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Despite last week's heavy rains, the forest color palette is beginning to change this week in the higher mountain areas. At high elevations in southwest Virginia and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, yellow patches are most obvious, dominated by early sugar maples, hickories, black birch, and yellow-poplar. The upper elevations of Shenandoah Valley are also showing patches of yellow. All over the mountains, reds can be seen in early changers like Virginia creeper, dogwood, and black gum. Check out this under-appreciated species along roadsides, where it can be identified at a distance by its branching pattern, at right angles to the trunk. Meanwhile, shades of green will predominate for awhile in central and eastern Virginia.
In general, trees with greater exposure in any location are among the earliest changers and may even lose their leaves early if the weather is rainy or windy. But don’t worry, the show is just getting started, and there are still billions of leaves left to change! The last few sunny days will be especially helpful in developing the red and orange colors.
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. Read the full report.
Escape, just the two of you, to Virginia's fall splendor.
Take the road less traveled. Enjoy photogenic foliage opportunities, great eats, and other hidden treasures.
From the rough and tumble on the mountains to the paved or sandy shores, there’s no end to the scenic views and adventures Virginia has to offer.
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