ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Here we are, mid-October, and reports indicate that the leaves are dropping quickly. With wet conditions the past few days and some wind in the forecast for the weekend we may see significant leaf loss through the next week. Fall seems to have taken hold across the state with the west near or at peak foliage and areas east slowly following suit. Most of the Eastern Shore has yet to substantially change, but we see signs that will change soon.
“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived.
And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.”
Join us as we follow the transition each week with reports from our experts at our state forests and parks. This year for the first time, we welcome all of Maryland’s outdoor enthusiasts to send in photos capturing the beauty of the fall season. Please use the submission form to submit your entries directly to us. Your photo might be selected to appear in a future edition of the Fall Foliage Report!
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Garrett County, Maryland
Finzel – Backbone Mountain
Areas of good color can be found throughout the county… it just isn’t an especially vibrant year. With the extended warmer temperatures and rainfall we have experienced this fall, maples that turned early are starting to shed their leaves and the oaks are beginning to slowly change to shades of golden yellow and brown. One benefit of the warmer temps and rainfall — they create the perfect environment for mushrooms! Edible mushrooms such as hen of the woods, chicken of the woods, lion’s mane, and many others are in abundance right now. Some edible mushrooms are easy to identify while others are more difficult. Be sure to positively identify any wild mushrooms before consuming. Melissa Nash Forester/Garrett Project Manager, Forest Service
Lions Mane – Hen of the Woods – Chicken of the Woods
Allegany County, Maryland
Fall foliage this year (bottom photo) compared to last year (top photo) is markedly different, as seen in these contrasting photos taken on October 14, 2020 and October 14, 2021 of the trees around the Maryland Forest Service office in Allegany County.
The leaves are coming down, temperatures remain higher than normal, and woodstoves remain untouched here in Allegany County. Large swaths of fall color are hard to come by due to leaf drop, but views along the ridges are pleasant. Daniel B. Hedderick – Forest Service Allegany County
Washington County, Maryland
Fort Frederick State Park
Fort Frederick picnic area, October 14, 2021
Check back each week, we’ll be posting an updated photo of this spot
so you can see the leaves changing week to week.
While most visitors are looking up into the trees, we looked down this week to the forest floor where damp weather has brought an abundance of fungus to the park. Checking in on our picnic spot on the Earth’s 78th Meridian, we are beginning to see gold and amber in the treetops. Bob Study – Fort Frederick State Park Complex
Cecil County, Maryland
Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area
Fall is in the air here at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area! We are beginning to see hues of red in our maples and subtle yellows in our abundant tulip poplars. There is quite a bit of leaf drop due to the cicadas this summer, but we are still looking forward to some great fall foliage in the coming weeks. Ranger Diana Marsteller – Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area
Baltimore and Howard Counties
Patapsco Valley State Park
The trees at Patapsco Valley State Park are starting to change but with all the rain lately their leaves are falling quickly, carpeting the forest floor with color. Ranger Alyssa Myers – Patapsco Valley State Park
Photo Submissions for the Week
We’d like to thank all the folks that continue to send in photos of fall scenes from around Maryland. Glimpses of fall and shorter days can be seen from all parts of the state thanks to your participation. Please send us your fall foliage photos, including the names of any tree species you spot, using our easy online form!
Rocky Gap State Park
Fall Recreation Spotlight
Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill
October 14 – 17, 2021
Equestrian events are a Maryland tradition and there is no better place to see equestrians in action than the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Special Event Zone in Cecil County. Through October 17, you can attend the Maryland Five Star Equestrian Triathlon at Fair Hill, one of only seven events of its kind worldwide. Learn more and get tickets at www.visitmaryland.org.
Watch the sky
This week is all about the moon and our planetary gas giants, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter. The moon will be in its first quarter on October 14 and Saturn will be close, which should delight skygazers. On October 15 it’s Jupiter’s turn to take the spotlight, and on October 18 you’ll get a chance to see the peak of the ε-Geminid Meteor Shower. This is no blockbuster but another chance to get outside and enjoy the beautiful night sky. Looking ahead, the Orionid Meteor Shower occurs next week.
Photo from NASA