The area where I live is in a unique position, adjoining a large lake with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on one side of the lake and the Nantahala National Forest on the other side. We live within and our property adjoins the Nantahala National Forest wilderness area. We are also near the Nantahala River, a popular destination for whitewater rafters and kayakers from all over the country. The word Nantahala is derived from a Cherokee word, meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun”. It was named this because in some spots, the forests and gorges are so deep and thick, the sun only reaches them when directly overhead at midday. It is the largest national forest in NC, with elevations ranging from 1200 to 5800 feet. We live at an elevation of about 1700 feet. The Appalachian trail winds through this area, on it’s way to the Smokies. The A.T. is a more than 2000-mile long hiking trail, extending from Springer Mountain, Georgia all the way to Mount Katahdin, Maine.
Fall color is reaching its peak right now in the 2500 to 4000 foot elevations, and since we have such a wide range of elevations and so many different species of hardwood trees, leaf color will continue to be beautiful on into November, especially in the lower elevations. Click any photo for a larger version.