With the cherry blossoms stealing the show in spring, fall foliage at the Tidal Basin is often overlooked. But autumn months feature gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and green that paint the Tidal Basin’s cherry trees. And without thousands of cherry blossom spectators, the Tidal Basin is surprisingly peaceful in fall.

We both visited the Tidal Basin several times last week hoping to view the Antares rocket launch and shoot foliage, so we were aware that color was not quite at peak by Friday. However, with a very windy weekend forecast (which verified) we decided there was a good chance a decent leaf fall was ahead.  Thus, Friday, October 31, seemed like the best day for a fall photo shoot.

When we arrived Friday morning at the Tidal Basin, it was easy to notice that the trees were not quite in the same shape as last year when the cherry tree’s foliage had vibrant color for our shoot on the 2nd of November.  This year, as some of the trees were just starting to change color a number of trees were already bare or headed there, and colors were somewhat muted on the whole.

The weather this year from late summer into fall has probably impacted the leaf color. Ideal conditions for the best foliage color are moist in the summer and cool and dry in the early fall. However, that’s exactly the opposite of what these trees experienced. While there is plenty of great color around, there are also a lot of withered or otherwise damaged leaves on a large number of trees.

The scene this fall was still beautiful, however, and well worth the trip and photo shoot.  It’s a great time of year to take a stroll or jog around the Tidal Basin.

At the bottom of this post, we show how the other seasons compare to fall at the Tidal Basin.  We particularly focused on comparisons with spring and winter using photos taken from the same locations. One photo comparison shows all four seasons shot from different locations.  Of course, the Tidal Basin is awesome during all seasons.

Be sure to select photos to view full size versions. The comparison photos in particular are much more dramatic at full size.

Comparing the Seasons: