Trail Notes: 5 easy hikes for leaf peeping

Trail Team 11

Fall colors at Bays Mountain. (B.Stack/WJHL)

If you haven’t already seen a bunch of fall color photos on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok, you probably will be soon. The leaves are starting to pop and the leaf peepers are headed into our area.

If you’re looking for some easy hikes to catch some gorgeous photos of your own, we’ve got you covered. Here’s five of our favorites.

1. Walking the old road at Warriors’ Path


The hardest thing about this trail might just be getting to the trailhead. The Holston Bluff Loop Trail starts in the currently closed overflow campground at Warriors’ Path State Park. You must park at the part hq and walk over. The loop provides ample opportunity for fall color and a section along Fort Patrick Henry Lake gives you a chance for some gorgeous photos with double the color.

2. Adventure at the Breaks

A view of the Breaks from the Geological Trail. (B.Stack/WJHL)

If you’re looking for hikes to overlooks with sweeping views of trees, head to Breaks Interstate Park. Most of the trails are shorter with lots of trees and/or to overlooks of the Grand Canyon of the South. I particularly recommend the Stateline Overlook.

3. A wildflower walk becomes leaf peeping paradise

The Blue 2 Trail at Roan Mountain State Park (B.Stack/WJHL)

I hiked Blue 2 Trail at Roan Mountain State Park looking for wildflowers. That hike is known for it. But this nearly green tunnel with be a verifiable rainbow as the leaves change. It’s a perfect little hike to do on the way to or from Carvers Gap.

4. An tower with a view


This hike is perfect if you aren’t looking for something particularly challenge but with a great payoff. The hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Green Knob Observation Tower is roughly 0.6 miles one way. Switchbacks make the small elevation gain very easy to deal with. Sadly the observation tower deck is closed. However, you can climb the stairs to get the great view above. Now – just image the leaves as yellow, orange and red… Makes me want to go back ASAP.

5. Saunter in the smokies


Many times you may think of the words “uphill” and “difficult” when hiking in the Smokies. This one, however, is neither. The River Trail is located at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the Cherokee, N.C. side of the mountains. It’s easy, well marked and you have the opportunity of seeing the elk that like to call the neighborhood home.

Don’t forget to send us your leaf peeper photos. Email them to us at or send them to us in a message to our Facebook page.

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