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Posted at 01:46 PM ET, 10/19/2012

Fantastic fall foliage sneaking into Washington, D.C., peaking in the mountains (PHOTOS)

Beautiful red foliage seen along the Potomac in Virginia, directly across from the District (National Park Service)
Patchy, but vibrant fall colors are rapidly emerging in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. And one need not travel far to the north and west to experience autumn foliage at/near its prime.

“Along the Appalachian Mountains, foliage color is mostly high to peak,” writes the Foliage Network. “In the lower elevations, and along the coast, foliage color is low to moderate.”

The Blue Ridge mountains (although higher altitudes may be past peak) and Shenandoah Valley would be a great place to visit to take in high to peak fall color this weekend- if you can brave the traffic/crowds. In Maryland, forested areas in western Frederick, Washington and Allegany counties will feature some nice foliage.

Near-peak color around Old Rag mountain (elevation 3,291 feet) in the Blue Ridge on Saturday, October 13. (J. David photography, davebdc on Flickr )
A recent string of mild sunny days and crisp, clear nights is really bringing out the color. With more such days in the forecast - from the weekend well into next week - the color will only improve closer and closer to Washington, D.C. In the north and west suburbs, peak color is probably just 7-10 days away. Inside the beltway and in the south and east suburbs, colors should reach their prime between Halloween and November 10.

At the same time, leaves have already started to fall at the high elevations of western Virginia, western Maryland (e.g. Garrett county) and eastern West Virginia and peak conditions have just about passed.

Here are some tremendous photos we’ve received from readers of fall color in the region this past week...

A sun-drenched leaf in Fourway, Virginia, October 13. (J. David photography, davebdc on Flickr )

Colorful maples near Old Rag mountain, Va. on October 13 (Barbara Anne am Ende, Squirrel Girl cbk on Flickr )

More detailed regional foliage reports are available here (but may or may not be up-to-date):

Virginia - state overview

Shenandoah National Park

Maryland - state overview

Reminder: we want your fall foliage photos! Submit them to us on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.

By  |  01:46 PM ET, 10/19/2012

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