Week One: Pennsylvania fall foliage reports

Weather Headlines

A brightly colored leaf in full fall color October 24, 2015 along Skyline drive in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Thousands of visitors descended on the park Saturday creating miles of traffic backups at all of the entrances making traffic control a nightmare for police. AFP PHOTO/KAREN BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images)

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 

Deep-green foliage is the norm for the state, currently, but many areas are showing signs of the season. Recent frosts and cool nights are pushing development of color, as species noted to change early are beginning to reveal. Black gums, birches, and maples are sprinkling reds and yellows throughout Penn’s Woods. Drought conditions throughout a significant portion of the state could shorten what is expected to be a vibrant peak season. Forecasted rain beginning next week could quench commonwealth forests, preserving a long, colorful fall.

Northcentral Region 

Bureau staff in Moshannon State Forest (Clearfield, Centre, Elk counties) report several recent frosts and a dry summer, conditions that usually contribute to good color. These conditions, along with relatively low incidence of leaf spot diseases, give an optimistic outlook on fall color. Individual red and sugar maples are just beginning to change color, with a few black gums turning red as well. The best places for current fall foliage viewing in the district are the Penfield and Quehanna areas, where a scenic drive along the Quehanna Highway will reveal some nice color. Peak foliage is expected here in early October. 

Foresters report few changes in the oak-dominated forests of Elk and Cameron counties (Elk State Forest). 

Central Regions and Southcentral Regions

In Bald Eagle State Forest, a few yellow, red, and orange leaves have been observed on ridges. There is a bit more color in the valleys with goldenrod blooms accentuating the field edges. In the Seven Mountains area, black gums are displaying bright red along with a slight change of yellow/red in red maples along roads. With recent nighttime temperatures in the 40s, peak color is expected during the second to third week in October. 

In Buchanan State Forest (Franklin, Fulton, Bedford counties) a few black gums are changing to a dark red and birches are just beginning to yellow. State forest roads along ridgetops (and vistas along the way) are recommended for a scenic fall foliage drive. With fall foliage season underway, peak is expected in the region in mid-October

In Rothrock State Forest, Huntingdon County, the late summer drought along with patchy frost has left foliage largely unaffected. Dogwoods and black gums are reddening while black birch, red maple, and walnut trees are showing a tinge of yellow. The northern portion of the district (southern Centre County) will have the most colorful leaves now until peak color, which is expected in mid-October.

Find the full report here.

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