Shenandoah National Park Fall Foliage Report

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    Shenandoah 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, October 10, 2014

    ""Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns""
    —~ George Eliot
    If you were able to fly like a bird over... Shenandoah National Park right now, you would be able to see the big picture of how autumn is unfolding and expanding here; this 105-mile-long park would happily show you the many phases of a season. The northern third of the park has some of the lowest elevations, so fall – delicious fall, which flows down the mountain like candy sprinkle-flecked maple syrup over mounds of thick oatmeal – has begun to drip in a few bright, sweet spots here and there. Dogwood trees, features of the park’s northern end, display different shades of scarlet, all of them subtle and muted. In the center of the park, the highest elevations, the mountainsides and summits flash large patches of dramatic oranges and reds, saffron yellows, turmeric golds. Blueberry bushes in the north half of Big Meadows, smack dab in the center of Shenandoah, burn chili powder red. In the south district the palette is sunnier – yellows, golds, pumpkin oranges, mangoes – with the occasional jolt of a neon-red maple spattering the canvas.

    On the ground, driving Skyline Drive or hiking the park's trails, sumacs continue to blaze rainbow tones, like a rack of color samples in a paint store. Hickories, birches, and sassafras radiate happy hues of sunshine. (Even when it’s raining, when you see these gold-hued trees smiling at you, you’re fooled into believing the sun is coming out – arboreal mood lifters!) Goldenrods are fading, but purple asters continue to glimmer like moonbeams. One young maple stands proudly at Meadow Spring parking, offering every upbeat Day-Glo color you can imagine.

    Fall oozes slowly this year. There’s still a great deal of green – lodens, olives, limes. Low Gap, the tuliptree-filled area around mile 8 on Skyline Drive, is still mostly verdant, sporting only touches of yellow-gold in the very tops of the trees. Hillsides of oaks and evergreens still defy the color wheel of fall, providing a lovely backdrop to the polychrome patches of gums, maples, hickories, birches, and beeches.

    That’s the color THIS week. Remember, though fall seems to be coming on slowly this year in the Blue Ridge, it can change mood and tempo as it so desires – quickly, without warning or permission. It’s a mercurial season. Like a woman in the old saying about the fairer sex, fall reserves the right to change its mind at any time. Come to Shenandoah to find out for yourself how autumn is progressing in the Blue Ridge.

    This fall color report will be updated on Friday, October 17, 2014, so check back then to see how things are coming along.

    *Shenandoah staff will post a weekly fall color update each Friday through October. 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: 10/14/2014 10:27 AM
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