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7 Spots for Gorgeous Fall Foliage Near the Triangle Suburbs

Fall is finally here! The weather is (slowly) getting cooler, and here in the Triangle, fall foliage is on its way soon! If you’re looking for a way to get outside, stretch your legs a bit, and enjoy some gorgeous autumn colors, we’ve got some recommendations.

Here are the best fall foliage spots near the Triangle suburbs.

Raven Rock State Park

raven rock state park in lillington, nc
Photo courtesy

Location: Lillington, NC
Best time for foliage: Early November

Located just outside of Lillington, NC, Raven Rock State Park is right in the heart of the Triangle area, so it’s a perfect day trip. Its miles of hiking trails traverse steep terrain through mountain laurel and dense woods, yielding breathtaking views over the Cape Fear River atop a 150-foot bluff.

Jordan Lake State Park

jordan lake at sunset

Location: Apex/Cary
Best time for fall foliage: Early November

Surrounding the massive Jordan Lake, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area is a local favorite for all kinds of outdoor adventures—boating, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, swimming, and more. And during the autumn season, it’s an especially beautiful time of year for leaf-peeping, particularly around sunset.

Occoneechee Mountain State Park

occoneechee mountain state natural area

Location: Hillsborough, NC
Best time for foliage: Early November

Another easy Triangle-area day trip, Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area isn’t just a great place for witnessing beautiful fall colors or fishing along the banks of the Eno River. It also offers hiking trails climbing to the highest point in the Triangle area. The Overlook Trail traverses oak forest to the summit of Occoneechee Mountain, for gorgeous views over the Eno River.

Medoc Mountain State Park

medoc mountain state park

Location: Brinkleyvill, NC
Best time for foliage: Early November

Located a little ways outside of the Triangle (north of Rocky Mount, about an hour northeast of Raleigh), Medoc Mountain State Park is well-worth the drive, thanks to its variety of trees, like sweet gum trees, birch, and alder, which put on an amazing display of reds and yellows. The park features a scenic Fishing Creek, as well as about 10 miles of hiking trails, some of which climb several hundred feet to the top of Medoc Mountain for truly magnificent views.

Uwharrie National Forest

views from uwharrie national forest
Photo courtesy Dan Harvey |

Location: Troy, NC
Best time for foliage: Late October, early November

Also a little ways outside of the Triangle (about an hour and 45 minutes west and a little south of Raleigh), Uwharrie National Forest spans over 50,000 acres and encompasses an enormous variety of gorgeous fall colors. Thanks to its immense size, Uwharrie offers a nearly endless array of outdoor activities—hiking, biking, camping, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, nature view, outdoor learning, and more.

Hanging Rock State Park

hanging rock state park views from the top
Photo courtesy

Location: Danbury, NC
Best time for foliage: Late October, early November

Located north of Winston-Salem, Hanging Rock State Park is about two hours and 15 minutes west and north of Raleigh, making it a doable day trip but also a great weekend getaway. The short hike to the summit yields absolutely spectacular views of the brightly-colored Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, the Piedmont to the east, and the beautiful George Washington National Forest to the north. The park offers 20+ miles of additional hiking rails, a stock fishing lake, canoe rentals, biking trails, and even rock climbing.

South Mountains State Park

gorgeous colors at south mountain state park
Photo courtesy

Location: Connelly Springs, NC
Best time for foliage: Mid to late October

Sitting northwest of Charlotte and just east of the Pisgah National Forest, South Mountains State Park is a bit of a drive (about 3 and a half hours from Raleigh), but it’s a great leaf-peeping getaway, thanks to its 40+ miles of rugged hiking trails, its gorgeous waterfalls, and numerous opportunities for backcountry and equestrian camping. And since the park sits at 3,000 feet elevation, the fall colors start early!

Ready to Come Have Some Fun in the Triangle Suburbs?

Are you thinking of relocating to or buying a home in the Triangle area? Then it’s time to contact Ann Milton Realty. We want to help you explore the area, discover its unique community, and uncover the perfect home for you!

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