Archive for the ‘Fall Leaf Color Updates’ Category

Northwest Georgia

Rain and wind from recent storms have accelerated color change and leaf fall. Peak passed over the weekend, with color change from green now more than 65%. Red oak, white oak, and chestnut oak are showing small amounts of yellow and brown before dropping their leaves. Deep red colors previously shown by sourwood, maple, and sassafrass have shifted to yellow and orange, while attached leaves are becoming sparse. Yellow poplar, sycamore, sweetgum, and hickory are changing from deep yellows to light browns. Areas in the higher elevations have already peaked and are dropping leaves rapidly, with lower areas close behind.

Scenic drive:

Take Hwy 136 from I-75. Turn left on Hwy 157 on top of Mookout mountain. Turn left on Daughtery Gap Rd to come out in front of Mountain Cove Farms. Turn right on Hog Jawl Rd. Turn right on Hwy 193 and follow back into Lafayette.  Turn right on South Main Street. Turn left on Hwy 27 Bypass and follow to the next intersection to get back on Hwy 136.

Northeast/Central GA Specific (Blue Ridge Mtns):

This past week saw the arrival of the peak leaf season in northeast Georgia with color developing throughout the region. However, peak this year is looking a little different from some years with a majority of the color being more muted but there’s still a lot to see, including terrific examples of neon reds and fluorescent yellow golds.

This week the birch trees continue to put on a show with their yellows becoming more golden; yellow poplar continues to contribute, but most of these are rapidly losing their leaves. Hickories have picked up the pace with most showing shades of yellow and gold, and the maples continue to exhibit reds, yellows and oranges, though some of the early turners have lost much of their canopy. American beech, redbud and chestnut oak are the newcomers this week for yellow and bronze.

The red spectrum continues to be represented by sourwoods, maples, blackgums, sumacs and dogwoods. The newcomers of the week in the red spectrum are the red oaks that weren’t impacted by the earlier heat stress, with many northern red and scarlett oak showing deep reds.

And, there are still plenty of trees that have not started to turn, so we should continue to see some new color development over the next few weeks.

Percentage of color change from green to date: 40% to 80%+ overall…

Highest elevations at 90%+ with locations above 3500’ elevation past peak.

Scenic Drive:

Most drives through north Georgia will provide opportunities for good color. Traveling up US 441 through Habersham County into Rabun County to Tallulah Gorge and then points north would provide some good potential. Continue north into Rabun County and head west on US 76 or up to the Black Rock Mountain area. For lesser traveled routes in the area, try the Persimmon Road/Germany Road area, and for the real adventurers, possibly the Tallulah River Road off of Persimmon Road (but travel slowly as this unpaved US Forest Service road is very narrow.)

Also nice is GA 52 west out of Ellijay toward Fort Mountain, taking in the Cohutta Overlook along the way.









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Fall changes hit high gear this past week across the entire north Georgia region and things are progressing rapidly. Georgia’s highest elevations are now past peak, and mid to lower elevations are at, or just past peak, so serious leaf peepers need to be making plans this week!

Northeast Georgia:

This week’s passage of another storm system has resulted in the complete thinning of many of the early turners: the early maples, the yellow poplars, the birches and the sourwoods. However, there are still maples just beginning to turn, and many maples are in full color change showing bright reds, yellows and orange. The hickories are also continuing to provide some excellent yellow and bronze shades, and sweetgums are in full color display with yellows, oranges and even some purples! And the oaks have really started contributing with reds, burgundies, yellows and deep bronze hues. And roadside sumac are displaying some electric shades of bright red this week.

Northwest Georgia:

While the northwest corner of the state normally lags in color change by a week or two, things have also hit full speed in this corner of the state. Maples, sourwoods, and hickories continue to provide some great color and the oaks are beginning to kick it up a notch.  However, as with NE GA, this week’s weather event has thinned out many of the early turners, and fall colors continue to provide showers of color with any wind.

Percentage of color change from green to date:  NE GA 90%-100%  NW GA 90%-100%+

Peak?  Peak is occurring across north Georgia now. Depending on elevation, latitude and aspect, peak may have already occurred or will be another few days getting here. However, this week into next week will likely provide the last opportunities to see widespread color change, though we will still have change occurring into mid/late November.

Scenic drives:

Northeast Georgia – Just about any drive through the mid/lower elevations in NE Georgia should provide some good opportunities. Try old US 123 from Toccoa past Currahee Mountain to the Clarkesville/Cornelia area. From Clarkesville try GA 197 north and then turn back towards Helen on GA 356. And the drive from Cleveland to Dahlonega via GA 115 or some of the more rural country roads connecting the two should provide some good color.

