The vibrant display of leaves as autumn approaches is a wonderful excuse to take to the open road and go leaf peeping. Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower, according to Albert Camus. Whether you choose to take a leisurely drive around town, go on a day excursion nearby, or embark on a long road trip, taking in the breathtaking fall foliage is a positive experience that is cost-free to enjoy. What more do you need?
Why Leaves Alter Their Color
Have you ever wondered how trees, vines, bushes, and shrubs transform themselves into a stunning spectrum of hues for the fall? The days get shorter as summer gives way to October.
The days get shorter as summer turns into fall, which means there are less hours of sunlight. The absence of sunlight and growing nighttime chill send a message to the leaves to stop making chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their year-round green color. Other colours emerge when the chlorophyll degrades, giving rise to the stunning variety of reds, purples, yellows, and oranges you see in the autumn.
When the Leaves Will Change
This year, autumn officially starts on September 22nd, but if you look at the trees in most of the country, you won't be able to tell. Trees in the most northern regions of the country begin to show a hint of fall color by mid-September, though the shift from green to other colors varies slightly from year to year and relies on how long it takes for the warm summer temperatures to dissipate.
As trees change in the next weeks, the country's middle and lower reaches gradually make the transition to color. The changeover occurs later in the year in the country's warmer parts, with the first changes appearing in early to mid-October.
In the most northern and elevated regions of the nation, the earliest indications of fall color may always be seen. For instance, where the height is over 4,000 feet, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park experiences color change as early as the first or second week of September. Up until roughly mid-October, the forested lands below this level are primarily green.
Drive through the fall foliage
Not in a region known for its fall foliage? It's time to make travel plans! Select the most picturesque route through the countryside for a relaxing day excursion. You'll be able to see the most trees if you move more slowly. Look for parks or vistas on the route on the map. You may want to pause for lunch or perhaps to take pictures. When choosing your route for a longer journey, such as one lasting a few days or weeks in your RV, consider the best time to visit the locations you most want to see. For instance, drive from north to south along the east coast to witness the trees at their most captivating.
Northern regions experience the first appearance of fall colors. Just remember to confirm opening hours and camping regulations in advance by calling or visiting the state park website.
Expected Peak Viewing Times
Within a week or ten days, the autumnal colors might change dramatically. The timing also depends on where in the nation you are. Peak viewing has historically occurred between October 5 and October 11 each year. The peak of the fall foliage is expected to appear in much of the country later this year, around mid-October, according to experts.
Washington and Oregon will have the best viewing conditions in the Pacific Northwest from roughly October 12 through October 19. The country's center operates on a later schedule. Peak viewing occurs in Kentucky and Tennessee from the last few days of October to the first week of November, including the well-known Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Similar to other warmer states, the Hill Country in central Texas experiences its best viewing around the final week of October and the first and second weeks of November.
Have fun viewing your fall colors.