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This is when you can expect to see the best fall color in North Carolina

Fall is right around the corner. Here's when you can expect to see peak fall colors in the North Carolina mountains.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fall is right around the corner in the Carolinas, which means many people are already looking forward to leaf-peeping

And even though Thursday, Sept. 1 was the start of meteorological fall, it will still feel like summer across the Carolinas for a few more weeks.

But with the calendar turning to September and the smell of pumpkin spice in the air, it's never too early to make your fall plans, which should include viewing fall foliage in the North Carolina mountains

WCNC Charlotte chief meteorologist Brad Panovich is already counting down to peak color, sharing some graphics Wednesday showing the average peak fall color dates in the mountains and foothills of western North Carolina. 

"Soon!" Panovich tweeted, to the delight of fall lovers who are simply done with the sweltering Carolina summer heat. 

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When to expect peak fall color in North Carolina

Credit: WCNC Charlotte

🌩ī¸ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. đŸŽĨ

We still have a few weeks to go until the 2022 fall leaf forecast is released by the WCNC Charlotte weather team. Keep in mind that the following dates are averages and should give you a general idea of when we could see peak color. 

Generally speaking, most areas of North Carolina won't see peak color until October. The highest elevations reach peak color soonest, typically by Oct. 7 in areas near Burnsville, Waynesville and Cullowhee. This area includes the Cherokee National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains. 

By mid-October, about a week to two weeks before Halloween, most of the High Country will be at peak color. This includes Boone, Blowing Rock, Little Switzerland and areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway heading toward Asheville. 

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Credit: WCNC Charlotte

If you do plan on hiking or taking a day trip to the mountains during this time, expect heavy traffic and busy trails. Folks travel from across the country to see the mountains during autumn. 

By the time Halloween and the first week of November arrive, you can expect peak color in the foothills of North Carolina. This includes the Interstate 40 corridor in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties. You can see gorgeous fall color in the cities and towns of Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton, Taylorsville and Wilkesboro at this time, with some color still lingering in the mountains. 

After Nov. 5, you can expect peak fall color to be widespread in the Piedmont. This includes the Charlotte metro area and surrounding counties. Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia, Lincolnton, Monroe, Mooresville, Rock Hill, Salisbury and Statesville should see peak color by this time. 

Contact Brad Panovich at bpanovich@wcnc.com or follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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