Mark your calendar: When you can see Ohio’s fall leaves at their peak

Weather Blog

CLEVELAND (WJW) — If you were miserable in the humidity this summer, which is tied for fourth of all time most humid, or suffered with flooding during the second wettest summer on record in Northeast Ohio, according to our FOX 8 weather team, you’ll soon reap the benefits of what experts call a “good growing season.”

Yes, that’s right. What we just experienced in Northeast Ohio – warm temps, humidity and rain, lots of rain – was a good growing season, ending in what’s expected to be a magnificent display of awe-inspiring color as the local, fruit-bearing trees have one last hurrah before going dormant in winter.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Fall Color Forester David Parrott says the conditions are lining up for the leaves to produce intense color this season as we approach peak week in mid-October, specifically October 18, seen in the smokymountains.com interactive map below.

Parrott says the length of daylight is the main driver that signals leaves to change. Longer nights and shorter days, along with the cooler weather, let the leaves know it’s time to flaunt their color and eventually fall, making a multi-colored, crunchy carpet under your feet.

“The conditions needed for great fall color start as early as spring,” he said. “The amount of rainfall we had signaled the leaves to perform more photosynthesis.”

According to Smoky Mountains website, chlorophyll is not the only player in the fall leaf-color game. Compounds known as Carotenoids and Anthocyanins are stored in the leaves, hidden by the green tones that chlorophyll gives off. Then as the fall days begin to get shorter and shorter, the production of chlorophyll slows to a hault, eventually giving way to the ‘true’ color of the leaf.

Parrott says that at ODNR, they encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the state parks, even if their only motivation is seeing the colors of fall leaves.

He says one of the best places to see amazing views of colorful foliage in Northeast Ohio is at Mohican State Forest in Perrysville.

If you’re able to travel to parks farther south where peak week is later, during late-October, he says you can also check out Great Seal State Park in Chillicothe or Hocking Hills State Park in Logan.

The Cleveland Metroparks made a list of the top 8 places to see fall colors right here in Northeast Ohio:

  • Tinker’s Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook and the Buckeye Trail in Bedford Reservation
  • Bunns Lake in Bradley Woods Reservation
  • Chippewa Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook in Brecksville Reservation
  • Mill Creek Falls Overlook in Garfield Park Reservation
  • Hinkley Lake Loop Trail in Hinkley Reservation
  • Sylvan Loop Trail and Squire’s Castle in North Chagrin Reservation
  • Fort Hill Stairs and Loop Trail in Rocky River Reservation
  • Skinner’s Run and Skyline Overlook in West Creek Reservation

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