Piedmont foliage at its peak

The trail was engulfed in a a tunnel of color and in the course of two days I went from fearing that the fall foliage display had passed us by to believing this was the best fall color show ever.

Going into last weekend I was convinced that fall color in the Piedmont would be at its peak. The week before had seen sunny, dry days and overnight lows had dropped into the 30s: the perfect combo, say the folks who follow the lives and deaths of leafs, for great color. Yet on a long Sunday afternoon hike at Umstead State Park, there was precious little color to be oogled.
Wednesday morning, though, driving to RDU we finally did notice that change, in the hardwoods lining I-40. On a Thursday afternoon run on Umstead’s Company Mill Trail, the change was remarkable. Early this morning, on Umstead’s Loblolly Trail, I was suddenly embraced by the raspberry reds of the dogwoods, the lemony yellows of the hickories and the orangey oranges of the smattering of spectacular sugar maples. It was the Trix triple play of fall color. (Check out our short slideshow, shot this morning on the Loblolly and Old Reedy Creek trails.)
It’s finally happening, folks. Fall color is peaking in the Piedmont, and you best not wait to enjoy it.
According to the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development’s Piedmont Fall Foliage report, Haw River State Park and Falls Lake State Recreation Area are likewise reporting peak color. Officially, Umstead reports that, “The next two weekends should be excellent times to visit the park.” Based on what we saw, it’s hard to imagine this level of brilliance will stick around that long. If you love fall color and you live in the Piedmont, we suggest you not delay — get out this weekend.
For direction, we refer you to this rundown of 35 Piedmont hiking trails we produced in conjunction with our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co. http://greatoutdoorprovision.com
Pick a trail. Get your camera. Have a colorful weekend.

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