Moderate to high fall color is blanketing the region in brilliant reds, striking yellows and elegant oranges.

While a trip west and into somewhat higher elevations may still be required for high or peak color, every day brings us a big step closer to peak locally. Thus far, the change appears more or less on track compared to average. Peak color is coming up soon in western and northern parts of the area, progressing east into early November.

Other than a small bump in the road this weekend, warmer than normal conditions are set to persist into next week.

Where it’s poppin'

High and peak color is ongoing in the foothills and similarly elevated regions. At the highest elevations west, peak has come and gone, with significant leaf drop now reported. In and around the DMV, we’re in the moderate color zone at present.

Across Maryland, peak conditions are beginning across our far northwestern suburbs in parts of the Frederick County and Washington County areas. Most elevated northern parts of the state are also nearing peak. In far southern parts of the state, colors are still on the low side.

“The continued calm weather and only light scattered showers and gentle breezes have allowed the best foliage in years to stay on the trees,” noted forester Aaron Cook in Washington County, to the northwest of Frederick.

In Virginia, color varies from past peak in the highest spots to low color near the coast.

The Department of Forestry writes, “this weekend should be near peak coloration for mid to higher elevations throughout the western mountains and Alleghenies.” Predominant colors in those regions include red, orange and gold.

While the Blue Ridge is moving past peak, the oaks — a late-changing tree — are beginning to do their thing, adding new pops of color to the always beautiful region.

“In the coastal plain, you can see colors in low swampy areas, as well as on city and landscape trees,” the Forestry Department notes.

City trees are also coming along, with some early-turners like locust and dogwood shedding plenty of leaves. Urban street trees are further along than places like Rock Creek Park. Peak is probably still at least 10 days or so off in and around the Capital Beltway.

Recent photos

Most reports continue to suggest color is high quality this year. We can probably thank a frequently wet summer followed by a drier fall. Despite the warmth recently, there have also been a few cooler periods and plenty of cooler nights.

Below is a sampling of recent color across the area.





Saturday is probably the day to head out this weekend. A cold front passes the region during the day, but it’s largely dry and there should be plenty of sun. There could be a brief shower, especially early in the higher elevations west.

Temperatures will remain warm through Saturday to the east of the high country of Maryland and West Virginia. Highs can be expected to reach the 70s under partly sunny skies.

It will be much cooler Sunday. Pretty much everywhere will be in the 50s and socked in with clouds. Some of the mountain peaks out west may see more sun, but temperatures are cool there as well. If you can stomach the cooler weather, clouds are often surprisingly helpful for foliage photography.

It warms back up into next week, at least through midweek, before more seasonal air trickles back. Leaf-flinging winds shouldn’t be too much of a problem in the near term.

Previous reports

Keep up with the leaf change through the government websites for Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. We’ll have Friday updates at Capital Weather Gang through the season.