ANNAPOLIS, Md. – This fall season is shaping up to be a memorable one, and if you’re lucky enough to live in or visit Western Maryland right now, you’ll soon know why. The fall foliage show is on in mountainous Western Maryland with a full spectrum of fall colors on display. This week we have an extended report from our park staff and foresters out west to help you figure out what’s happening where and plan your visits accordingly.
Although Western Maryland is the star of the show this week, the rest of our beautiful state is starting to transform as well, likely saving its peak displays for the weeks to come.
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came—
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
Excerpt taken from October’s Party by George Cooper
Don’t forget your camera this weekend. Send in photos of your fall Maryland adventures and we may use them in next week’s report.
Do you know someone who loves fall as much as you do? Have them sign up to receive our Fall Foliage Report every week, delivered directly to their inbox.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video surely is worth quite a bit more. To get this week foliage report started, check out this drone footage taken by Forester Melissa Nash, capturing sweeping views of fall color from Grantsville in Garrett County. Please note, park manager approval is required for drone use within our state parks.
In Washington County, most of the early trees are draped in cloaks of burgundy and gold, with more seeming to turn everyday. Perhaps surprising to some, one plant that is enjoyable to see, in the fall anyway, is poison ivy. Its vibrant ruby red really stands out among the yellow walnuts as it climbs through our forested landscape. The fall wildflowers give as good a show as the foliage, and if you get them together, it’s unmatched. Canada goldenrod and New England aster offer a study in complementary colors; growing near each other as these two do increases the pollinator visitation rates for each other since their color combination makes them really “pop” to pollinators.
Robert R. Schwartz, Forester, Clear Spring
Savage River State Forest
A noticeable change has taken place along the trails at Savage River State Forest. Red maple and sugar maple leaves are nearing the peak of color change; showing various shades of red, orange and yellow along the ridge tops and high elevations in Northern Garrett County. Black gum and sassafras are still displaying red leaves while the beech trees are beginning to turn to yellow. Always the last to arrive to fall’s party, the oak trees remain pretty green, but some of the white oaks are beginning to show glimmers of red and orange.
Sean Nolan, Forest Manager, Savage River State Forest
Potomac-Garrett State Forest
Frosty mornings followed by warm sunny afternoons has coaxed a full palette of colors at Potomac-Garrett State Forest. A second growth mixed hardwood forest dominated by mixed oaks, sugar and red maples, black cherry, basswood, ash and birch, Potomac-Garrett is a great destination for leaf peepers. “Snag” a campsite at Snaggy Mountain to surround yourself with fall’s glory.
Scott Campbell, Forest Manager, Potomac-Garrett State Forest
Fort Frederick State Park
The leaves are inching their way toward peak color at Fort Frederick. If going on a bike ride is your favorite way to take in the fall foliage, join us this Saturday for a guided tour on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. This ranger-led bike ride is approximately 8 miles long roundtrip and taken at a leisurely pace. Check out our calendar for more information and to learn about other park events.
Bob Study, State Park Ranger Supervisor, Fort Frederick State Park Complex
Garrett County visitors passing through the Deep Creek Lake area will enjoy stunning vistas as we begin peak fall foliage season. Changes in the weather have contributed to the rapid change, with some trees seeming to shift from one hue to the next overnight. Always a standout, the red maples range from rich golds to deep reds and fuchsias. Hickories are still displaying bold neon yellow tones while white oaks are shifting from green to russet, dropping many of their leaves. Quaking aspens wave with beautiful buttery shades of yellow and the forest staple, the Eastern Hemlock, holds steadfast with their deep emerald tones.
Cricket Smith, State Park Ranger, Deep Creek Lake State Park
In the picturesque Catoctin Mountains, colors are changing rapidly. Due to recent weather conditions the leaf colors are not quite as vibrant, but most views of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys do not disappoint.
Ranger Mark Spurrier, Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks
Patapsco Valley State Park is known for its beautiful scenery and many visitors head to the park this time of year to enjoy the fall foliage. The colors of the leaves are starting to change and the view along the trails in the Avalon area of the park excites visitors for what’s yet to come this fall.
Ranger Alyssa Myers, Patapsco Valley State Park
The redbuds and mockernut hickories are losing their leaves first, with the oaks starting to follow suit. The goldenrods are tapering off but the frost-white asters are holding strong for our pollinators.
Cristina V. Perez, Tree Planting Specialist, Maryland Forest Service Prince Frederick
We’ve had reports of fall changes beginning on the Eastern Shore but we’re still green for the most part. The fall wildflowers are happy to steal the show for now, and can be seen popping up along country roads and at local farm stands.
Photo Submissions for the Week
We’d like to thank all of the folks that continue to send in photos of fall scenes from across the state. Through your reports and photos we receive first-hand accounts of our fall transition in Maryland. Please send us your fall foliage photos, including the names of any tree species you spot, using our easy online form!
Fall Recreation Spotlight
55th Annual Autumn Glory Festival
Wednesday, October 12 – Sunday, October 16, 2022 in Oakland
The annual Autumn Glory Festival is a five-day celebration of autumn that celebrates the beauty of local fall foliage. https://www.visitdeepcreek.com/autumnglory/
Watch the sky
On October 14 the Moon and Mars meet on the celestial dance floor, passing within 3°35′ of each other. At around 5 a.m. on Friday morning, look to the southern horizon to see this pair close in. Friday also kicks off the ε-Geminid meteor shower. Friday to Tuesday you should see a steady increase in activity with the peak of the shower occurring around October 18. Look toward the constellation Gemini. The best viewing time should be 2 a.m., but you could see action anywhere between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The moon is waning this week but is still at 85%. By Tuesday it should be around 40%, so the star and meteor watching will be better by then since we’ll have less moonlight in the sky. Remember, dress warmly and give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the night sky. And for picking your best viewing spot, the darker, the better.