WNC Weather and Climate Information

Asheville, NC, WNC's largest city, has a mild climate year-round. At an elevation just over 2000', the climate in Asheville is definitely different from surrounding Southeastern cities. Several towns in Western NC are considerably higher than Asheville - up to 5500' at Beech Mountain - so keep this in mind as elevation is one of the prime factors affecting weather.

Below is a roundup of typical climactic conditions in and around the Asheville area. Areas above and North of Asheville are generally cooler and wetter, while areas south and lower than Asheville are generally warmer and wetter.

Temperatures are typically in the mid 80's, with only occasionally 90 or above, and scattered afternoon thunderstorms are likely. The cool forests, cold streams, and high mountain elevations offer respite from the heat on rare occasions when it gets too hot to ride in the valleys. When cold fronts do move through, widespread heavy rain can occur, and influence from tropical systems - rain and wind - is possible toward late summer.

This season offers spectacular leaf displays, cooler temperatures (60's and 70's), clear, dry, crisp air, and great weather for mountain biking. This is, on average, the driest season. Early fall brings the possibility of tropical systems with rain and wind. The best fall colors are from late September on the highest peaks to late October or early November in the valleys.

You will experience occasional snow during this wet season, with average highs in the 40's and 50's; however extreme cold and snow is not at all uncommon, as are days that are sunny and 60 degrees. The snow generally melts quickly, though it may stay around for a month or more at higher elevations. Trails may be icy and high-elevation wet trails may require avoidance due to large slabs of ice.

Can bring wildly varying weather--anything from snow, to heat waves in the 90's, but it's usually mild and fairly wet. It's also very scenic as the new leaves and wildflowers advance higher and higher in elevation.


p>Of course, these are only general summaries, and the weather doesn't always fall into neat little generals. Check out this description for an example:

"May 2, 1999.I am on the Black Mountain trail. The trees in the valley are in full leaf. Here on the ridgeline they are bare, but the buds are swelling and wildflowers are out everywhere. Although we've only climbed to 4000' elevation and it is 75 degrees, we are starting to see patches of snow in the woods! Snow is even covering parts of the trail. With 2500' of elevation between us and the highest mountains, which are completely white-capped, I am convinced that snow is possible in these majestic heights at any time of the year.

Remember that the weather can change quickly. Severe summer thunderstorms can form in an hour or less on days that start clear. The weather at high elevations is much more severe - it's 10-15 or more degrees colder (temperatures above 6000 feet rarely exceed 75 degrees), much windier, and always wetter than the valleys below. As much as five feet of snow have been recorded in the high elevations in the late spring during one storm, and temperatures can be in the 30's at night then. Be prepared for whatever weather is possible during the entirety of your trip. Stay away from high, exposed areas or mountaintops during thunderstorms. Dress in layers for warmth, and wear proper, appropriate clothing (of course). Check the weather before each trip.

Asheville, NC Monthly Average Weather Data
Month High Temperature Low Temperature Mean Temperature Precipitation Record High Record Low
January 46° 27° 36° 3.07" 78° (1999) -17° (1985)
February 50° 29° 40° 3.19" 78° (1989) -5° (1996)
March 58° 36° 47° 3.89" 87° (1985) 4° (1980)
April 67° 44° 55° 3.16" 89° (1986) 22° (1982)
May 74° 52° 63° 3.53" 93° (1996) 30° (1989)
June 81° 60° 70° 3.24" 98° (1952) 39° (1966)
July 84° 64° 74° 2.97" 98° (1993) 49° (1963)
August 83° 62° 73° 3.34" 99° (1983) 46° (1986)
September 77° 56° 67° 3.01" 95° (1954) 33° (1967)
October 68° 45° 56° 2.40" 88° (1954) 23° (1962)
November 58° 37° 47° 2.93" 83° (1950) 1° (1950)
December 50° 30° 40° 2.59" 81° (1951) -8° (1983)