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  1. Default Leaf Peeping for the first time from Orlando to... Tenessee or New York?

    Hi! I'm new to Road Trip America. My husband and I would like to take our kids possibly in an RV to see all the Fall Foliage this November. we only have about 6 days to go from Orlando and back. We are debating going from orlando to New York (central Park), or from Orlando to maybe the Tenessee/ West Virginia area.

    I need advice on the best routes to take seeing the most leaves, and fast and scenic routes. Are we crazy to attempt New York?
    Please help!!

  2. #2

    Default Timing is everything in leaf-peeping

    Hello kajjbrock,

    My hometown of Raleigh, NC is but 300' above sea level, so latitude is the primary difference between seasonal temperatures here vs Eastern Seaboard cities to both north and south. Here in Raleigh, our leaves are mostly down by early November, certainly all gone by mid- November. Our color peaks by about the 3rd to 4th week of October.

    In the high Smokies along the NC-TN border, you're looking at peak color in early October. Mid-October in the slightly lower Blue Ridge Mountains of west-central and northwest NC. In each case, by early November, the leaves are wholly off the trees.

    West Virginia is north of here and holds elevations between 2,500 and 5,000', so I strongly suspect the leaves will be down by early November up there, too.

    I would not expect Central Park in NYC to have much if anything remaining in terms of leaves in November. Perhaps somebody else can provide more direct experience.

    I think your best bet in November would be the southernmost Appalachians, with northern Georgia, north Alabama, and southeast Tennessee. There you might have some good color for the first half of November. In Alabama, the Cheaha Scenic Drive follows Cheaha Mountain for around 30 miles, and is sort of a "mini Blue Ridge Parkway" with views of the valleys 1,500-1,800' below, and with other forested ridges visible.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Sticking with the South

    My last foray into West Virginia was early autumn 2009. The leaves were already well along in their changes and I suspect peak would have been hit by the first week of October at that time. I don't see a reason not to expect the same this year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Changes in Latitude; Changes in Altitude

    As previous posters have pointed out, there are at least a couple of factors involved in where you will find the best color at any given time in the fall foliage season. You can use the combination of those factors to your advantage. Simply head out and use the Interstates to get as far north as you need to go to get great color. You would do this by using say I-95/I-26/I-77/I-81 through Columbia and Charlotte and then following the foothills of the Appalachians northward. Keep an eye on those mountains off to your west. Sometime on the second day, you should hit peak or near-peak color. At that point, pick a road, any road, and head west up into the mountains. Then wander around on the back roads such as Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, US-11, US-219, US-220 or a host of others, generally working your way slowly southward as you enjoy the views, fall festivals, cider, etc. for the next three days or so. Your goal is to end up somewhere between Chattanooga and Charlotte along the Georgia/South Carolina - North Carolina border which puts you within a day's drive back to Orlando. Such a plan should let you make the best use of your time and see the best of the foliage.


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