5 places to see fall color in Madison County, NC

Published September 13, 2023

Fall is almost here and Madison County, North Carolina, has some excellent opportunities to see beautiful fall color. Our section of the Appalachian Mountains is particularly attractive this time of year as the green leaves fade to yellow, orange and red. The vibrant colors attract visitors from all over the globe! Below is our list of some of the best places in Madison County to see that iconic autumn color.

Laurel River Trail

Just outside Marshall and Hot Springs is a very popular and easy hiking trail. The Laurel River Trail runs alongside the Laurel River (duh!) and provides amazingly colorful scenes along the river.

This is an excellent hike to do with kids, as the trail is very flat and wide. The changing colors of the trees along the river make the Laurel River Trail a great choice to see some fall color and is easy access.

Find out more about the Laurel River Trail here.

Bailey Mountain Preserve

Just outside the town of Mars Hill, and 20 minutes north of Asheville, is the scenic Bailey Mountain Preserve. This new trail and public area provides breathtaking country views that will leave you speechless.

1/4 mile up this trail, you’ll find a swinging bench overlooking the landscape that is perfect for taking in the beautiful mountains. Park and start your adventure at 885 Forest Street, Mars Hill, NC.

Lover’s Leap

Located in Hot Springs, NC, Lover’s Leap is “a must” for hikers and leaf-enthusiasts. This short hike climbs up on the Appalachian Trail and provides stellar views of the mountains, as well as the town of Hot Springs.

This convenient hike has a moderately challenging climb to the overlook spots, but is well-worth the exercise. Afterwards, Hot Springs is a perfect post-hike town to enjoy a meal and a drink.

Find out more about Lover’s Leap here.

Photo by Thomas Hughes

Max Patch

Max Patch is an iconic section of the Appalachian Trail that boasts unbelievable 360-degree views of the mountains. Located in the rural western part of Madison County, Max Patch is a jaw-dropping and short hike that is the full package for outdoor enthusiasts.

If you’re in the Asheville area, make sure Max Patch is on your list of places to visit. You won’t regret it.

Find out more about Max Patch here.

Photo by @caitlani9

Country roads

Sometimes the best way to enjoy the color of the mountains and forests is to simply drive around on Madison County’s many miles of country roads. Throughout October you’ll find autumn colors around every corner of the county.

Come see the incredible color in Madison County, NC this fall season! Alongside rivers, from the top of mountains and valley farmlands, you’ll find amazing fall foliage in Madison County.

Photo by @ firefly.cabin