I’ve been in D.C. almost eight years and never seem to get out of the city enough. No better time than fall, especially given the proximity to idyllic farmland and mountains.
My girlfriend and I took our dog on an outing Sunday to Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.
…All images are available in larger versions by selecting…
Given prime leaf peeping season and the Park’s recent re-opening following a two week shutdown (thanks to government squabbling), it was noticeably busy in many parts. Not enough to spoil the breathtaking views.
Around the region, the foliage status maps posted by Brendan and Jason last week seemed to more or less accurately reflect the state of fall colors (a more recent update shows how quick it’s progressing).
CWG contributor Matt Ross made a great comment to me before heading out this weekend based on what he’s seen further north over the last 10 days in terms of fall color: elevation matters, a lot. The foliage maps you see won’t necessarily reflect conditions at the higher peaks.
The highest parts of the mountains and hilltops change color first and quickly. This was fairly easy to see in the area of the Shenandoah Park over the weekend. At the other end of the spectrum, areas moderated by either a warmer urban environment or water may exhibit slower change compared to surroundings.
By my estimation, much of the segment of road with overlooks near and above 3,000 feet are at or even past peak, while the 2,000 to 3,000 foot level is nearing peak. Below that, color remains patchier, with some spots still quite green. In other words, parts of the area described as “high color” in the maps linked above are a bit further along than the maps convey.
Changes will continue to be rapid over coming days and weeks given the natural decrease in sunlight. The combination of inbound colder temperatures and breezy conditions means you’ll be seeing bare limbs at the highest peaks before too long (already about the case in parts of West Virginia).
But of course as that happens, the rest of us are about to enter into peak period, one which may be accelerated after a slowish start in the urban center.
Should be a fun few weeks to spend outdoors…
Route and info