Regarding COVID-19: Please recreate responsibly and practice social distancing. Closures and travel restrictions are changing rapidly, always check and respect local regulations.

The 5 Best Fall Hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains boast some of the most beautiful fall colors you will ever see and being just hours away from major cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, and Nashville, they are super accessible. There is never a better time to plan your epic leaf-chasing adventure.

I might be partially biased when I say this, but I strongly believe that fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains is as scenic of a place as any in the world.  With lower elevations than other mountain groups in the States, hardwood forest dominates the mountainsides, meaning that nearly every plant explodes into some shade of yellow, orange, or red. Whether you are planning a leisurely drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or an intense and rewarding backpacking trip deep into the wilderness, there is something for everyone this fall.

Start planning your adventure with my favorites below and watch the oaks, maples, and beech trees burst into color. 

Note: There have been closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway and other areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains this year due to Hurricane Florence. Right now the entire Blue Ridge Parkway is open, but keep tabs at the NPS site here and always do some research before heading into regions affected by Hurricane Florence.

1. Hike to Mount Cammerer Lookout Tower

Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee

2. Hike to Siler Bald

Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

3. Hike to Minnehaha Falls

Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia

4. Photograph Mingo Falls

Cherokee, North Carolina

5. Hike the Appalachian Trail to Preachers Rock

Chattahoochee National Forest

Bonus: Hike to Greeter Falls

Although Greeter Falls is not “technically” in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is close enough and cool enough to make it well worth a visit.

Savage Gulf State Natural Area, Tennessee

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Christian MurilloExplorer

My love for natural landscape photography is what first got me outside. Now, I can hardly stay indoors. My sense of adventure has led me to travel all over the US (mostly in the SE), and also drove me to complete a ...