Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons, thanks to the bright colors the leaves turn before winter comes. While many publications focus on the best places to go see foliage in New England, there are many great places in the South to catch a view of nature’s vivid colors.
Brasstown Bald (Georgia)
To get the best view of Georgia’s autumn style, make a visit to the highest peak in the state at 4,700 feet above sea level. Brasstown Bald is near Blairsville in the northern region of the Peach State and is equipped with a 360-degree observation deck to see the trees on and around the mountain. It is about a half-mile climb from the parking lot to the visitor’s center and observation deck, but its location in the natural beauty of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest makes the walk worth it. If you decide not to attempt the dramatic incline, there is a shuttle service available to the top. After you see the views from the peak, consider taking a drive on the nearby Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway for a different perspective.
DeSoto State Park (Alabama)
In the northeast corner of Alabama, the DeSoto State Park is a must-see destination on your fall foliage road trip. The park’s population of hickory, dogwood, maple and poplar trees guarantees a canopy full of bright red, orange and yellow leaves. Traditionally, color from these leaves lasts well into the month of November and the park’s location on Lookout Mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding woods. About six miles from the main park is the state’s highest waterfall, DeSoto Falls, which looks even more beautiful when surrounded by colorful trees. If you are looking for a place to stay, cabins and campsites in the park are great options.
Tail of the Dragon (North Carolina and Tennessee)
If you are looking for a scenic drive to see the leaves, check out the section of U.S. 441 between Gatlinburg and the Cherokee casinos. According to WideOpenCountry.com, this stretch is called the Tail of the Dragon by motorcyclists and it is one of the curviest roads in the country. Motorcyclists caution drivers that the bends in this road are dangerous without the proper attention, so they should keep eyes on the road and pull over for a closer look.
The Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia and North Carolina)
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles through the iconic Appalachian Highlands of Virginia and North Carolina. This is probably one of the most iconic roadways on this list, as it is known nationwide for its stunning views of unspoiled mountains and forests. Its reputation makes it incredibly popular for leaf peeping. The northern end of the parkway is near the 100-mile long Shenandoah National Park, where you can get out of the car and conquer places like Bearfence, Little Devils Stairs and the Hazel Mountain Overlook for breathtaking scenery. Drivers from SouthernLiving.com also recommend the last 40 miles of the parkway in North Carolina’s Jackson County for some stunning sights on the roadway.
The South is full of beautiful fall foliage. Make sure you get out and explore it before winter’s chill carries the leaves to the ground.