When and where to find the best foliage


With fall fast approaching, it feels like summer, especially August, “has crept in in an instant.” Taylor Swift, once again, captures the truth with her lyrics. This summer has passed at full speed, and we are fast approaching crisp, crisp temperatures and fall sweater weather. Welcome.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Indiana’s best fall foliage, don your “Cardigan” and let IndyStar and the trusted Queen of Pop guide you over the next few months.

When will fall colors peak in 2021?

The best fall colors in central Indiana will really kick in around mid-October. The Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Forecast Map shows that most of the state reaches “near peak” around October 18 and full “peak” around October 25.

The annual tool, meant to serve as a guide rather than a strict deadline, shows how leaves can change color from week to week. As Swift says, “You can anticipate a change of weather and weather. “

As with the rest of the country, parts of northern Indiana will see their best fall colors sooner, reaching a “near peak” around October 11 and a full “peak” around October 18.

By November 1, most of the state will have “passed the peak.”

The weather also has an impact on when the leaves change color, so an early frost for the season, for example, could cause the leaves to drop before they have had a chance to change color, according to NOAA.

Why are the leaves ‘red’, orange and yellow?

Do you remember learning about photosynthesis? Indiana Department of Natural Resources has an activity page for kids for a refresher on the science behind it all. But in short, it comes down to chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that absorbs sunlight and helps them produce food.

In spring and summer, more sunshine means that the trees produce more chlorophyll. And while plants absorb light, they don’t absorb the green wavelengths of white light – and that’s why they appear green to our eyes.

In the fall, they get “so bright, right before they lose it all,” as Swift would say, because of the cooler temperatures and fewer daylight hours. The production of chlorophyll begins to break down, the fluids disappear and we start to see reds, oranges and yellows.

Where to go to see the best fall leaves in Indiana?

Whether you want to hop into a “getaway car” and turn your fall foliage viewing into a day trip, or if you prefer to stay “out of the woods,” central Indiana has close and close opportunities. distant.

State parks and trails

Brown County State Park: Fall colors bloom every year on Brown County State Park’s 16,000 acres, filled with maple, oak, sycamore and other trees. The state park website lists the best viewpoints in the park, including their “most popular” viewpoint, Hesitation Point.

Fort Harrison State Park: It is “the last wooded spot in Marion County, according to the MRN, offering colorful views each fall. Hiking trails, picnic areas and fishing grounds make up the 1,700-acre park northeast of Indianapolis.

Monon trail: Walking the trail gives visitors the opportunity to pass under “long stretches of leafy canopy”, Hamilton County says online. In Westfield, the new Grand Park extension in Sheridan also has views bordered by oak, elm, and maple trees.

Monroe Lake: As the largest man-made body of water in the state, Monroe Lake offers views of fall foliage at the water’s edge. Visitors can rent boats near the lake until October, says Erin White, director of entertainment and media marketing at Visit Bloomington. County Monroe also has more than 30 parks, including ‘breathtaking 360-degree views of the leaves’ from the top of Hoosier National Forest.

McCormick’s Creek State Park:Indiana’s premier state park offers a diverse array of trees for fall foliage, in addition to a limestone canyon, stream, and scenic waterfalls.

Clifty Falls State Park: “The park’s waterfalls change their mood with the weather and the seasons”, DNR said on his site. Although winter and spring are the best for seeing the waterfalls, the park offers hikes and scenery of “rugged splendor” all year round.

University campuses

University of Notre Dame, South Bend: Escape from your “Champagne problems” with a trip to South Bend, where Notre Dame would be the inspiration for Swift’s hit “Evermore”. Swift’s younger brother Austin attended college, which some say provided the story for his song about college lovers.

In addition to campus landmarks, including the Golden Dome and the Sacred Heart Basilica, you can get Instagram-worthy fall views. in South Bend, including at Potato Creek State Park and near the Saint-Joseph river.

Indiana University

Indiana University, Bloomington: With both outdoor recreation and campus life at IU, fall is “the prime season in County Monroe,” White says.

On campus, White recommends visiting Dunn Meadow Park, IU Cox Arboretum, Old Crescent, and Dunn Woods. The area near Sample Gates and Kirkwood Avenue, “where campus and community connect,” also offers a unique fall view.

“The curvy red brick sidewalks offer some truly unique twists,” White said. “Fantastic place for people who want an urban experience in the changing leaves and who may also have an affinity or a relationship with the university. It really evokes that nostalgia.”

To avoid large crowds and get the most out of your trip, consider a midweek trip instead of the weekend if possible, White says.

Purdue University: The West Lafayette campus offers self-guided tours on its online site Purdue Arboretum Explorer. The Fall must-see tour includes views of American Sweetgum trees, with a range of scarlet, orange, yellow, and bronze shades, and Sourwood trees, with leaves appearing in red, purple, and yellow. The visit also highlights the Paperbark maple, whose “cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark … complements its excellent red foliage in fall”.

Contact journalist IndyStar and Swiftie Rashika Jaipuriar To [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @rashikajpr.


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