Best places to see fall leaves in the NC mountains - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Best places to see fall leaves in the NC mountains

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By Steve Obnesorge - bio l email

NEWLAND, NC (WBTV) - The fall colors are nearing their peak at the highest elevations in the northern mountains in North Carolina.

Tourists were flocking to the Grandfather Mountain area Wednesday to take a look at the colors.

Leaf lookers make October one the busiest tourist month of the year in the High Country.

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Normally, the leaves are further along at this time of year, but recent rains and a lack of cold weather has slowed the color change down.

In most areas of the mountains, there's only been one moderate frost.  The lack of color so far has slowed down the tourist traffic in some areas, but may be a plus in the long run says Troy Clark of the Pineola Inn.

"It might make the season longer, I hope," he said.

Motels in the area are usually booked solid through the weekends in October.

This year, they say there are rooms available.

"People are booking at the last minute," Clark said.  "If the weather looks good for the weekend, the rooms will fill up quickly."

In Blowing Rock in Watauga County, the leaves are still a week or so away from peak color, but that didn't stop a traffic jam of people coming into the downtown shopping district.

Sara Gladden works at The Candy Store and she expects things to only get busier in the next few weeks.

"We will have to stock and restock constantly to keep up," she said.

Right now, experts say the best place to see the colors is along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Highway 221 in the Grandfather Mountain area.

In a week to 10 days, they expect other popular spots, such as Highway 181 north of Morganton to have plenty of color as well.

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