It’s time to plan a road trip to see early fall colors around Ohio

Oct 4, 2023 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

For many Ohioans, autumn represents pumpkin carving, the harvest season, Halloween campouts, corn mazes and even an Apple Festival in Oak Harbor on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14-15.

During the early fall, spotting the first glimpse of fall color — seeing the leaves changing to strong reds, vivid yellows and bold oranges — is a favorite fall activity that begins in southern Ohio in October. That means a road trip for northern Ohio families, and checking the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Fall Color Forecast will help people find the best places to view the changing colors throughout the season with timely updates that will begin this week.

“Autumn is a great time to explore the outdoors and experience everything that Ohio has to offer with a backdrop of dazzling colors,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Our state parks, nature preserves and forests are bustling with visitors who want to make memories that last a lifetime over the next few months.”

Forecasting fall color is challenging as foresters must consider several variables such as length of days, sunlight, temperature, wind and rainfall when estimating the intensity and longevity of leaf color. This fall, the Ohio Division of Forestry is expecting color to peak in the northern third of Ohio during the second week of October, the third week of October for the central third, and the fourth week of October for the southern third.

“This year’s weather may have a significant impact on the distribution of fall colors statewide,” ODNR Fall Color Forester David Parrott said. “We had a dry spring and a dry end to this summer. These dry conditions can lead to trees being more stressed, and stressed trees tend to lose their chlorophyll earlier and drop their leaves. However, as long as we get enough precipitation to help the leaves hang on through the fall—without any storms that blow the leaves off—the cool evenings we are starting to experience with the sunny days are setting this fall up to have some great fall colors in many areas throughout the state.”

Those interested in finding the most eye-catching leaves throughout the season should check out ODNR’s fall color website, (ohiodnr.gov/go-and-do/see-the-sights/fall-color) the official guide to the changing colors. The website includes: Weekly color updates and information to help plan a fall color adventure; Unique overnight accommodations at Ohio State Parks; and Fun events happening around the state

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