Asheville in the Fall: The Ultimate Guide

Planning a trip to Asheville in the fall? We’re here to help! This beautiful little mountain city has lots to offer in the fall months. With Blue Ridge Parkway cruising, leaf peeping, brewery hopping, and so much more, Asheville is the place to be in autumn!

We’ve spent a lot of time here over the years. In fact, we even got married in Asheville. It’s one of our favorite places in the world and we’re excited to show you around!

Asheville, NC in the Fall

Lots of people want to visit Asheville in the fall these days, and for good reason. The weather in Asheville, NC in October is perfect for enjoying the great outdoors.

asheville fall foliage
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Asheville’s fall foliage is some of the best in Western North Carolina

Hiking, cycling, kayaking, and disc golfing are just a few of the activities on tap. Speaking of what’s on tap…

If you’re like us and love craft beer, then Asheville in October is perfect. There are all kinds of festivals and events at the many breweries here. Be sure to check out our short video showcasing some of our favorite breweries in Asheville.

Also, the leaf peeping in Asheville is exceptional this time of year. Get in your car and cruise the land of the brave and free on the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. At this higher elevation, you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the epic fall foliage.

Beyond the leaf peeping and hiking, there’s plenty more going on in the Land of the Sky. You can visit orchards to pick some apples and sip on cider. If haunted houses are more your vibe, there are a few of those around too.

Last but not least, the live music calendar is absolutely stacked. All kinds of acts roll into town in the fall months. Whether you’re into jambands, DJs, heavy metal, bluegrass, or indie rock, there’s a show for you in Asheville.

Best Time to Visit Asheville in the Fall

So when is the best time to visit Asheville in the fall?

13 hard times trail asheville in the fall
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Hiking the Hard Times Trail to enjoy the Asheville fall colors

It depends on what your priorities are. You could plan your trip around leaf peeping, live music, or one of the many fall festivals in Asheville.

If you’re coming down mainly for the leaf peeping, it’s a good idea to plan a trip in mid to late October.

During this 2-week window, you’re pretty much guaranteed some vibrant fall foliage. The Asheville fall colors aren’t popping yet in September, and the leaves start to fall pretty quickly come November. We’ll share some of our favorite spots in just a minute here…

Meanwhile, if live music is your priority, you’ll definitely want to check the calendar. Explore Asheville has a live music calendar that’s regularly updated, so click here to check that out.

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Try to come during the week to avoid large crowds

As you might expect, it gets quite busy here on the weekends. If you’re looking for a good deal and smaller crowds, plan a mid-week trip if possible. Don’t worry – there’s plenty going on here, even on a Monday night.

Read more – Need help planning your time in Asheville? Check out our guide to 3 Days in Asheville.

Fall Foliage in Asheville, NC

An Asheville Blue Ridge Parkway fall cruise should be high on your list of things to do. This National Parkway and All-American Road stretch for 469 miles (755 km) through Virginia and North Carolina.

19 asheville fall foliage
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You can access the Blue Ridge Parkway in around 20-30 minutes depending on where you’re staying. Once up there, you can enjoy a scenic cruise with plenty of Asheville fall foliage.

But do be aware that the leaves change colors in late September to early October at the higher elevations on the Parkway.

Along the parkway, there are plenty of overlooks where you can admire the stunning landscape. One of the best spots near town is the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.

There are great views from the parking area here, or you can drive a little way up the road and do the short Craggy Pinnacle hike. This is our go-to spot for our visitors as it’s an easy drive and hike.

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It can ben rainy and foggy at the top of Mt. Mitchell so it’s good to be prepared!

For those looking to take a longer Blue Ridge Parkway cruise, it’s worth it to head all the way to Mt. Mitchell. This is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet. On a clear day, it’s one of the best places for leaf peeping in Asheville.

You don’t even have to go all the way up there to enjoy the Asheville fall colors. Once late October hits, you can enjoy the orange and red hues at places like the French Broad River Park.

Fall Festivals in Asheville, NC

Fall is a very festive time of year here in Asheville. The hot and humid summer weather finally relents, making it a pleasant time to spend all day outdoors.

The fall festival season kicks off with Blue Ridge Pride because ya’ll means all in Asheville! It takes place downtown and features a parade, live music, and plenty of vendors.

Art aficionados will love the Art in the Park festival. It takes place on Saturdays in October and features a wide array of local art for sale, from ceramics to glass to jewelry.

apple picking asheville in the fall
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Apple picking is a fun fall activity near Asheville

Fall means Oktoberfest, but you don’t have to travel to Germany to celebrate. Many Asheville area breweries get in on the fun, so bring your lederhosen and get ready to raise a glass or ten.

One of our favorite breweries, Burial, has an annual music and beer festival called Burnpile. They have live music all day and invite 50+ breweries from around the country. It’s sold out for this year but be sure to mark your calendar for 2023.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fall festivals in Asheville. There are festivals for cheese, quilts, cider, and even a zombie 5K run.

