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Archive for the ‘Fall Leaf Color Updates’ Category

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Georgia Forestry Commission foresters report leaf color change at 90-to-100 percent. Still, a few changes are in progress and some final fall foliage views are out there.

As of the early part of the week, and at elevations below about 2000 feet, there were still hickories holding onto some pretty golden yellows and even some maples, sassafras and pockets of tulip poplar still showing color. However, it is the oaks, with a range of bronze, copper and gold that are catching the eye this week, especially in the early morning or late afternoon sun. The passage of Wednesday’s cold front brought high winds that created leaf storms across the region, but there will still be some pockets of color to surprise you.

Each passing day over the next week to 10 days will bring us closer to the end of this year’s leaf season. This weekend should provide some opportunities for color, but head out with the intention of capturing a peek of a mountainside creek or waterfall that may have gone unnoticed in denser cover, or to simply appreciate the views becoming more accessible. And then, when you round the curve and a spark of color hits you, it will be a bonus.

Predicting or choosing a specific area for best chances of color is too big a challenge this week. However, to take in the emerging views, pick a drive that will take you through the lower elevations and then climb to higher passes, such as any drive through named gaps. Also, you may try the higher elevations in northwest Georgia, as that area lags behind northeast Georgia each year in the onset of color and should be holding onto a few more species this weekend.

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WOW! What a difference a few days made. Georgia Forestry Commission foresters say the last seven days have brought on an explosion of color. The change from green is now an estimated 80-100%, depending on location.

For the highest elevations (above 2500 feet), our fall color season has come to an end. However, as the leaves drop, roadside mountain views are getting better..

At mid to lower elevations (2500 feet and below), things are in full swing. This past weekend was likely peak in some of the mid-level areas, but currently the golds of the hickories are spectacular. The oaks have finally joined in and they’re showing reds, burgundies and golds. And we still have some of the softwoods hanging on to color in the lower elevations, with maples and even some poplars still holding their leaves. Current rains are bringing down some of those leaves. The weather is expected to improve for the weekend.

If you’re looking for a late season chance for leaf- viewing, you’ll want to get out this weekend, as things will begin to take on the look of winter in the next week to 10 days.

In northwest and north central Georgia, drives between Jasper, Ellijay, Chatsworth, Dalton and Summerville offer some nice viewing. The Lake Allatoona area and Red Top Mountain should also provide some good color.

In northeast Georgia, any travels through the valleys and river bottoms should offer some great views. The Georgia Power lakes (Burton, Seed, Rabun) and Tallulah Falls/Gorge areas offer nice vistas. Also, roads connecting Helen, Clarkesville, Cleveland, Dahlonega and Dawsonville will furnish some pretty fall views.

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NORTHWEST:
GFC foresters report lots of color changes in northwest Georgia’s fall foliage over the past week.
Maple, birch, sweetgum, oak, hickory, dogwood, sourwood, sassafrass, and sumac trees are all putting on good shows. Poplar, birch, and hickory leaves are changing to yellow…maple and sourwoods are red. Dogwood leaves vary from red to purple. Sweetgum leaves are turning purple, while oak leaves are beginning to show pretty shades of orange.

Northwest Georgia had its first frost over the past weekend, which will cause trees to drop leaves, so now is the time to enjoy peak color, with color change estimated at 70% from green.

For the best views this weekend, visit:
Highway 52- Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain.
Hwy 136 from Gordon Co. through Murray Co. and into Pickens Co.
Dade County (Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain)

NORTHEAST:

GFC foresters say the past week has made a marked difference in the color of northwest Georgia’s fall foliage. Color change from green to date is between 40 and 90%, depending on elevation and latitude. The upper elevations have passed their peak time and the last three weeks’ color is now carpeting the forest floor. But that means views at these higher elevations are opening up now, so trail hiking around Vogel or Unicoi State Parks is ideal.

Lower elevations are continuing to provide great views. Maples are leading the way with their reds, and hickories are providing contrast with their golden yellows. Oaks are starting to provide some contrast though their colors this year, but are somewhat muted. Expect elevations between 2,000 and 3,000 feet to be at peak now, while many lower elevations still have some change to come. Rains and wind predicted for Halloween could result in additional leaf drop, but the weekend should be great weather for getting out. GFC foresters say we can expect about two more weeks of good leaf color in northeast Georgia.

Several routes will provide scenic vistas this weekend, including:
US 441 north to Rabun County and the Clayton/Mountain City/Dillard area.
Heading back try US 76 West out of Clayton to GA 197 and travel around Lake Burton.
Near Batesville, continue on GA 197 to Clarkesville or turn right on GA 356 to the Helen area.

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NORTHWEST GEORGIA:
Georgia Forestry Commission foresters report color changes this week in dogwood, sourwood, sassafrass, and sumac trees. Sumacs and sourwoods have turned red, while dogwoods are exhibiting more reds and purples. Some maples are showing minor color changes towards red, but greater numbers are yet to change. Yellow-poplars are changing to yellow and are beginning to drop leaves. A small number of hickories are beginning to change to a yellow color but most oaks have not begun their color changes. There is more color to be found in higher elevations at this time.

