Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 17, 2018

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 9/17/18

Eastern Region National Forests reports on September 17, 2018


Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

The prairie is abounding with colors this time of year. From the blues and purples of New England aster and smooth blue aster to the yellows of stiff goldenrod. The foliage has not started to turn yet.


Hoosier National Forest

The trees on the Hoosier National Forest are in the very first phases of changing. While driving along the roads one will see one tree with a few yellow or red leaves stick out among all the green that is still present. Less than 5% color change but can still be spotted if watching the tree line. Many of the shorter plants and shrubs have a lot of color and prominence. A lot of locals selling produce including pumpkins and corn already. Cool weather in the forecast and small amount of color change would make the HNF an ideal place to camp this next week


Huron-Manistee National Forests

The leaves on the HMNFs are predominantly green, very few have begun the change colors with hints of yellow and orange. The morning sunrise is breathtaking because of the manner in which the sunlight hits the changing landscape. For the latest updates related to this incident please follow us on Facebook @Huronmanisteenfs or go online to

Ottawa National Forest

Fall colors are beginning to bloom in the Ottawa National Forest, but have not reached peak colors yet. It is predicted that the colors will progress from North to South. For more information and predictions on Michigan fall colors, please visit


Superior National Forest

The Forest is just starting to show some color.  A few inland areas where it is colder have a fair amount of color, up to 25%, but most of the Forest is below 10% change with no obvious fall color to the casual observer, but a lot of the shrubs and forbs starting to change to yellows.


Allegheny National Forest

The leaves on the ANF are still green, only some are starting to change and have a subtle tint of yellow. Patiently waiting for our prime color of fall foliage which usually peaks around the last two weeks of September through the first two weeks of October.  Please keep a watch on our website for weekly updates on fall leaf colors in the Allegheny National Fores


Green Mountain-Finger Lakes National Forests

With shorter days and cooler nighttime temperatures fall is certainly on the way. Some trees in the higher elevations have started to display slight shades of pink, orange, yellow and red while many trees in the lower elevations remain green. Vermont typically displays peak foliage in the second week of October.

West Virginia

Monongahela National Forest

While Monongahela National Forest is not yet seeing the fall color beauty, we are preparing for leaf peepers. Greenbrier Ranger District recently cleared five overlooks for fall viewing. Clearings included Mower Tract, Gaudineer Knob, US Route 250, Laurel Fork and Smoke Camp Knob Overlooks. These areas provide breathtaking views all year long; they are especially spectacular during peak leaf change.Mower Tract Overlook Site

The overlook has incredible southern views. Shavers, Cheat, Elk and Rich Mountain ranges can be seen on a clear day. Directions:

  • From Durbin travel west on US Route 250 for approximately 12 miles to Forest Road 227. Turn south (left turn) travel approximately 1.2 miles and Forest Road 227E will be the spur road on your left.
  • From Huttonsville travel east on US Route 250 for approximately 9 miles to Forest Road 227 (when you top the mountain look for a hard right turn) and travel on Forest Road 227 approximately 1.2 miles and Forest Road 227E will be the spur road on your left.
  • Forest Roads are gravel. Travel slowly.

Gaudineer Overlook Picnic Site

This scenic stop can be found 7 miles northwest of Durbin, on Shavers Mountain. Directions:

  • From Durbin travel west on US Route 250 for approximately 5 miles to Forest Road 27. Turn north (right turn) and travel approximately 1.7 miles. At picnic site sign take left to parking lot.
  • From Huttonsville travel east on US Route 250 for approximately 15 miles and turn north (left turn) and travel approximately 1.7 miles to picnic area road on left.
  • Forest Roads are gravel. Travel slowly.

US Route 250 Greenbrier Overlook

This Shavers Mountain overlook is at the north side of US Route 250 (Pocahontas and Randolph County line) with a great eastern view of Greenbrier watershed and Middle Mountain. Directions:

  • Please use extra caution when getting on and off the highway.
  • From Durbin travel west on US Route 250 for approximately 4.5 miles to Shaver Mountain’s peak. You will see views to your right as you drive up the mountain. On your right, just before the mountain’s crest, you will see a Randolph County sign. Park on the right just before the sign. Do not turn around at this location. Continue to Gaudineer Road (Forest Road 27) ¼ mile for a safe turnaround.
  • From Huttonsville travel east on US Route 250 for approximately 15 miles to the county line and overlook to the left. At ¼ mile past Gaudineer Road (Forest Road 27) start looking for the parking area off the highway on your left. There is a place to park on the right for safety if needed.

Smoke Camp Knob Overlook

Smoke Camp Knob is a little harder to locate but a good find. It is located at Fork Mountain’s old Smoke Camp Fire tower location (removed in 1974. At 4,237 ft. and 270 degrees of clearing, the east and south views are a must see. Directions:

  • From Bartow take US Route 28 north approximately 2 miles and take a gentle left to stay on US Route 28. Travel 2.4 miles to Forest Road 57 on your right (total 5 miles north of Bartow). If you come to Island Campground on your left you are a ¼ mile too far. Travel Forest Road 57 for 3 miles and it ends at the junction of Forest Road 106 (left and right) and Forest Road 58 (hard right). Take Forest Road 58 (you will see overlook sign directions here) and continue for 3 miles to Smoke Camp Knob. Views are worth the over 6 miles of dirt road.
  • Note: The last ¾ mile of the road narrows use caution when passing. No trailers or large recreation vehicles are recommended


Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Fall Colors are being reported locally between 5% and 15% depending on how far north in the Forest you are. Areas near lakes are starting to pop and the colors are changing gradually from North to South. For more details on the Wisconsin Fall Color Report, visit:

As always when visiting your national forests, safety first and know before you go!

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