For many Ohioans, autumn represents pumpkin carving, the harvest season, Halloween campouts, and corn mazes. Spotting the first glimpse of fall color—seeing the leaves changing to strong reds, vivid yellows and bold oranges—is also a favorite fall activity. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will help people find the best places to view the changing colors throughout the season with weekly updates starting next Wednesday, Sept. 27.
“Autumn is a great time to explore the outdoors and experience everything that Ohio has to offer with a backdrop of dazzling colors,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “Our state parks, nature preserves, and forests are bustling with visitors who want to make memories that last a lifetime over the next few months.”
Forecasting fall color is challenging as foresters must consider several variables such as length of days, sunlight, temperature, wind, and rainfall when estimating the intensity and longevity of leaf color. This fall, the ODNR Division of Forestry is expecting color to peak in the northern third of Ohio the second week of October, the third week of October for the central third, and the fourth week of October for the southern third.
Watch the 2023 Ohio Fall Color Forecast for more information on the current forecast and the science behind fall color.
“This year’s weather may have a significant impact on the distribution of fall colors statewide,” ODNR Fall Color Forester David Parrott said. “We had a dry spring and a dry end to this summer. These dry conditions can lead to trees being more stressed, and stressed trees tend to lose their chlorophyll earlier and drop their leaves. However, as long as we get enough precipitation to help the leaves hang on through the fall—without any storms that blow the leaves off—the cool evenings we are starting to experience with the sunny days are setting this fall up to have some great fall colors in many areas throughout the state.”
Those interested in finding the most eye-catching leaves throughout the season should check out ODNR’s fall color website, the official guide to the changing colors. The website includes:
- Weekly color updates and information to help plan a fall color adventure;
- Unique overnight accommodations at Ohio State Parks; and
- Fun events happening around the state.
ODNR encourages people to share fall color photos using #OhioFall23, #OhioTheHeartofitAll and #FallinOhio. Each week, ODNR will choose photos from those who use this hashtag to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more fall color photos, follow ODNR, Ohio State Parks and Ohio The Heart of It All. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @OhioDNR, @OHStateParks, @odnrforestry and @OhioTheHeartofitAll.
High resolution fall color photos from previous years can be found here.