Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 6, 2017

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 10/6/17

Eastern Region National Forests reports

Illinois
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
No major changes in foliage this week on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. The prairie is still full of color including blues, yellows, and whites from asters and goldenrod.

Shawnee National Forest Fall color change has just begun on the Shawnee National Forest, so the majority of the rolling Shawnee Hills are still very green. Early species that are the first to change, like dogwoods, sumac, sycamore and tulip poplar trees have turned their bright red and yellow hues. The region hasn’t had significant rain in the last month so the lack of late summer precipitation will likely effect how good the fall color season will be. Besides the beautiful scenery and recreation opportunities there is sure to find something to do in nearby communities in the many fall fests held in October. With daytime highs in the upper 70s and nights in the upper 50s it’s the ideal time of year to enjoy southern Illinois. To assist in your trip planning visit: Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau or Illinois Ozarks Tourism.

Indiana
Hoosier National Forest Fall is starting here on the Hoosier National Forest, but we are still a couple weeks away from the most vibrant colors.  Walnut trees are continuing to drop their leaves while gums and sumac are showing color.  Some poplars are beginning to turn yellow while the majority of maples are holding onto their greens. There are random trees throughout (and maybe a few more on the north end of the Forest) that might surprise you. There is some rain predicted for this weekend; however, daytime weather is still somewhat warmer with cooler nights.

Michigan
Hiawatha National Forest Colors are still around the 20 to 25% peak range on the Hiawatha National Forest. Unusually warm temperatures have hung around even longer than anticipated, which means that our brilliant colors will just come a little later this year. Local forecasters predict peak in mid to late October

Huron-Manistee National Forests Areas on the Huron side of the Huron-Manistee National Forests feature hard woods, such as aspens, oaks, and maples, which are showing inconsistent signs of color change. Some areas have groups of trees changing at the same rate, and other areas remain mostly green. Only a few sporadic trees have hit peak, but most of the understory are changing color. Great areas to start seeing change include the area around Sprinkler Lake and Indian Lakes which consist of a lot of hard woods, compared to areas along river road or near Lake Huron, which consist mostly of pines. Very few trees have completely lost their leaves, or have turned completely brown. This can been found within areas that have dense oaks, or dense aspens.

On the Manistee side, warmer temperatures appear to have slowed the progression of leaves. Some maples are now approaching peak; however, oaks and other hardwoods are just starting to turn. Popular routes through the forest, including M37, M55, M115 and US10, will be extremely colorful over the next week to 10 days

Ottawa National Forest Trees have been changing rapidly over the last few days on the Ottawa National Forest. While color coverage continues to vary throughout the Forest, the view is beautiful wherever you are headed. Fall color is most visible in the southern half of the Forest, further inland from Lake Superior.  As you travel closer to Lake Superior you will see an obvious difference.  With days becoming shorter and temperatures beginning to drop, it won’t take long for the trees to reach peak color.  At the rate the leaves have been changing recently, peak color in portions of the Ottawa will most likely be visible this week.  Hike to Wolf Mountain, Alligator Eye, Silver Mountain, or Bears Den Overlook to catch a glimpse of the spectacular views. If a fall drive is what you are after, there is no shortage of roads that will take you throughout the Forest.  There are plenty of waterfalls to visit along your fall drive as well.  Plan your visit to the Ottawa National Forest as soon as possible to catch a glimpse of the vibrant fall colors in the north woods. Remember, this is hunting season around the Ottawa, please wear orange when you are out in the Forest.

Minnesota
 Chippewa National Forest Fall color is at about 75% color in the northeast part of the Chippewa National Forest.  The aspen is starting to brighten up the Forest and the maples are well at peak. Fall color viewers from all over have been calling and visiting the forest headquarters this week looking for those colorful sites. The Lost Forty is a great place to visit at this time of the year! The Lost Forty is 144 acres of virgin pines and is now considered one of Minnesota’s treasures. You can also take advantage of the three scenic byways of the Forest. The Avenue of the Pines north of Deer River on State Highway 46, the Ladyslipper Scenic Byway Cass County 10/Beltrami County 39, and Edge of the Wilderness north of Grand Rapids on State Highway 38. With the various hunting seasons open in the forest, please remember to wear blaze orange when out in your Forest.

Superior National Forest Heavy rain and blustery winds have not been good for leaves on the Superior National Forest; however, we are having a second peak right now! Most maple leaves fell during the recent weather, but the birch and aspen are at their peak of fall yellow. Be sure to wear orange while in the woods as there are many hunters out right now.

New Hampshire White Mountain National ForestWe are beginning to see reds and oranges in pockets throughout the White Mountain National Forest, with color change ranging from 20 to 40%. In some of the higher elevations, you can also see some dark reds. Not much change since last week but temperatures are getting cooler.

Ohio
Wayne National Forest The Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio is still at the beginning of its fall color extravaganza, but change is definitely in the air! The maple leaves are now turning yellow and orange; some of them will deepen to red later this season. Pokeberries have ripened to a pretty purple, adding their color to the autumn palette. They are an important food source to songbirds like cardinals and mockingbirds. They look similar to grapes, but watch out! They are poisonous to humans and many other mammals, so keep children and pet dogs and cats away from them.

Pennsylvania
Allegheny National Forest The leaves changed very little from last week on the Allegheny National Forest, with peak color at about 35%. Look for more vibrant colors to come next week!

West Virginia
Monongahela National ForestHigher elevations across the Monongahela National Forest are currently nearing peak while valleys are just getting started with their color change. The Cheat Mountain offers great viewing opportunities this weekend, while traveling US Route 250 you can take FS Road 27 to Gaudineer Knob for some fantastic views from the Gaudineer Knob scenic area where color is at 70% peak. If you are looking for fun and entertainment stop by the City of Elkins as they celebrate the 81st Mountain State Forest Festival https://www.forestfestival.com/ going on now through October 8. It is one of the largest and oldest festivals in West Virginia.

Wisconsin
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest The colors are changing more and more each day across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest! With cooler temperatures at night, the leaves are beginning to show their true colors. Visitors will enjoy stretches of brilliant fall colors along the tree lined Forest Roads, trails and recreation areas. Many of the campgrounds remain open through the fall for visitors to experience the Forest aglow. There are many fall festivals happening this weekend for visitors to enjoy. For more details on the Wisconsin Fall Color Report visit www.travelwisconsin.com/fall-color-report

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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