I’m dead serious, ya’ll.

Catawba Brewing puts it on and it seems like a hoot. Maybe I’ll do it after the Disco Biscuits show since I’ll basically be the Walking Dead already.

Check out other activities in Asheville:

Live Music in Asheville This Fall

Now onto our favorite part of spending fall in Asheville, NC – the live music! We’re used to traveling far and wide to see our favorite bands, but they’re all coming to us this month!

We’re calling it Rock-tober this year, as we’re going to see more than a dozen shows. This includes STS9, the Disco Biscuits, and a 3-night Halloween run with none other than Billy Strings.

my morning jacket at rabbit rabbit asheville in the fall
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My Morning Jacket at Rabbit Rabbit

Asheville in October is just generally a great place for live music fans. Even if you’re not into the hippie jambands, you’ve got tons of options. Other bands playing here this fall run the gamut from Ween to Death Cab for Cutie to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.

Some of the best places to catch a show here are:

  • Salvage Station
  • Rabbit Rabbit
  • Asheville Music Hall
  • the Orange Peel
  • Grey Eagle

There’s live music every night of the week here, so lace up your dancing shoes when you visit Asheville in the fall.

Fall Hikes in Asheville

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Fall is one of the best times for hiking in Asheville

There are plenty of hiking trails all around Asheville and they are especially beautiful in the fall. But if you search for fall hikes near Asheville, many of the hikes you’ll find in the articles are an hour or more drive from Asheville.

You may not have that much time on your trip to Asheville in the fall.

To keep it simple, these hikes to see Asheville fall colors are in the city or within a 40-minute drive from downtown:

  • Graveyard Fields
  • Mt. Pisgah Trail
  • Craggy Pinnacle
  • NC Arboretum
  • Lake Powhatan
  • Biltmore Estate Trails
  • Asheville Botanical Gardens
  • Richmond Hill Park

The Graveyard Fields loop trail is a moderate 3-mile hike that passes some small waterfalls and goes through the fields. It’s a can’t-miss hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The leaves change earlier in the season here so it’s perfect if you come in early October.

The Mt. Pisgah Trail is one of our favorite hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway because it’s relatively easy and there is a viewing deck at the top of the mountain that provides a fantastic view of downtown Asheville on a clear day.

Craggy Pinnacle is one of the easier and shorter hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway but it leads to stunning views of the valley and the Asheville watershed.

The NC Arboretum is located south of downtown Asheville and just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are some easy hikes with beautiful views.

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Aerial view of Lake Powhatan and beautiful fall foliage

Lake Powhatan is absolutely gorgeous in the fall. The surrounding forest is called Bent Creek Experimental Forest and the Hard Times Trail is perfect for hikers and mountain bikers.

There are over 22 miles of trails around Biltmore Estate. You will need an entrance ticket to access them so we recommend spending a full day there so you can see the house and take in the stunning views from the trails on the property.

A trip to the Biltmore Estate is one of the activities we recommend in our 3-day itinerary for Asheville.

corner kitchen asheville in the fall
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The Corner Kitchen is the perfect place to grab a bite after spending the day at Biltmore Estate

The Asheville Botanical Garden is just a 10-minute drive from UNC Asheville. You won’t find the most strenuous hikes here but that makes it perfect for families or couples looking for something romantic to do. Bring a blanket, a picnic, and a book, and plan to spend an afternoon here.

Richmond Hill Park has a couple of hiking trails for both mountain bikers and hikers. You won’t find any sweeping views here but you will be surrounded by fall foliage. There’s also a disc golf course.

Places to Stay in Asheville

There are plenty of Asheville properties on so click that link to see the current deals.

Here are our recommendations for places to stay in Asheville:

Best Splurge: The Omni Grove Park Inn

You’ll be able to enjoy the best views of fall colors in Asheville from your room or anywhere on the property. Even if you don’t stay here, it’s a great place to go for drinks and sunset.

Best Mid-Range: Aloft Asheville Downtown

After the renovation in 2020, this is one of the best hotels in downtown Asheville. It’s within walking distance of many downtown attractions and restaurants.

Best Budget: The Beaucatcher, A Boutique Motel

The Beaucatcher is a fantastic budget option. The location is perfect as it’s within 5-10 miles of downtown and all the hikes we mentioned above. Each room has a private balcony or patio.

Check out other options below:

Final Thoughts

I hope you now see why the fall in Asheville, NC is such a special time. There is no shortage of things to do.

With all the fall festivals, live music, and beautiful fall colors you certainly won’t be disappointed.

We hope this guide has given you some good ideas for how to enjoy the Asheville fall foliage. Feel free to shoot us a message or leave a comment below if you have any questions.

You can also feel free to let us know if you’re coming to Asheville. We’d be happy to meet up for a beer or a bite!

Happy travels,

Rachel & Sasha 🙂

What are your favorite things to do in Asheville in the fall?

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