Shenandoah National Park Fall Foliage Report

    Shenandoah National Park October 2, 2015Shenandoah National Park September 24, 2015Shenandoah 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, 2014Marys Rock Tunnel Shenandoah National Park, Oct 12, 2012

    Fall Color Report 

    October 9, 2015

    "“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year long for the grand finale.""
    —Lauren DeStefano


    If you’re looking for gold, you’ll find it in Shenandoah National Park this week. Hickories are dressing themselves, leaf by leaf, in clothes the color of sunshine. Goldenrods are finishing up their blooming season with dignity and a slight bang, as they take on Dijon mustard hues. Ashes and some maples are setting themselves ablaze – self-burnishing their leaves seemingly for your pleasure (or is it all for the pleasure of black bears, deer, squirrels, and the rest of the Park’s resident wildlife?). Asters’ otherworldly radiance – that electric purple-blue you will swear is plugged in somewhere – dapples the roadsides and overlooks.

    As you drive through the Park’s higher elevations toward its center, you will look out onto hillsides that look like needle-pointed ottomans on which the needle worker has stitched every conceivable bright color of thread – including, still, plenty of emerald greens. Higher peaks have donned tie-dyed fleece caps. Depending on how the sun hits certain trees – especially the oaks that stand alone at overlooks and parking areas – you might see polished copper or glazed terracotta. This part of the Appalachians Mountains where Shenandoah National Park lies has few of the maples that transform New England mountains and hills into mounds and bowls of red and orange Skittles. But occasionally you will round a turn on Skyline drive and a maple tree the colors of a bonfire will cause your heart to skip a beat – one lone Acer sending your whole nervous system into overdrive. At Meadow Spring parking, mile 33.5, there are two such maples – one in the parking area that is the colors of a ripe mango and one on the western roadside the color of tangerines. At Jenkins Gap (near mile 12) and Range View Overlook (mile 17.1), the colors are at that elusive peak – looking lit from within, multitudinous, crazy beautiful. If you drive north on the Drive and look up to the southwest hill just above Tunnel Parking Overlook (mile 32.2), you will see a tall tree whose trunk looks to have been swathed in barn-red paint; that’s Virginia creeper, doing its thing.

    Dogwoods (most of which are in the Park’s lower elevations) are the color of garnets and rubies. Ashes are starting to glow from within, too, like dying embers – that faint ochre that somehow manages to be luminescent even as it demurs, incandescing shyly from within the plum-bronzes of the trees’ outer leaves. Poison ivy vines are Javanese batik scarves, wrapped stylishly around the necks of oaks, pines, and hickories. Everywhere there are touches of light and popping color, like a Monet painting.
    Come visit the Park and see this natural color show for yourself.
    The fall color report will be updated next Friday, October 16, 2015.



    Plan a Shenandoah National Park Fall Getaway:

Last Updated: 10/9/2015 1:44 PM
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