Where to See the Best Fall Colors

by Kristina Riehle
Here's our list of the best places to see fall colors - all within 2 hours of Winston-Salem!

It’s no secret that North Carolina has one of the most amazing fall seasons! Depending on the place, you can spot fall colors from the end of September all the way up until early November. Here are our favorite spots where you can see the best fall colors in and around Winston-Salem. 

Pilot Mountain State Park

Hike along miles of trails or drive to the top, either way Pilot Mountain’s views won’t disappoint. See the Sauratown and Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance while enjoying the beautiful shades of reds, yellows, and oranges during peak season. Be sure to arrive early or call ahead, fall is a busy season and this park sometimes fills to capacity on weekends. 

Hanging Rock State Park

You can take an easy stroll around the lake or go see some of the waterfalls for a view of the best fall colors this area has to offer. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike to the top of Hanging Rock Trail or Moore’s Knob, where you’ll be greeted with miles of views and colorful leaves on display! No matter your taste, Hanging Rock provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy all fall has to offer. 

Old Salem Museums and Gardens

If you’re looking to stick a little closer to the city you might enjoy a walk through Old Salem! During the fall, the trees that line the cobblestone sidewalks put on a spectacular show. You can also take a guided tour through the historic village lined with old homes and different shops to explore. This little part of the city just has something unique about it, and you’ll love all the fall vibes it has to offer! 

Reynolda Mile

Take a quick drive down the one mile stretch of Reynolda Road that is lined with maples! Located in between Coliseum Drive and Wake Forest University, this stretch of road offers some of the most beautiful colors without ever leaving the car. 

Uwharrie National Forest

This National Forest has some of the oldest mountains on the continent. The 50,000-acre national forest is also home to miles and miles of color-loaded trails and offers scenic views of Badin Lake. 

Salem Lake

The little oasis inside the city known as Salem Lake lines itself with oranges, yellows and reds every fall. It’s a gorgeous place to watch a sunrise and take in the beautiful colors that reflect off the lake. 

Blue Ridge Parkway

It’s no secret that this scenic drive in the Virginia and North Carolina mountains boast spectacular color throughout the fall. From the high elevations beginning to peak in the first weeks of October to the low elevations in the valleys turning at the end of November, you’re sure to see beautiful color along every portion of this drive. Some of our favorite spots to view fall colors include the areas around Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct

Blue Ridge Parkway

The short and easy hike up Rough Ridge provides beautiful 360 views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Want a beautiful fall sunrise? Hike the short trail up to Beacon Heights and be blown away by the beautiful colors as the sun rises over the mountains. 

Thunder Hill Overlook and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park have some wonderful spots you can view fall colors as well. 

Want some reflections? Julian Price Lake and Sims Pond are both gorgeous places to stop and see an array of yellows, reds and oranges lining the still waters of these areas. 

The views never cease to amaze on the parkway, and if you’re willing to drive outside the 2 hours you can head towards Asheville with beautiful views along the way, or take it all the way to Shenandoah National Park. Enjoy chasing the color!