The beauty of autumn attracts large numbers of sightseers to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. People often ask when “peak” season will occur. In a park that is nearly 470 miles long and varies over 5,000 feet in elevation, there is no simple way to predict fall color. The intensity and timing of changes are determined by complex environmental factors and the genetic makeup of the plants themselves. For those with lucky timing, the view is incredible. Photo by Philip Varney (www.sharetheexperience.org).