North Central/Northwest Georgia – Good Travel Routes include:

Highway 136 over Lookout Mountain; Highway 27 over Taylors Ridge; Highway 52 Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain; Highway 136 near Burnt Mountain.

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Color has found its way onto and into virtually every ridge and valley in the region. Last weekend’s chilly weather and strong winds thinned out the yellow poplar tops, and we even saw some light snow and a heavy frost at the upper elevations!

Northeast Georgia:

We are seeing changes in virtually all species, with sourwood, black gum, dogwood, sumac and maple continuing to provide majority of reds and burgundies. Maple and sassafras are giving us reds, yellows and bright orange hues. The yellows of the yellow poplar are thinning fast, but the birch, black walunts, and hickory continue with the yellows and golds – also provided this week by American beech, redbud and black cherry.

Northwest Georgia:

Cooler weather has kicked leaf color into gear. Sourwoods are showing red, dogwoods are giving us dark reds, and maples are providing variations of red, orange, and yellow. Some of the hickory leaves have turned yellow. Grassy Mountain and Fort Mountain don’t  have significant leaf color change yet, but the Lookout Mountain area and Taylors Ridge are quickly coming around. Peak in the northeast will probably be next week through next weekend.

Percentage of color change from green to date?  NE GA 40%-100%;  NW GA 40%-75%

Peak: The highest elevations are slightly past peak, but with the oaks yet to hit their mark, there will still be color at these uppermost elevations into November. Expect to see peak or near peak conditions at the 3000 feet elevation range starting over the next 10 days. Below 2500 feet, peak conditions should begin across the region toward the end of next week and running through the next 10 days.

Scenic Drives:

Northeast Georgia –The upper Tallulah River basin would offer some opportunity this week.  Travel GA 197 from Clarkesville up to Lake Burton and then travel US 76 to either Hiawassee or Clayton.  Or, north of Batesville, turn east off of GA 197 onto Burton Dam Road and travel around Lakes Seed and Rabun.  Remember the trip around Lake Rabun is on a very narrow road with little shoulder so stay alert and drive carefully.  And, the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy (GA 348 in White and Union Counties) continues to hold a lot of color and continues to be a good bet.

North Central/Northwest Georgia –  Good Travel Routes include:

Highway 136 over Lookout Mountain.

Highway 27 over Taylors Ridge.

Highway 52 Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain.

Highway 136 near Burnt Mountain.

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A week has made a tremendous difference in the amount and vibrancy of leaf color, especially at higher elevations. The cooler weather should help get things moving, as well and we’re in good shape for some excellent viewing in the next few weeks. We are starting see color at virtually all locations across north Georgia, but the best viewing over the next 7 days will continue to be at the higher elevations.

Northeast Georgia:

We are seeing change to some degree in virtually all species, with sourwoods, black gums, dogwoods, sumac and maples providing most of the reds and burgundies. Yellow poplar continues to show bright to golden yellows, and birch, black walnut, alder and the hickories are showing their rich golden hues. Maples are kicking in some yellow and orange, and so is sassafras.

Northwest Georgia:

The same species and colors are beginning to show overall, but the lower elevations are still lagging behind. Things should start picking up across the area in the next couple of weeks.

Percent of color change from green to date:  20%-90%

When’s peak? Elevations above 2500 feet are at peak or will hit within 7 to 10 days. Elevations below 2500’ will likely be a week to 10 days behind, which should give us good viewing into the first couple of weeks in November.

For a scenic drive this weekend…

Northeast Georgia’s highest elevations will provide the best color this weekend. Any trip through the high gaps (Unicoi/GA17, Neels/US 129, Woody/GA 60, Dicks Creek/US 76) will offer some opportunities, and the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy will continue to be a good bet. GA 60 from Blue Ridge to Suches is currently showing great potential. Note that GA 60 between Suches and Dahlonega is currently closed from 8:00-5:00 Monday-Friday for road work but you can connect with GA 180 at Suches to US 129.

North Central/Northwest Georgia –  GA 136 from Talking Rock to Dawsonville offers some good color, while the Lookout Mountain area remains a best bet for that NW corner of the state.

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Cool nights and full sunshine spark the best fall color, so we’re still lagging a bit behind this year, which means the green is hanging on in the mountains!


Northeast Georgia:

You can find pockets of color scattered through the region with some trees showing vivid colors.  very good individual trees This week the sourwood, an annual early changer, has started up with its reds and burgundies. Dogwoods are showing earthy shades of red, and black gum is providing some bright red hues this week. The maples, while normally among the early changers, are in varying stages of green, red and yellow. Yellow  poplars continue to drop some of their foliage, while maintaining a fair amount of yellow, and birches and hickories are coming through with some golden yellows.

