Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2017

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 9/29/17

Eastern Region National Forests reports


Hoosier National Forest

What a change one week makes; the Hoosier National Forest is starting to pop with more color! The sweet gums are turning their dark reds and oranges while the sassafras and dogwoods are showing off reds as well. Hickories are brightening up the forest as the maple branches become tipped in their wonderful brilliant hues. The understory continues to be colorful. Next week should bring much more color to southern Indiana. Temperatures over the weekend are to warm back up into the high 70’s during the day with night time temps in the upper 40’s and low 50’s. Festivals are all around so come and enjoy the Forest!


Hiawatha National Forest The Hiawatha National Forest is full of color. We are in peak colors with bright oranges, vibrant yellows and deep, rich reds all around us. For a beautiful drive, check out Forest Road 2066, which is lined with trees displaying full fall color. There are color surprises everywhere you look, such as bright red mushrooms springing up in a bog. This upcoming week will be the best time of this fall’s color season to see the leaves in all of their majesty.

Huron-Manistee National Forests On the Huron side of the Huron-Manistee National Forests, about 70 % of the trees have turned color and are in mid-peak or are near peak. Colors are very noticeable along most parts of the forest, especially along roadways and rivers. The other 30 percent of the trees are at or beyond peak colors. The eastern side consists of thicker areas of pine, but the sporadic hard woods in between show vibrant colors. Over the next two weeks is the ideal time to enjoy the fall colors on the eastern side, especially at outlook areas such as Lumberman’s monument.

On the Manistee side, progress remains slow in some areas while individual trees or small stands are now showing peak colors. As temperatures continue to cool overnight, frequently getting into the 30s and 40s, the pace of change is expected to accelerate over the next week. Peak colors may occur as late as Halloween in some areas.

Ottawa National Forest Fall color throughout the Ottawa National Forest is at peak or past peak color. Vibrant fall color is scattered throughout the Forest, with more color closer to Lake Superior. Some of the maples have managed to retain their leaves, with aspen and oak trees hanging in there as well, providing a nice pop of color. The fall foliage is very vulnerable to wind and rain, so don’t wait to make your way to the Ottawa National Forest and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage while it lasts.  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 Ottawa National Forest.  There are plenty of waterfalls to visit along your fall drive as well.  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 This week there is still bright leaf color in the Chippewa National Forest with the tamarack just now starting to show off their glimmering gold. Warmer temperatures are in store this week! The many forest roads make the perfect drives this time of the year. Grab your camera to snap those photo keepsakes to add to your fall memories. Even though the leaves are past peak in northern Minnesota, fall color observers are very pleased with this year’s show. Along with biking, camping, hiking, canoeing the great Mississippi River, fishing area lakes, early morning sunrises in the forest, and splendid fall colors are such great attractions to the Chippewa National Forest.

Superior National Forest It is the peak for yellows and golds with the tamarack and remaining birch and aspen throughout the Superior National Forest. It is past peak for maples, but the combination of gray bare trees with the bright yellow of birch and aspen and the golden yellow of tamarack makes for a warm and beautiful woods, full of the scent of fall leaves on the ground.


Wayne National Forest Get ready; southeast Ohio is nearing peak color! There are lots of fun things you can do this weekend to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall palette of the Wayne National Forest:

  • This Saturday (10/21 at 10 – 11 a.m.) you can take your kids aged preschool to 5th grade to our Wild Weekend Discovery Series, where they will learn about the amazing nocturnal world of bats and celebrate National Bat Week! Register in advance by calling 740-753-0542. Afterward take your eager young rangers for a short hike at Rutherford Wetland to look for wildlife and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage.
  • Our friends at nearby Burr Oak State Park are offering Fall Color Lake Tours on Friday, October 20th, at 3:30 and 5 p.m. Their naturalist, Julie Gee, will explain why trees change color and drop their leaves. Register by calling 740-767-2981.
  • Our neighbors at Lake Hope State Park are hosting a 3-mile Fall Hike on Saturday, October 21st, at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The easy walk will begin at the Shelter House and follow the lake’s edge to end at Hope Furnace. Upon arrival participants can chat with park staff members and The Friends of Lake Hope group while enjoying bean soup, cornbread, and sassafras tea. A shuttle will return participants to their parked cars.


Allegheny National Forest Leaves in the Allegheny National Forest have already reached peak and now are decreasing in color. The wind has blown most of the leaves off the trees. A good place to catch some of the fleeting fall color is Jakes Rock Overlook and Mountain Bike Trail. Wander on hardened paths through the woods to the overlook. Stand on the rock outcrop overlook to see expansive views of Jackson Bay on the Allehgeny Reservoir, Kinzua Dam and the surounding forest. Remember to pack your mountain bike and explore the area’s 10 miles of mountain bike trail.

West Virginia

Monongahela National Forest Fall color on the Monongahela National Forest is scarce this week. High winds from the remnants of Tropical Storm Nate moved through the area last week taking the fall color with it. Districts are reporting significant leaf drop and little to no color in their areas.

A chance of catching a glimmer of fall color still remains optimistic in the Seneca Rocks and Smoke Hole Caverns areas located in Grant County, WV, where the trees remain green and have the potential for some beautiful fall colors and great viewing opportunities within the coming week.

While traveling through US 33, stop by the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center that sits at the base of Seneca Rocks, it offers a gift shop, art displays and a small indoor rock climbing wall. The surrounding landscape has outstanding and majestic views of a vertical rock wall that dominates the area. Hikers can enjoy the Seneca Rocks Trail; a family friendly 3.4 mile trail that leads to an observation deck. The deck offers breathtaking views of the valley and town below.

Keep in mind it is fire season in WV. Fire laws and burning restrictions can be found at Make sure to follow Smokey’s camp fire safety tips located Currently trail closures are in place due 200 acre fire on North Mountain. Forest trail and road closures can be found at Alerts and Warnings.


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