Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 12, 2017

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 10/12/17

Eastern Region National Forests reports


Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Fall color on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie begins in September and usually ends by the middle of October. You’ll notice trees along roadways turning before trees further in the woods being to change. You’ll also notice the prairie flowers still in bloom! Mark your calendars for a Fall Color Hike on October 14, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (CDT).
Shawnee National Forest Fall color change is at about 30% in southern Illinois’s Shawnee National Forest, with much of the forest canopy still to display its vibrant colors. This week hickory and maple trees are now showing their bright red, yellow and orange hues joining the earlier trees that are the first to change such as dogwood, sycamore and tulip poplar. Cooler temps have moved into the region, along with shorter days; both aiding the continuing color transformation. Autumn is one of the best seasons to enjoy the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. To assist in your trip planning visit Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau or Illinois Ozarks Tourism.


Hoosier National Forest Definite changes are coming on the Hoosier National Forest!  Sweet gums are showing their deep reds and orange hues as the understory starts to take on some color.  Virginia creeper and dogwoods are turning red along with a scattering of maples showing off their colors.  We are still in the very early stages so much more color is on the way.  It will be a week or so before we are in full color but don’t miss the opportunity to come visit.  Our temperatures are becoming more fall like making a camping trip even more fun.  There are lots of festivals going on around our communities so don’t miss those as well.


Hiawatha National Forest Colors have arrived on the Hiawatha National Forest! The leaves are a variety of brilliant colors from reds, yellows and oranges. The colors are peaking about 25 miles inland from the Great Lakes shorelines. Colors along the shorelines are between 25-50%.
Huron-Manistee National Forests Many areas in the Huron National Forest show moderate signs of change, whereas areas outside of the forest, like private land, show near peak colors. Leaves that have changed in the forest, such as some oaks, aspens, and maples, have mostly lost their leaves. Areas of dense hard wood show brighter colors, but again, reside mostly on private property near or next to the forest.
Unseasonably warmer temperatures continue to slow color change on the Manistee National Forest. Hardwoods in low-lying or wet areas, as well as trees at the forest edge are showing bright yellows and orange. However, only individual trees within forest stands are starting to turn. It is possible to find a single tree already a bright red that is surrounded by green. As days turn cooler and more precipitation falls, expect to see a rapid change across the forest.
Ottawa National Forest all color throughout most of the Ottawa National Forest has reached peak or near peak this past week. Peak color is most visible inland from Lake Superior; however, fall color is really picking up intensity near Lake Superior. The fall foliage is very vulnerable to wind and rain, so don’t wait to make your way to the Ottawa and enjoy the beautiful scenery while it lasts. Hike to Wolf Mountain, Alligator Eye, Silver Mountain, or Bears Den Overlook to catch some spectacular views. If a fall drive is what you are after, there is no shortage of roads that will take you throughout the Forest. And, plan some time on your road trip to stretch and check out the plentiful waterfalls! Remember, this is hunting season around the Ottawa, please wear orange when you are out in the Forest. For more information on recreation opportunities, visit


Chippewa National Forest The fall colors are spectacular right now in the Chippewa National Forest with the leaves at peak! Enjoy one of the most beautiful scenic drive in the Walker District down the Stony Point campground road for an eye full of fall color. Any forest road here is very inviting this week, so pack up the vehicle, pack a lunch and take advantage of the fresh fall air with a day hike or a day drive in your forest. Camping, hiking and wildlife viewing are just a few of the activities still going on. Take a walk along Cass Lake’s sandy beach in the Norway Beach Recreation Area for a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle. Norway Beach is also one of the best places for bald eagle viewing. The Forest is known to have one of the highest breeding populations of bald eagles in the U.S.
Superior National Forest It’s a little after peak in much of the Superior National Forest, but there are some wonderful exceptions. The shore of Lake Superior including the Oberg Mt Trail and Superior Hiking Trail are very good right now with areas of full color and areas which have shed their leaves. There are still plenty of leaves, and beauty to behold in the woods.


Wayne National Forest The Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio is moving through its “changing” fall color status and approaching “near peak.” Many early leaves have already changed and fallen, while trees that change later are still green. Sycamores are yellow and auburn, and blackgums are blushing red. Wildflowers like asters and ironweeds are dotting the fields with their late lavender and deep purple blooms. If you’re looking for a fun fall drive that won’t take much time, then head down SR 278 from Nelsonville. Travel south through part of the Forest and the town of Zaleski; after about 40 minutes you will connect with Highway 50. Find more fun local and statewide fall color driving tours from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:


Allegheny National Forest Fall foliage on the Allegheny National Forest is at about 75% of peak hues this week, with more color arriving daily. Maple, cherry, and birch are close to full color while most oaks remain green.


Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests Fall color is now at about peak in the higher elevations of the Green Mountain National Forest. Vermonters and visitors should expect vibrant color to be visible throughout the next couple of weeks.

West Virginia

Monongahela National Forest Higher elevations still have some good viewing opportunities, but leaf drop has begun on the Monongahela National Forest. Color is beginning to extend to the mid elevations of the region, though we are still a week to 10 days away from peak color and the best opportunity for viewing. This may be the last colorful week in higher elevations; see below for more location specific information:

Randolph County (estimated at 70%) — Higher elevations, especially Cheat Mountain and the Harman area, are at peak or slightly past peak. Recommended drives are U.S. 33 from Bowden to Harman; U.S. 19 from Huttonsville to Mingo; and U.S. 250 from Huttonsville to Durbin.

Greenbrier County (estimated at 65%) — Beech Ridge is at peak this weekend but the rest of the county will color in the next 10 days.

Pocahontas County (estimated at 70%) —Higher elevations should have some good viewing, but leaf drop has begun. Recommended drives are U.S. 219 from Mace to Marlinton and WV Route 150 (Highland Scenic Highway).

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