It’s time for Pennsylvania’s perennial parade of the autumnal pallet, the Keystone cavalcade of colors, the fabulous fiesta of fall foliage.
Get out your maps and gas up the car, or pump up the bicycle tires, or lace up the walking shoes — or all three — and get ready to get outside as often and as long as you can, the spectacle is beginning, and it never lasts long. The oranges and reds and yellows will carpet the hillsides beyond, and canopy the sky above you.
Catch the fall fever and enjoy one of the finest shows on earth, remembering that Pennsylvania is a global rarity in the de-greening of the deciduous.
Pennsylvania remains among the very best places to enjoy autumn colors. In fact, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources doesn’t mince words
“Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation — or anywhere in the world. Only three regions of the world support deciduous forests that display fall autumn color: eastern North America; the British Isles and parts of northwestern Europe; northeastern China and northern Japan. Forests in other regions are either tropical or dominated by conifers.”
We are “the meeting ground of northern trees that flourish only on mountain tops farther south and southern species that are at the northern limits.” Our state “supports 134 species of trees and many more shrubs and vines that contribute to the display of autumn color.”
You can get your fall kicks by simply stepping outside in most cases around here. There are stunning colors on the streets and in every hill and valley. But for the full effect, pick a park and hit the road.
Nearby choices include Frances Slocum State Park, The Seven Tubs Nature Area, Hickory Run State Park and Nescopeck State Park. If flat terrain is your preferred domain, the rails to trails options in the Back Mountain, Mountain Top, Hazleton and the venerable Lehigh Gorge Trail from White Haven to Jim Thorpe are excellent options.
And for a heads up on the best places each week, visit the DCNR website’s Fall Foliage Reports page at www.dcnr.pa.gov, which offers the percent of full color in various areas of the state and an estimated peak week.
In fact, real foliage aficionados can visit a different part of the state each week to get maximum exposure.. The estimated peak is in the northern tier this week, in our own back yards Oct. 14 through 29, and just south of the Luzerne County line Oct. 20 through 26.
Local autumn gurus have said this season has particular promise, thanks to the a rainy summer, provided we get a bit of a cool snap soon. Here’s hoping the recent above-average temperatures have not nixed the opportunity for a vibrant view.
Remember, this is a limited engagement show, so don’t put off taking it in. It bears repeating from a similar urging made here last year around this time:
Let autumn take your breath away.