Mountain

Photo taken October 13, 2016: Fall color is speeding up along the Blue Ridge Parkway, illustrated by some bright reds, yellows and oranges at the Stack Rock Bridge. According to Dr. Howard Neufeld, “Fall Color Guy” and professor of biology at Appalachian State University, cool mornings, moderate daytime temperatures and abundant sunshine have accelerated leaf color development in the High Country. In fact, since last weekend, hillsides in the 3,000 to 4,500 elevation range have seen a 30 percent increase in fall color, Neufeld said.

As the Blue Ridge Mountains begin to burst with fall color, Grandfather Mountain invites leaf-lookers to see the brilliant change from one of the best leaf-looking destinations in the South. Grandfather Mountain is home to myriad species of plants and hardwood trees that range from pumpkin-colored beech trees to blood-red sourwoods and rusty red oaks. Already, foliage on the mountain has seen a dramatic change.

One way leaf-lookers can enjoy fall foliage this season is Grandfather’s guided walk series, “The Colors of Grandfather,” offered on weekends Oct. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. “The Colors of Grandfather” will visit various locations around Grandfather Mountain to showcase a spectacular contrast of autumn hues. These guided walks, led by members of Grandfather’s naturalist staff, give guests an opportunity to learn more about color change and explore the species of plants and trees native to Grandfather Mountain. Participants will become more familiar with tree identification and will be able to ask questions about the annual color-changing phenomenon.

The programs typically begin at 1 p.m. and are included with regular admission. For more information about “The Colors of Grandfather,” call (828) 733-4326, or visit www.grandfather.com.

In addition to the programs offered inside the park in October, fresh fall color photos are posted daily throughout the month on the mountain’s website and social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com.

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