Aficionados of nature's fall display will find leaves reaching peak color in the District of Columbia between now and the end of the month. Rock Creek Park is one of the best foliage viewing areas in the city.
District residents seeking larger panoramas may choose some of the more popular areas in Virginia and Maryland.
Along twisting Skyline Drive, Virginia's most popular viewing area, trees should be at peak color between now and Oct. 20. Park officials say weekend traffic is usually heavy during the peak period and suggest that visitors try the drive during the week.
Closer to home are the rural and less congested roads throughout Loudoun, Stafford, Fauquier and Prince William counties. Peak time there should arrive sometime between this weekend and the end of the month. Among the scenic drives in those areas are Rte. 9 in Loudoun County, toward Harper's Ferry, W.Va., and Rte. 17 in Prince William and Stafford counties.
In Maryland, specialists say the best places to see fall colors are higher elevations such as the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County, where leaves are scheduled to reach peak color between now and Oct. 20. One of the more popular places there is Cunningham Falls State Park, about 12 miles north of Frederick.
West Virginia, about a two-hour drive from Washington, offers several good foliage-viewing areas. The trees there are expected to reach peak color between now and Oct. 20. Sleepy Creek Hunting Area near the town of Berkeley Springs is a scenic 27,000 acre reserve.