Shenandoah National Park Fall Foliage Report

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    Shenandoah National Park October 24, 2014Shenandoah National Park October 17, 2014Shenandoah National Park, Oct 10, 2014Shenandoah National Park, Oct 3, 2014.Buck Hollow Overlook Shenandoah National Park, September 28, 2014Mary's Rock Tunnel Shenandoah National Park, Oct 12, 2012Pinnacles Overlook October 12, 2012
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    Fall Color Report for Friday, November 7, 2014

    "The tints of autumn...a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost."
    —John Greenleaf Whittier
    In the song “America the Beautiful” lyricist Katharine Lee Bates dubbed our country’s ridges “purple mountain majesties.” This week, when you look out from the overlooks along Skyline Drive, into the hollows and hills of Shenandoah National Park and across the Shenandoah Valley to the Massanutten Mountains and over the foothills of the Virginia Piedmont, that phrase might come to mind. When the trees shed their leaves late in the year, as the trees in Shenandoah and nearby hills and ridges are doing now, the mountains really do take on an amethyst glow. Purple is the color of royalty, and that royal theme reverberates nicely, as most of the color left in the park and seen from its overlooks is gold. Purple and gold – the park is positively regal this week!

     Shenandoah National Park November 7, 2014Winter is coming. Everything in nature is hunkering down. These mountains and all their inhabitants will soon be under the spell of frost and cold. Dormancy reigns; time to rest and regroup. Most of the deciduous trees in Shenandoah have shed their leaves for the year – MOST, for there are still some impressive displays of sun-struck gold – almost metallic – in the lower elevations! Hickories, sassafras, and birches are hanging on till the end, and strutting their stuff. When the sun hits those still-golden trees, and you’re there to watch (frankly, whether you’re there to watch or not), the hollows and hillsides explode with light, beautiful light.

     It’s not over yet. 

     Here and there, as you drive Skyline Drive, you can still see polychromatic treats for the eye – sumacs who refuse to go drab, sassafras who seem to be vying for attention, the very occasional maple who seems to enjoy burning brightly just for you. There is a maple (or there was yesterday) on the west side of Skyline Drive between miles 25 and 26 who is putting on a one-tree fireworks show.

     This won’t last, this last burst of color. But it’s here now, and if you can make your way to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive very soon, you might get a front-row seat to autumn’s last display.

     This fall color report will be updated for the last time this year on Friday, November 14, 2014, so check in to see how the seasons and colors are changing in Shenandoah National Park. 

     *Shenandoah staff will post a weekly fall color update each Friday through November 14, 2014. Reports are based on the writer's observations during the preceding week. Please keep in mind that the park is more than 100 miles long and spans a wide elevation range. Fall color conditions can vary dramatically from area to area. Weather affects the color from day to day and even hour to hour. It is impossible to predict a peak. We will do our best to give accurate reports, but please remember that many variables contribute to conditions.  

    Plan a Shenandoah National Park Fall Getaway:

Last Updated: 11/10/2014 3:09 PM
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