The best spots for leaf peeping near the Upstate
It’s Fall, y’all, and that means Upstate highways and byways will soon be filled with those looking for autumn adventures and vibrant fall foliage.
State parks throughout South Carolina’s Upstate are ideal for leaf peeping, especially those located on the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway. Discover Upcountry Carolina Association has compiled a list of the best places to see the changing leaves. Some are traditional and some you may not have thought about.
Caesars Head Overlook, Caesars Head State Park
The overlook at Caesars Head State Park has long been known as one of the best locations for viewing fall color in South Carolina. The view is stunning as you stand atop the outcropping and gaze at the Blue Ridge escarpment and Piedmont draped in a canopy of red, gold and yellow, with the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia as a backdrop.
Hike to Raven Cliff Falls, Caesars Head State Park
For a spectacular scene, take a moderately difficult hike through the forests of Caesars Head State Park to the observation platform at Raven Cliff Falls. This beautiful 400-foot cascade set against the backdrop of a forest blanketed in fall color appears as a painting suspended in time. The more adventurous can cross a suspension bridge and view the falls from above.
Jones Gap State Park
A different perspective for viewing the change of season is Jones Gap State Park north of Greenville. Located in a valley with the Middle Saluda River running through it, the Blue Ridge appears as a wall of color stretching up to the sky. Numerous hiking trails and trailside camping allow you to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.
Kings Mountain State Park
Located near Blacksburg, SC, Kings Mountain State Park offers a number of venues for viewing fall color. From hiking and nature to equestrian, trails of all types traverse the parks rolling hills where hardwoods offer a closeup of autumn’s colorful showcase. The park’s Living History Farm also is a visual masterpiece when draped in fall color. Visit the park for a day or reserve one of the many campsites for an overnight stay.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Blue Ridge GA
If you’d rather do your leaf peeping by train, you can kick back and enjoy a trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in nearby Blue Ridge, GA. This 26-mile roundtrip travels along the Toccoa River through the Chattahoochee National Forrest. The train stops for a layover on the Georgia-Tennessee border in the neighboring towns of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN, where you can shop or grab lunch. Special discounts are available for military personnel and first responders. Fares start from $54.
Fall Foliage Prediction Map
Before you head out, be sure to check out the 2019 Fall Foliage Map on SmokyMountains.com. This interactive map changes as you swipe through the seasonal timeline to show where fall foliage is minimal, patchy, partial, near peak, peak and past peak.