An approximate 40% color change has taken place in the northwest, with peak season this year expected in late October and early November, so you still have a couple of weeks to get out and enjoy the fall foliage. This week has been somewhat sunny with cooler temps. Color changes should be coming soon. With the amount of rainfall we had this summer, a great year for leaf coloration can be anticipated, if we don’t get an early frost.

There are several places to see leaf color right now in northwest Georgia, including:
1. Highway 52- on Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain.
2. Hwy 136 from Gordon Co., through Murray Co. and into Pickens Co.
3. Dade County (Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain).

NORTHEAST GEORGIA:

Tree color is changing slowly this year in northeast Georgia, according to GFC foresters. Upper elevations are still the best bet for viewing, with drives through any of the gaps providing the best opportunities. Most of the species are at some degree of change, though not all at the same rate as you move through the mountains, so expect a variety of conditions. Maple, sourwood, sumac, dogwood, and black gum are showing various shades of red, while hickory, cherry, birch and beech are exhibiting of yellow and gold. Our oaks are beginning to show signs of change. Above 3,000 feet elevation, change is well above the 50% mark and at lower elevations things are running between 20% and 50%, depending on location.

While there is color to be found it appears “peak” for the overall area may still be a week to 10 days away. However, the continued cooler nights and sunny days could kick things into high gear sooner. And remember that “peak” for one location will not be “peak” for locations at different elevations/latitudes. The upper reaches of north Georgia saw frost this week.

For a scenic drive this weekend, the following “gaps” are showing good color:
Unicoi – GA 17 White/Towns Counties.
Neels – US 129 Lumpkin/Union Counties.
Woody – GA 60 Lumpkin County.
Jacks – GA 180 Union/Towns Counties.
Dicks Creek – US 76 Towns/Rabun.

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Georgia Forestry Commission foresters report this week that leaf-color change is 5-30%, depending on location and elevation.

Early leaf drop is still happening before full color has developed. However, the past week has brought many changes to the forest canopy. Upper elevations continue to provide color, though this will diminish over the next week as these early changers begin to fall.

This week big color changes are appearing at some of the lower elevations in the northern counties. The maples, dogwoods, and sourwoods continue to provide increasing reds while the beech, birch, cherry and yellow poplars are still holding on to their yellows.
Additions to the color changes this week include the hickories with their golden yellows, the reds of sumac and the yellows, reds and oranges of the sassafras.

The last weekend of October is still estimated to provide some of the best color of the season in northern NE GA. However, remember that “peak” at one elevation/latitude is not “peak” at all elevations/latitudes, so we hopefully have another 3 to 4 weeks of leaf viewing yet to come, with peak in NW GA likely 2 and 3 weekends away.

For a nice, scenic weekend drive to get a good look at current fall color in NE GA, take Hwy 60 out of Dahlonega to Suches and over to Morganton.

In North Central/NW GA take GA 515 through Jasper to Ellijay and then US 76 west towards Chatsworth.

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NORTHWEST:

Color changes are slow to begin in northwest Georgia, according to foresters with the Georgia Forestry Commission. Weather has been too warm for leaf change in many of the hardwood species, and peak color won’t occur until late October. If a cold front arrives within the next couple of weeks, fall foliage should be spectacular.

Right now, dogwoods are deep auburn in the northwest, and maples are beginning to show a hint of yellow, with sumac turning to bright red.

For a scenic drive this weekend, consider Highway 52 at Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain, and Lookout or Sand Mountain in Dade County. Highway 136 from Gordon to Murray and the Pickens Counties would also provide pretty views.

NORTHEAST:

Northeast Georgia is about two weeks ahead of northwest Georgia in foliage color. Dogwoods and sourwoods are showing their reds and burgundies, especially along road cuts and in open areas. The maples aren’t far behind, especially at higher elevations, and their reds are developing now. Cherries, birch, beech and sassafras are also starting to show shades of yellow at higher elevations. The Sycamores and ornamental trees such as redbuds are starting to turn down in the river bottoms and in the settlements.

Elevations above 2500 feet are your best bet for leaf peeping this weekend, with the Richard Russell Scenic Highway offering good vistas. Two things to be aware of: the Sorghum Festival is scheduled to start this weekend in Blairsville – and– the GA DOT has closed GA 180 Spur that leads from GA 180 to the top of Brasstown Bald in connection with the federal shutdown.

Weekly leaf reports are available online at GaTrees.org.

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NORTHWEST:

Two words of advice can be given to folks looking for fall foliage in northwest Georgia this week: subtlety and patience! Autumn color changes in the northwestern counties have not kicked in yet, but there are some subtle changes beginning to appear. GFC foresters say it will likely be next week before any notable color changes are evident. Be patient and keep your eyes peeled, especially in the higher elevations.

NORTHEAST:

In northeast Georgia, the first show of color has appeared. Dogwoods, sourwoods and black gums are showing reds, with sumac and Virginia creeper in the understory. Some hits of yellows from poplar and birch are appearing in the higher elevations. Look for wildflowers at their peak, with vibrant blues and yellows from asters and goldenrods. Continued cooler weather and sunshine can be expected to prompt more change soon.

The mountain festivals are underway. If you travel along the Richard Russell Scenic Highway 348 this weekend, you can enjoy Octoberfest in Helen, the Indian Summer Festival in Suches, and the Folk School Festival in Brasstown.

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