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1st 2023 fall foliage map report for Pennsylvania released of the season

Pennsylvania's 1st 2023 fall foliage report released
Pennsylvania's 1st 2023 fall foliage report released 00:44

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Sunday is the first day of October and it's starting to look like it! Leaves are beginning to change in the Poconos, creating a beautiful scene in Jim Thorpe.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources released its first "foliage report" of the season. It said summer rain and moderate temperatures have set the stage for a very colorful display in 2023!

Pennsylvania is known to have a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the U.S. -- or anywhere in the world -- according to the state DCNR. Eastern North America is among only three regions in the world that have forests that display fall-autumn colors. 

The yellow on the map shows where the best color is approaching.


When do Autumn leaves change color?

When the days start to get shorter and the nights become longer and cooler, you will typically begin to see fall foliage change. Experts say a succession of warm, sunny days followed by cool, crisp nights often bring about the best color displays.

What causes the tree colors to change?

There are three factors that are said to help change leaves to autumn colors, which include leaf pigment, length of night and weather, according to the Pennsylvania DNCR, adding that the timing of color change and leaf fall is primarily correlated to the increasing length of night. Shorter days and longer, cooler nights kickstart a biochemical process to change colors. So, just like if some of your house plants don't get enough light, they will begin to yellow or brown. 

Soil moisture also affects the chemistry of autumn colors. A late spring or even a dry summer can impact the intensity of fall colors. The best autumn colors typically come after a warm wet spring, favorable summer weather and warm fall days with cool nights, DCNR said. Because of this, experts say no two years or locations are ever the same. 

When is the best time to see fall colors?

Timing of the colors varies by tree species, officials said. Some, like the blackgum, begin in late August, while others, like dogwood, start to change in mid-September. Then, in late September and early October, maples will begin to become red and orange. However, oaks are the last to turn and will wait to change until long after the maples have already shed leaves. Peak 2023 fall foliage colors are expected in Pennsylvania around mid-October, according to the report. 

Fall foliage near me

In Jim Thorpe, you can take an autumn leaf train excursion on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. The train leaves from the Jim Thorpe Train Station and takes passengers on a 45-minute round-trip ride through the scenic Pennsylvania mountain fall foliage. The excursions run from Sep. 30 through Nov. 5. 

For more information on where to see the best fall foliage, visit VisitPA, where you can find a fall foliage webcam, route suggestions and dates for events across the state. 

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