Includes a Discussion on When Leaves Change Where
Fall is in full swing in the Adirondacks. Although low-hanging gray clouds hug the mountains today, one can see colorful leaves scattered on the hardwoods.
As you can see in today’s featured photos, green remains the dominate color, punctuated by dabs of russet, orange, and gold. These pictures were taken this morning, 12 September at about 2,200 feet of elevation, just outside the Village of Lake Placid, N.Y. Readers have been asking when we expect “peak” viewing conditions in the Adirondacks and how will the leaves look the week of _____? I am not a scientist, although I don’t think they have a firm answer either, but I can offer empirical data based on my experience living in the Adirondacks for the last 27 years.
A good rule of thumb is the further north and higher in elevation you go, the sooner the leaves change color. One could conceivably catch three months of New York State peak foliage colors with a well-planned road trip from Lake Placid to Montauk. Leaves start showing color in the Adirondacks in August, depending on elevation and how much cold weather the region has experienced.
By now, in mid-September, we’ve normally enjoyed a few chilly nights. This morning’s temperature was 41; it felt cold and damp, like autumn. But it has been a warm late summer, so the resident biologist and I are calling the leaves only about 15 percent changed today. One would find a tad more color close to the top of Mount Marcy.
I hesitate to talk about “peak” viewing because beauty is subjective. Some foliage aficionados prefer the burnt burgundies and browns of late fall. But for those who want to see the greatest variety of colored leaves still attached to the trees, late September is usually the best time to be in the Adirondacks.
Weather conditions remain a factor until every last leaf is on the ground in late October, except the forsaken beeches. A dry summer followed by a windy, stormy early autumn can mean a less than ideal fall foliage season in the Adirondacks. The region around Lake Placid and the High Peaks has enjoyed a good growing season with few dry periods. This combined with the recent colder temperatures and nearly 100 percent foliage remaining on the trees, sets us up for a possible exceptional season. The weather forecast calls for slightly colder temperatures through the next week, which will help bring out the vivid red, gold, and orange shades that elicit awe in most humans.
If you’d like more information and current conditions on leaf peeping season in the Adirondacks, I Love NY’s foliage report is updated every Wednesday afternoon. I will put the link in the right sidebar for the fall season. I will continue my reports, but I reserve the right to post only a photo since they speak a thousand words and life is busy.
Finally, the best place to enjoy fall in the Adirondacks is outdoors. Out I must.