Week Five: Pennsylvania fall foliage reports

Weather Headlines

To predict peak season from the colors, use these guidelines: 

➢ Dark Green/No Change= peak is three weeks to a month away 

➢ Light Green/Starting to Change= peak is approximately two to three weeks away 

➢ Yellow/Approaching Best Color= peak is approximately one week away 

➢ Orange/Best Color= foliage is peaking this week 

➢ Red/Starting to Fade= still some nice color but won’t last more than a few more days 

➢ Brown/Past Peak= all or nearly all color is gone 

Statewide Fall Foliage Overview 

Although much of the northern half of the commonwealth is fading or past peak, vivid fall color has arrived in the south. Dazzling autumn scenery can be found from the central and southern Appalachians to the south-Pocono region. Fantastic fall hues are also on display from the Lehigh Valley to South Mountain, extending eastward into the lower Delaware Valley. With the fall foliage season progressing into its latter stages, the time is now to get out and enjoy some awe-inspiring, late season fall color in Penn’s Woods!

Northcentral Region

Forestry staff in Moshannon State Forest reported maple and cherry are past peak, and wind last week blew down many leaves. Beeches are a golden yellow with a hint of orange, and black birch is bright yellow as well. Huckleberry and blueberry are at peak bright red. The progression of oaks continues with yellow and occasionally red colors observed. Recommended drives to see good color are the Quehanna Highway, routes 504 and 153, and US 322. 

Foresters in Sproul State Forest (Clinton, Centre counties) reported fading color in the region. Despite most maples dropping their leaves, the abundant oak forests of the district are displaying a colorful mix of red to orange hues. Warm fall color at the historic Watrous CCC camp. (photo by T. Oliver) 

The Elk County service forester observed that wind and rain removed many leaves from red maples, but red oaks are turning red to brown. Birches and sugar maples are still showing nice color. 

West-central and Southwestern Regions

Forbes State Forest staff reported fading color across the Laurel Highlands, but oaks are beginning to show colorful shades of yellow, brown, and maroon. Visitors to the Laurel Highlands should focus on oak forests to see the best color. American beech and yellow poplar are still vibrant, showing some of their best colors this week. Chestnut ridge will continue at peak early this week, but it won’t last long. 

Foresters in Gallitzin State Forest (Cambria, Somerset, Blair counties) observed fading color for most areas within the district. Nice fall colors can still be found near the Babcock Division along Route 56. Consider taking a hike on the County Line Trail to observe the later-changing red oak forest.

Central and Southcentral Regions

In Buchanan State Forest (Franklin, Fulton, Bedford counties), full fall color abounds. With pleasant weather on the way, this weekend is setting up for prime foliage viewing. Birches, maples, and hickories are vibrant, with oaks just beginning to add color. Consider a picnic at the Sideling Hill Picnic Area (Fulton County) to observe some beautiful fall scenery. 

In Rothrock State Forest, foliage has just peaked and is beginning to wane. While many birches and maples have great color, they are losing more leaves each day and treetop branches are starting to show. Oaks are peaking now and holding most of their leaves, but these leaves will drop soon too. Even though leaf color is at or just past peak, the colors are still magnificent, and the ridgetop vistas continue to be the best viewing locations in the district. 

Find the full report here.

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