Foliage Report


Autumn Comes Early in the Adirondacks

The fall foliage season in the Adirondacks is fast approaching. We're experiencing warm autumn days with cool nights (dipping to the mid-30s to low 40s) that start the vibrant color change we look for in deciduous trees and shrubs. In the High Peaks Region around Lake Placid, peak foliage viewing typically occurs during the last two weeks of September while the autumn colors bloom later in the lower elevations along Lake Champlain and parts of Hamilton County.

Changing Colors

So, you’ve probably asked yourself the age-old question, “Why do the leaves change color and what is the timing?”  Every autumn we’re asked this question numerous times in our Visitor Center. 

Green leaves are green because of the pigment called chlorophyll. It is produced by capturing solar rays and using that energy to make the plant’s food, which is basically simple sugars. They are the only source of carbohydrates, which are the basis of a plant’s growth and development. Since there is so much chlorophyll in the leaves during the growing season, the predominant color of the leaf is green, although the other colors are really there, just not visible as the green is so dominant.

Late in the summer season, the hours of daylight shorten and air temperatures become cooler. The veins in the leaves slowly close off at the base, reducing the fluid intake to the leaf. During this period, chlorophyll levels gradually decrease, and the leaf slowly loses the green pigment, allowing the other colors to become visible.  Voila! Spectacular fall foliage. Some years the color is more brilliant than others with differing dominant colors from year to year.  Lots of factors influence this, including average rainfall, which seems like a major factor. The beauty of this variance is that it’s always a surprise and we never know what it will truly look like from year to year. So come, enjoy the surprise!

2018 Foliage Report

October 9

Percent of trees predicted to have changed by the coming weekend: 100% 
Brilliance: Very bright and brilliant colors.
Predominating colors: Red, purples, golds, green, and bright yellows. 
Rating: Peak.

October 1

Percent of trees predicted to have changed by the coming weekend: 50-60% 
Brilliance: Bright.
Predominating colors: Bright reds, yellows, golds, and oranges. The recent rain brought the colors out quickly, and the sun has made them suddenly bright. 
Rating: Near peak.

September 24

Percent of trees predicted to have changed by the coming weekend: 15% 
Brilliance: Average.
Predominating colors: Still very green with some yellows, golds, and reds showing across Mirror Lake. 
Rating: Just beginning.

September 17

Percent of trees predicted to have changed by the coming weekend: 10-15% 
Predominating colors: Still green with some yellows and reds peeking in around every corner. 
Rating: Just beginning.

September 10

Percent of trees predicted to have changed by the coming weekend: 5% 
Brilliance: Average.
Predominating colors: Touches of yellow and red popping through. 
Rating: Just beginning.

Ready to come explore the awesome Adirondack autumn? We're ready to help you plan! Check out our lodging, dining, and event pages then head to the ADK this fall!

E-Newsletter Signup Form