|Leaf Peeping Road Trips, by Alice Zyetz|
HOW TO FIND THE FOLIAGE "BLOOM" IN YOUR REGION
The Web is an incredible resource for information about the reasons for the colors, the location of the foliage, the types of trees involved, the estimated duration of the most intense color, maps, telephone numbers, places to stay or camp, and so on. Your biggest problem may be extricating yourself from the computer to get out there before the first snowfall.
Here are some excellent sites to get you started. Most will list by state, by national forest, by state park, by region.
Telephone the Fall Color Network for information about all states: 1-800-354-4595
POPULAR LEAF PEEPING DRIVES IN THE U.S.
- Arizona: Coconino National Forest
- California: Inyo National Forest
- Colorado: Gunnison National Forest
- Missouri: Mark Twain National Forest
- New Hampshire: White Mountain National Forest
- North Carolina: Pisgah National Forest
- Oregon: Willamette National Forest
- Pennsylvania: Allegheny National Forest
- Vermont: Green Mountain National Forest
- Wisconsin: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
In Maine, Acadia National Park's famed 27-mile Park Loop Road is one of the most spectacular places to see the autumnal leaf extravaganza on the east coast. This drive, completed in 1953, "remains of the most stunning drives in America" according to Jaimes Kaiser, author of the definitive work, Acadia: The Complete Guide.
WHAT CREATES THE COLOR?
The pigment is there all the time but is hidden by the chlorophyll that makes the leaves green. As the weather changes, chlorophyll production stops, and the other colors are unmasked. Best weather conditions for the color are days that are bright and cool and nights that are chilly but not freezing. Adequate rainfall maintains the leaves on the trees.
Most striking reds are found on sugar and red maples, northern red oak, sumac, mountain ash, and tupelo. Yellow is found on birches, white ash, linden, maples, beech, aspens, and hickories. The season can last through November, depending on weather conditions and location.
DON'T FORGET YOUR OWN BACKYARD!
Particularly with fuel prices as high as they are, make a special effort this year to find the beautiful foliage near you. Check out all the Web sites above. Look at your map to locate the forested areas in your local national forest lands as well as your state and county parks. I had always wanted to go to New England in the fall. However, I learned my lesson after I had finally visited New England and was enthralled with the rich reds, oranges, and yellows. I described the experience to my stay-at-home-you-won't-catch-me-in-an-RV-ever(!) old friend, who lives outside of Columbus, Ohio. She said, "You know, Alice, I just walk out my back door and look at the old maple tree as it turns to a rich red color, and I have the fall foliage I dreamed about when we were growing up in the tenements of New York City."