Where to see the leaves change in NC

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WNC Mountains | @wncphototours

Good morning, Raleigh. It’s almost time for the leaves to start changing colors, so we’ve curated a list of places to admire the fall foliage in case you soon find yourself at two roads diverged in a yellow wood + need to know which one to take.

According to predictions, our region is expected to see peak foliage in the coming weeks. Use our map to help plan out which locations in NC you’ll be stopping by first.

In the City of Oaks

🍁 Dorothea Dix Park | 1030 Richardson Dr. | The Raleigh skyline + the fall foliage will make the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot.

🍁 Art to Heart Corridor | 2110 Blue Ridge Rd. | This paved trail that starts at the NCMA and ends in Downtown is perfect for families, a leisurely stroll, running, biking, or even picnics.

🍁 Pullen Park | 520 Ashe Ave. | Take in the autumn sights at the first public park in NC + the fifth-oldest operating amusement park in the US.

🍁 William B. Umstead State Park | 8801 Glenwood Ave. | This park features trails for hikers, runners, bicyclists + equestrians, 3 man-made lakes, as well as picnic grounds with fireplaces that can be reserved.

🍁 Shelley Lake Park | 1400 W. Millbrook Rd.  | Take the kids to the playground or the basketball courts + enjoy the surrounding trees. 

🍁 Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest | Schenck Forest Access Rd. | This 245-acre forest is located ~10 minutes from NC State’s campus + as a teaching and research forest for the school. Pro tip: The public can access the forest during daylight hours for hiking, running + bird watching — though dogs, bikes, and horses are not allowed. 

🍁 Lake Johnson Park | 4601 Avent Ferry Rd. | Rent a boat + admire the leaves from the water or bring a hammock and enjoy the fall views from one of the park’s hammocking spots.

🍁 Neuse River Trail | 20 Anderson Point Dr. | There are plenty of opportunities to see the fall foliage change along the Neuse River, on boardwalk areas through wetlands, and agricultural fields.


In the Triangle



🍁 Swift Creek Greenway | 3500 Regency Pkwy, Cary | Wheelchair accessible | This short trail is the first greenway in the US built completely with recycled products.

🍁 Fred G. Bond Metro Park | 801 High House Rd., Cary | This ~300-acre park includes Bond Lake, athletic fields, the Sertoma Amphitheatre, and the Lazy Daze Playground.

🍁 Falls Lake at Beaverdam | 14600 Creedmoor Rd., Wake Forest | Recommended by one of our Instagram followers (@frontporchportraits), this spot gives both beautiful foliage + water views. 

🍁 Lake Crabtree County Park | 1400 Aviation Pkwy, Morrisville | Visitors can find gardens, picnic shelters, playgrounds + trails.

🍁 American Tobacco Trail | 1309 New Hill Olive Chapel Rd., | Wheelchair accessible | This extensive trail has great foliage views, as well as biking, skating + horseback riding.    

More NC spots

🍁 Raven Rock State Park | 3009 Raven Rock Rd., Lillington (~1 hour from Raleigh) | Wheelchair accessible picnic areas | Check out the leaves as you canoe along the Cape Fear Canoe Trail, which is over 50 miles long.

🍁 Medoc Mountain State Park | 1541 Medoc State Park Rd., Hollister (~1 hour 15 minutes from Raleigh) | Wheelchair accessible picnic areas | Watch the leaves + enjoy a meal at the picnic shelter, which has tables, a grill, and a fireplace.

🍁 Uwharrie National Forest | 789 NC Hwy 24, Troy (~1.5 hours from Raleigh)| This national forest spans 52,000 acres and is a favorite of North Carolinians.

🍁 Hanging Rock State Park | 1790 Hanging Rock Park Rd., Danbury (~2.5 hours from Raleigh) | Wheelchair accessible | This state park has over 20 miles of hiking trails that include spectacular views and weave alongside streams + waterfalls.

🍁 South Mountains State Park | 3001 South Mountain Park Ave., Connelly Springs (~3 hours and 15 minutes from Raleigh) | This scenic spot has 15+ trails that accommodate hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers.

🍁 Crabtree Falls | 39000 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Marion (~4 hours from Raleigh) | Access this trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway for a chance to see waterfalls + snap incredible photos.  

Pro tip: Be sure to check the park’s website for hours, closures, and COVID-19 updates.