Prime Time for Fall Foliage

Outdoor Ramblings October 2018

Prime Time for Fall Foliage

By Bill Deaton

Unquestionably, Pennsylvania offers some of the best autumnal colors in the United States. What many residents of the Keystone State take for granted is actually an anomaly. Globally, only a handful of places support the climate and tree species that allow for the fall spectacle. In addition to the eastern US, northeastern China, northern Japan, parts of the British Isles, and northwestern Europe are the only regions that support deciduous forests. Woodlands elsewhere are dominated either by conifers or tropical trees.

A temperate climate zone and the correct altitude play important roles. Pennsylvania is situated between 40° and 42° North latitude and its varied topography from sea level on the coastal plain to over 3,000 feet in the Laurel Highlands. The state supports 134 species of trees plus many varieties of shrubs and vines that also contribute to the dazzling display.

Of the species found throughout the commonwealth, 127 varieties of trees, shrubs, and woody plants that add to the autumnal prism can be found in the Poconos. Due to the convergence of northern tree species such as sugar maple, American beech, yellow birch, and white ash with southern varieties like red, white, scarlet, black, and chestnut oak; various hickories, and sassafras.  

Look for peak conditions in northern Wayne and northern Pike counties to occur around October 7-8 this fall. In southern Wayne, southern Pike, northern Monroe, and eastern Lackawanna counties, colors will be at their prime between October 15-19. Top times for leaf peeping in southern Monroe and Carbon counties will hit around October 23-25.

Almost the whole of the month is excellent time to enjoy the fall palate, there’s plenty of time to get out and enjoy the annual show of color!

All photos by Bill Deaton.