Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington

Fall Foliage – Peak Viewing Times

With the onset of cooler nights and shorter sunny days, trees are preparing themselves for winter, and are beginning to display the greatest show on earth. To find out where and when the best places and times for viewing fall foliage color changes this year, call the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service phone hotline: 800-354-4595 or visit the above Web link. If you want to know why leaves change color, according to the USDA Forest Service, here it is in a nutshell: The brighter the sunlight in the fall, the greater the production of anthocyanins (pigments) and the more brilliant the resulting color display that we see. When the days of autumn are bright and cool, and the nights are chilly but not freezing, the brightest colorations usually develop. Adequate rainfall also keeps the leaves on the trees longer and enhances the color.Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington; Fall along Crater Creek. Photo by Ken Sandusky (US Forest Service photo, 10/2010) [ info ]