It's FALL in East Tennessee, and the leaves are popping off in higher elevations! There are so many places to plan a scenic drive to, take a hike, or ride singletrack in through a wonderland of changing colors. No plans? Take a sporadic drive down the winding mountain roads of Appalachia this fall and witness the magic for yourself.
Don't know where to go and feeling spontaneous? Hop in the car with the fam, and let the road be your guide. When border hopping between East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, getting lost is actually preferred. It's where you lose the crowds and find the best views. Driving towards Asheville from Johnson City or vice versa like the Wagon Wheel song suggests, you could literally hop off any exit and end up on a back mountain road. Take the exit for Mount Mitchell and go see the colors from the highest point east of the Mississippi, or make your way towards the Blue Ridge Parkway for some of the best views you'll see in this lifetime. The hidden town of Chimney Rock is a true southern gem to explore. The farm nestled mountain country scenery will fill your heart and light your soul on fire as orange as the leaves that spread across these Appalachian hills.
What a time to be alive! This is the best time of year- pumpkin & apple everything, corn mazes, spooky classics and new releases like The Haunting of Bly Manor, and that warm cozy feeling that only comes with fall. Along with those lazy rainy days that are much needed and far too few, it's a great time of year to get outside and take a hike to see the foliage. The Appalachian Trail offers too many section hikes to name along the TN/NC border. Do an internet search and reach out to your favorite trail buddy to go on that backpacking trip you've been talking about for the last few years.
Mountain Biking has been stealing the show in the Appalachian Highlands. Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Bark is a hit, along with expansion on the Hampton Watershed trail system, and a rumor about a new bike park coming to Asheville. Nothing quite rides like biking in October through tangled arches of colorful falling leaves. There are many places to ride road & gravel, as well, like The Tweetsie Trail that starts in Johnson City and ends in Elizabethton. Be sure to stop in at Local Motion Cyclery for bike rentals and gear right on the trail. Just over the state line into Virginia, it's the busiest time of year to ride the Virginia Creeper Trail and no wonder why with dozens of colorful trees lining the way! Reserve your shuttle ahead of time.
Enjoy Appalachia, please respect local pandemic protocols and mandates, support small businesses during your visit like the ones in Tennessee's oldest town, and wave to everyone!
HAPPY FALL Y'ALL.
Traveler. Writer. Mom.