When to expect peak fall foliage in D.C.
Peak fall foliage in the D.C. area will be here before you know it.
Between the lines: D.C.'s early September heatwave and ongoing drought conditions could make the leaf colors duller.
Driving the news: Using historical weather reports, tree species info, and user data, travel brand SmokyMountains.com put together 2023 foliage prediction maps of the U.S.
- In the Mid-Atlantic, leaves change colors by October 23.
- The Mid-Atlantic will likely be past its peak fall colors by the end of November.
Best places to view fall foliage in the D.C. area include:
- Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, where outdoorsy leaf peepers can hike Old Rag, or anyone can cruise up Skyline Drive for a beautiful view.
- Maryland's Patapsco Valley State Park outside of Baltimore turns lovely hues and offers 200 miles of trails.
- The Potomac Heritage Trail is an easy one to access around D.C. — whether you're biking, walking, or paddling.
Between the lines: The green color in leaves comes from chlorophyll, the pigment that helps plants turn sunlight into energy via photosynthesis.
- As nights get longer and there's less sunlight in the fall, leaves stop making chlorophyll.
- The green color fades and the yellows, oranges, reds, or purples become visible. Not borophyll!
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