Autumn looks good on the Appalachian Mountains. When the rolling hills and bouldering peaks unfurl their spatters of reds, yellows, and fiery oranges, there’s nothing better than wrapping up in your favorite fall clothes and setting out on a leaf-looking adventure.
The colorful views abound almost everywhere you turn in Franklin, so where do you go for the optimal landscape overlook?
For the hikers
For anyone who likes to venture out into the mountains themselves, Wayah Bald Tower is a can’t-miss during the fall. The old stone fire tower is perched at 5,342 feet elevation with a massive 180-degree overlook, and you can see how Autumn paints the landscape as far as the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and all the way to the Georgia foothills.
If you want to feel more perched on the edge of the mountain, check out Pickens Nose! Yes, that’s actually it’s name, and it really will take your breath away. After a short half-mile hike—just enough to make you feel like a mountain explorer without having to break out the boots—the view is absolutely stunning.
Looking for a challenge? Hike the Bartram Trail to William’s pulpit, and you truly feel like you’re clinging to the edge of the mountain. The gorgeous rising-and-falling trail dotted with waterfalls leads to a bare rock where you can lay back and soak in the cool breeze and riot of color.
For the drivers
Maybe you’d like to be in the middle of it all while staying in your AC and reclining car seats. No judgement here! If that’s the case, so the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway is a must see. While it checks in at 61 miles, you can wind through some of the most spectacular country in the Nantahala National Forest, including multiple waterfalls, a roaring whitewater river, and tremendous mountaintop views, without getting too far from Franklin itself.
Keeping it even closer to home is feasible, too! If you’d rather shoot for the road less traveled by with a much shorter distance, the views from Onion Mountain are exactly what you need. Checking in at only 25 minutes from Main Street, the scenic overlook and trail are perched above a stunning view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The road itself winds through residential areas, so traffic is low and the solitude is sweet at the overview itself.
For the strolling wanderers
Some of us simply want to enjoy the comforts of civilization and the rugged beauty of the mountains at the same time, and to that we say “yes, please!” Downtown Franklin sits on a hill in the valley, so you can enjoy an elevated view of the basin itself from either end of Main Street as you shop, dine, and play.
For those who want to dive deeper into the valley, check out Parker Meadows Complex! The park has several baseball and softball fields, a playground, and a walking trail that flirts with the tree line. There’s even creek access if you’d like to dip your toes in and wade through a mountain stream!
Wrap yourself in Autumn beauty!
No matter how you prefer to enjoy the colors of fall in the mountains, you’ll never forget a trip to Franklin, North Carolina when the leaves are out in full array—and we hope to see you again next year!