NORTH CAROLINA (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - The Blue Ridge Mountain range has one of the longest-running autumn leaf color displays in the country, and elevation and weather are the two biggest factors in the color show.
Peak season begins in North Carolina the third weekend of September.
Leaves begin their color change at the highest peaks and gradually work down to the lowest elevations. An early frost speeds up the show and warm weather prolongs it, according to RomanticAsheville.com.
The Smoky Mountains National Park has unveiled its 2017 Fall Foliage Map, which can be used as a planning guide. To see the map, click here.
It shows the first changes in North Carolina's trees beginning around Sept. 10. The start of the peak season is around Sept. 24 and will spread to the popular Blue Ridge Parkway the first two weeks of October.
By Oct. 22, it will be past peak season in the state, according to the map.
Frequent thunderstorms experienced this summer have created an abundance of full, healthy leaves, according to some experts. That means the conditions are right for a great leaf season in the fall.