Week Four: 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 

Spectacular autumn color persists throughout the commonwealth this week! From the northwest to the central Appalachians and Laurel Highlands to the Poconos, incredible fall scenery awaits. Cold nights in the forecast this weekend will likely snap southeastern forests into vivid color soon. With below average temperatures expected next week, the outlook for fall color remains outstanding for the commonwealth. 

Northwestern Region 

The district manager in Cornplanter State Forest District (Warren, Erie counties) related “bursting” color throughout northwestern Pennsylvania. The landscape is displaying a vivid mix of colors including yellow, orange, red, maroon, rust and amber shades. Recent rains have dropped some leaves, but this should be a great week for viewing the colors of fall! Route 6 around Warren and routes 8 and 62 along the Allegheny River are popular scenic drives. Also, consider traveling some back roads for unique opportunities to enjoy the beautiful foliage of Pennsylvania.

Northcentral Region

Forestry staff in Moshannon State Forest report vivid, peak color remaining in the district. Maples, hickories, yellow poplar, and sassafras are still quite nice, but good color won’t last much longer as leaves have been falling consistently. Beeches and oaks are beginning to add their vibrant colors to the forest landscape. A recommended drive is Route 153 to Parker Dam State Park, Penfield, and Boone Mountain. 

Foresters in Sproul State Forest (Clinton, Centre counties) reported that even though some trees lost their leaves during windy weather earlier in the week, remaining foliage is at peak color. Sightseers can expect conditions at full, vibrant color this weekend. The Elk County service forester reported that wind and rain removed many leaves from red maples, but birches and sugar maples are still showing nice color. Oak color is still mostly green in the district but should progress with cold weather this weekend. Visitors are recommended to view the sights at the Elk Country Visitor Center, where fall foliage can be appreciated while listening to the sounds of bugling wild elk. 

West-central and Southwestern Regions

Forbes State Forest staff reported peak fall color across much of the Laurel Highlands. Forests across Laurel Ridge and Somerset County are showing their best of the season. Oaks continue to slowly join in on the fall color, displaying burgundy, yellow, and brown. While many oaks still have much green foliage, this week will be the most colorful of the fall season for the Laurel Highlands. Chestnut Ridge, slightly lower in elevation than Laurel Ridge, will see peak fall color this weekend and into next week. Look for hickory trees displaying bright yellow this week in southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Greene and Washington counties are excellent locations to see the countryside dotted with golden yellow, hickory foliage. Visit Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County for a nice hike or take in the bright colors around Keystone Lake. Take a hike to view the diverse forest of oak, yellow poplar, and maple in the Braddock Division of Forbes State Forest in Fayette County, south of Uniontown. A short hike to Cole Run Falls in the Blue Hole Division of Forbes State Forest, Somerset County, will provide great photo opportunities.

The Cambria County service forester (Gallitzin State Forest) observed nice, peak color for most areas within the district. Oaks are still mainly green, but red and sugar maple have fully turned, along with walnuts, redbud, cherry, and birch. Don’t delay your visit as many leaves are beginning to fall. A trip to the Rager Mountain Division is recommended for viewing awesome fall color of the northern hardwoods in the area. Parking can be found off Dishong Mountain Road south of Route 22.

Central and Southcentral Regions

In Buchanan State Forest (Franklin, Fulton, Bedford counties), fall foliage will likely peak toward the end of the forecasting week. Cold temperatures expected this weekend will push a rapid change. 

Rothrock State Forest continues at peak fall color, currently, but could begin fading by the middle of next week. Beautiful color remains on maples, birches, and hickories. Oak species are just beginning to show some bright hues, adding yellow, russet, and copper. A trip to the Trough Creek Division or Alan Seeger Natural Area is recommended to observe some truly gorgeous fall scenery this weekend.

Find the full report here.

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