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Thread: Fall Colors

  1. #1

    Default Fall Colors

    My wife and I are wanting to do a week or 10 day section hike sometime in mid to late September or early to mid October. How are the fall colors shaping up? Where would be the best places for good foliage given our time frame? As always thanks so much for your suggestions.

  2. #2
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    The only place I'm specifically familiar with is Great Smokey Mountains. The general wisdom there is that the leaves start changing in the upper elevations (5,000 - 6,000) in the start of October, and the peak color slowly makes its way down the mountain such that the leaves finish their peak color in the valleys the end of October.

    So if you want fall colors in mid-September, you'll have to travel farther north than GSMNP (likely even further than Virginia). But if you wait until October, you should see color at the upper elevations if you travel to areas like GSMNP in TN/NC, or Shenandoah National Park in VA.

  3. #3

    Default Fall Colors

    Thanks HooKooDooku. We have done the southern stretches so are looking to hike Furthur north like NY, Connecticut, Mass, etc. sorry I guess I should have stated that in my original post. Thanks again.

  4. #4

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    There is a website that I cannot remember that tracks the changing of colors in every region and has archives but I cant remember the name But I know they are pretty peak in northern Virginia October 18th week last year was great and so a week later or so in the south they should be changing.

    Also check out the GSMNP webcam and refer tot he archive section for past year transitions
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  5. #5
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    My wife and I are heading south through the 100 mile wilderness in September 19th Typically the colors are changing at higher elevations by then.


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  6. #6

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    CT usually sees peak foliage around the first two weeks of October, but that varies by year and conditions. MA would be slightly ahead of that, the peak weeks get earlier as you go further north obviously.

  7. #7

    Default Fall Colors

    Thanks everyone for your input. You are confirming what we had thought and I will attempt to locate said website. Thanks for a great AT community. Any other info on the progress of northern foliage would be appreciated.

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    Grayson Highlands was nice last year around the first week in october

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  9. #9
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    Northern New England is the place to be. The Green Mountains (VT) or White Mountains (NH), or Maine would be great. For the Northern Whites I usually target the first week in October, but it does vary a bit year to year. There are online foliage reports and maps you can look up.

    Presuming you want to stay someplace at the beginning and end of your hike, that will be your biggest challenge. The best Inns, B&Bs and so on get booked out way in advance. I've had luck calling last minute looking for cancellations, but be aware that you will be paying the top rates of the year. Often there are 2-3 day minimums on weekends.

  10. #10

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    I'd recommend Vermont for your late September timeframe. I've hiked the Northville-Placid Trail in the Adirondacks each of the last two years, both starting around Sept. 25 when the leaves were nearly at peak. Vermont, particularly the Long Trail, is approximately the same latitude.

    Regarding New Hampshire, many years ago, I went in early October to hike the Wildcats. I saw some fall colors at a distance, but not much along the AT for the simple reason that at that latitude and elevation, the trees were more coniferous. Southern NH might be a better choice.

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