Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 29, 2017

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 9/29/17

Eastern Region National Forests reports

Leaves are starting to fall, and yellows and oranges are starting to become visible in the trees of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. The prairie fields are also full of color with the blues yellows, and whites from asters and goldenrod. For a nice hike to take in fall splendor on the Midewin, check out the Prairie Creek Woods Trail.

The Shawnee National Forest is about 8% leaf color change. The oak, hickory and elm trees have a touch of bright yellow and brown, while the sassafras and sweet gum trees are beginning to turn red. Southern Illinois has had very little rain this fall and leaves are beginning to cover the forest floor.

The Hoosier National Forest is still in the very early stages of color. The black gums are beginning to turn purple on their way to scarlet red, while walnut are turning their bright yellow and sumacs a brilliant red.  Otherwise, throughout the Forest you will find random maples displaying bright yellows, oranges and reds, and a hickory tree turning its stunning golden yellow. Most of the cottonwoods and sycamore trees are almost bare. In town, ornamental trees are beginning to show off.  The coming weekend is predicted to be more fall like with cooler days and night time temps in the 50’s.  Pack up your camping gear and come enjoy the sights of fall on the Hoosier!

Colors are at about 25% on the Hiawatha National Forest. Unseasonably warm temperatures have slowed fall color change; however, with the prediction of cooler nights in the forecast, we anticipate the colors to really pop within the next week. For some glimpses of the Forest’s fall color offerings, check out Valley Spur, where the reed stocks are brightening up the pond edges and summer plants are turning a deep red in a meadow of grass.

The Ottawa National Forest is at approximately 30-50% color, in varying degrees across the Forest.  The fall color season got off to an early start; however, the rapid transition on the slowed somewhat due to warmer temperatures. With the days becoming shorter and cooler temperatures in the forecast, they will continue their brilliant changes.  Visitors will enjoy stretches of brilliant color along major road corridors and further inland from Lake Superior.  If a fall drive is what you are after, there are a plethora of roads available that provide spectacular views. Be sure to plan to stretch your legs at one of the Forest’s plentiful waterfalls. Remember, this is hunting season around the Ottawa, so please wear orange.

Autumn is definitely here at the Chippewa National Forest with the air crisp and cool at night and in the morning, and the leaves…they are a changing! The maples are bright and welcoming, while shrubs are displaying their own fall color and the asters have bloomed. There is some color decorating the forest floor as well due to recent winds and rain. Start planning your trip to the Chippewa as we are looking forward to fall color peak soon. It’s the perfect time of the year to pack a lunch, take a drive down a forest road and enjoy a picnic by one of the Forest’s many lakes. You can view bald eagles and fall colors at the same time in the peace and tranquility of your Forest!

The Superior National Forest is between peak inland from Lake Superior, with the North Shore at about 60% and inland around Ely at 60-70%. The aspen and birch are a brilliant yellow, with the maples contributing bright oranges and reds.  Some tamarack are just beginning to turn as well.  For some beautiful views, take a hike along Honeymoon Trail on the Tofte Ranger District or plan a fall camping trip at Two Island Lake Campground on the Gunflint Ranger District.

New Hampshire
The fall foliage season is underway in the White Mountain National Forest, with color change ranging from 20-40% depending on location. Bright red and orange pockets are starting to pop up, and in some of the higher elevations, you can see some deep reds. To catch some spectacular views of fall color, check out Kinsman Notch in Woodstock, New Hampshire or Rumney Rocks in Rumney, New Hampshire.

Enjoy National Public Lands Day on September 29 with a hike through the changing colors of early fall on the Wayne National Forest! Ripe nuts are falling from trees, including acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts, and of course buckeyes from our state tree. Goldenrods are blooming a brilliant yellow, providing flares of color in fields. Monarch butterflies are feeding off their nectar, adding to the fall splendor with their flashes of pumpkin orange. The monarch’s migration is winding down for southeast Ohio as they slowly flit past on their way to wintering grounds in Mexico. We hope you’ll catch a glimpse while they’re still around.

Several events are being held in support of Appalachian Ohio National Public Lands Day, as part of a regional coordinated effort with Rural Action to celebrate the 24th annual National Public Lands Day.

There is very little color change this week on the Allegheny National Forest.  Leaves are still around 30 % color change due to very warm temperatures. The temperature is predicted to be much cooler over the next few days, so keep an eye out for some beautiful emerging colors!

Fall color is now beginning to show nicely in the higher elevations of the Green Mountain National Forest. Vermonters and visitors should expect the most vibrant color to be visible throughout the next couple of weeks. For a nice burst of color, check out Grout Pond Recreation Area.

West Virginia
High temperatures in the past few days have brought fall color to a standstill throughout the Monongahela National Forest. While higher elevations are displaying some color, lower elevations are not seeing much change. Each Ranger District on the Forest offers some great spots to take in the burgeoning colors. In the Potomac Ranger District, Spruce Knob Observation Tower and Spruce KnobLake are presenting the best display of color this week. In the Greenbrier Ranger District, check out Lake Buffalo where leaves are starting their spectacular transformation. In a week or two the view from the Bickle Knob Observation Tower, providing a 360⁰ view overlooking the Appalachian Mountains, will be spectacular!

As always when visiting your national forests, safety first and know before you go! Hunting season has begun or will begin soon in many of the Eastern Region national forests. Please consider wearing blaze orange when you’re out exploring the woods.

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