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.read more
Late last week I had a great idea. If you’re planning a trip to the mountains to catch the fall color, you check out the Weekly Fall Forecast and Color Report issued by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority. There, you can find updated reports from throughout the mountains about what colors are popping where.
But what if you don’t have time to drive to the mountains? Or what about when the season has peaked there and is blooming closer to home (assuming that home is in the Piedmont)?
Why not do a similar report for the Piedmont? I thought. I could do it based on reports from the dozen or so state parks, recreation areas and natural areas spread throughout the Piedmont. What brilliant idea!
Apparently the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development thought so, too, because they’re already doing it.
From this week’s report, for instance, we learn that as of Monday, “you can see a small change in color with yellows being the most predominant” at Raven Rock State Park near Lillington. And as of Wednesday at Falls Lake State Recreation Area in the Triangle, “Hickories are a nice golden yellow, and sweetgums and poplars continue to turn yellow as their leaves fall. The oaks and maples are still holding onto their green colors but should start to transition soon.” Other reporting stations since Oct. 1 include Haw River State Natural Area, Pilot Mountain State Park, Crowders Mountain State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, Mayo River State Park, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, Eno River State Park and Lake Norman State Park.
Personally, within the last week and a half I’ve seen the dogwoods and sourwoods add to the tableau at Eno River, Falls Lake and UmsteadState Park with flashes of red and maroon. Color may not be close to peaking in the Piedmont, but it’s certainly starting to show. And based on the forecast for next week, there could be a significant uptick in color next weekend: temperatures are expected to cool significantly, with overnight lows dipping into the 30s. Cold snaps are one event that can significantly accelerate fall’s color display.
To recap:read more