Northwest Georgia: The region usually lags behind the northeast by a week or two – so not much change here this week.

Percentage of color change from green to date is 5-40%

Scenic weekend drive:

Northeast Georgia –Georgia’s highest elevations continue to offer the most consistent color, but there’s still a lot of green. Any trip through the high gaps (Unicoi/GA17, Neels/US 129, Woody/GA 60, Dicks Creek/US 76) will offer some opportunities, and the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy is always a good bet.


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Another storm crossed north Georgia this past week and left its mark, with many green leaves pulled off onto roads and yards. Some bruising and other damage has occurred, and temperatures have run in the mid and even upper 80’s in some locations. However, there is still a forest full of leaves that have just begun to change or that are just waiting to change.

Northeast Georgia:

Northeast Georgia is still mainly a canopy of green. However, we are definitely seeing change in individual trees and in groups of trees. And, depending on aspect (the direction the slope faces), elevation, and plant communities, we are seeing widespread change across some locations. Some of the best color right now is found on the roadsides and in areas with young growth and full sun.

Species that are currently showing color include the returning reds and burgundies of the sourwood, reds and some yellows of the maple and bright to golden yellows of the birch with the birch really coming on strong above about 2500 feet of elevation. We’re seeing more dogwoods with their reds and deep burgundies, sumac with some bright reds, and sumac showing yellows and orange-yellows. The yellow poplar, traditionally one of the early yellow color producers, is one of the trees that has seen early leaf loss, due in part to the storms, but you’ll still find it showing color in some areas.

Northwest Georgia:

Sourwood and maple continue to show color in the region that’s still showing lots of green. In addition, this week the northwest Georgia area is seeing cherry and yellow poplars starting to show some yellows, but again, a lot of foliage has been lost in the last two storms. Due to lower elevations in this area, we generally see about a week’s lag between the two regions, and next week or so should see increased change for the northwest.

Percentage of color change from green to date:  5%-40%

Peak should be the last week in October, into the first week of November.

Scenic drives:

Northeast Georgia – The yellows of the birch are really coming on along GA 180 between GA 17 and US 129. Take GA 180 to GA 180 Spur and travel up to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in GA.

Northwest Georgia – While it’s not vivid yet, a trip up towards Cloudland Canyon always provides a nice day.

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This time last year we were trying to predict what the severe drought was going to do to our fall colors, and then we were watching mountain wildfires and thick layers of smoke. Mother Nature sent Irma this year and widespread, scattered tree damage was left in the form of uprooted trees and many downed limbs and tops. One additional factor that may have some impact on our color this year is the “bruising” of plant tissue; in some cases it may have resulted in the tearing or disruption of leaf stems and the death of leaves still on the trees, especially on the higher ridges and in some of the gaps. However, there are already signs of color change and Mother Nature rarely lets us down this time of year.

And in case you’re curious, the web-like structures/material you may see in some of our trees along the roads is the Fall Webworm. This caterpillar feeds on the foliage of many species and unfortunately, sourwood is among its favorites. This caterpillar will feed on the foliage and will often strip the tree of leaves. However, this time of year the leaves have completed their jobs, so the long term effects on the tree are minimal.

Continued cool nights and sunny days should provide us with the best chances for another great leaf season!

Northeast Georgia:

We are still likely a week out for significant color change in north Georgia. In the very highest elevations (Brasstown Bald), sourwood, which is one of our earliest turners, is starting to show some deep burgundies, though still mixed with green. Yellow birch is also showing its yellows in these upper slopes, as is sassafras which is starting with some yellows and orange.  Our maples are also just starting to show some deep reds, though color is limited and scattered.

Northwest Georgia:

As in Northeast Georgia, we’re still likely a week out for significant leaf color to begin. Some of the same species, including sourwood and maple, are beginning to show color, but again color is somewhat limited and scattered. 

Estimated percentage of color change from green to date:  5%

The weather is setting up for a good season with cooler nights and lots of sun. Continued similar weather should put us in good position for a great year.

Peak is a moving target, generally starting at the highest elevations and northern most latitudes and moving down in elevation and southerly in latitude and also influenced by aspect (direction of exposure) and species. Thus peak is different at different locations.

Overall peak, however, is generally around the last week and weekend in October. Given we may be a little late in starting this year, that window may stretch into early November.

This weekend is not likely to provide widespread leaf viewing but viewing the mountains any time of year is a treat.

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