Adirondacks, Catskills in full autumn color for Columbus Day weekend

Autumn colors are at mid-peak, near-peak and peak conditions in many parts of New York State.
Autumn colors are at mid-peak, near-peak and peak conditions in many parts of New York State.

The scheme has changed in the Adirondacks and Catskills.

Summer greens are out and the fix is in: Shades of crimson and gold, along with autumn accents of orange, copper and bronze, are the new sensation.

Empire State Development, which administers the I Love New York tourism program, on Wednesday released its weekly fall foliage report.

The mid-October entry in the series is often anticipated by leaf fans who travel for the seasonal color shows.  The long Columbus Day weekend offers extra opportunities to drive and dive into peak color regions.

This year, tree tops may not be as brilliant as in years past.

“There’s a lot of variance that can’t be predicted,” said Jerry Carlson, a research scientist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Lands and Forests Division. “Generally speaking, I would say the leaf colors are not so good because there haven’t been the intensive sunlight and warm nights that are necessary for the reds to show up.”

People who travel north and south will still see autumn in action — veins of red and gold are running through local mountains.

“It’s still spectacular,” Carlson said. “It’s not going to be one of our best years but we’re going to get some great color, no question about it. Some of the species out there, like the red maple, of which we have a lot, they are always a bright crimson.”

Eric Scheffel, a spokesman for Empire State Development, offered some favorite drives for weekend colors.

“The best drives are going to be to Greene County in the Catskills and up to some locations in Essex County in the Adirondacks,” Scheffel said. “You’ll see peak colors above 2,000 feet in Greene County, near peak colors in the town of Catskill, Hunter Mountain will have some good color this weekend.”

In Essex County, Scheffel said, towns along Lake Champlain are nearing peak. “Crown Point, Ticonderoga, Schroon Lake, those will be good places to visit this weekend.”

Lake Placid will be at peak this weekend.

People who decide to head west might consider Allegany State Park in Cattaraugus County.

“Here’s the real trip if anybody wants to make it,” Scheffel said. “We have a town called Boston, it’s in Erie County, and they expect to see near peak colors this weekend.”

The Capital Region is at mid-point.

“Generally, between the counties here, we’re looking at about 50 percent color change,” Scheffel said. “Next week’s report, we should be in near peak conditions for most areas in the Capital-Saratoga district.” 

Reports are filed by volunteer field observers and reflect color conditions for the coming weekend.

This week’s other highlights include:

* Near peak conditions expected in Warren County communities of North Creek, Hague and Thurman.

* Spotters at Lapland Lake Resort in southern Hamilton County project about an 80 percent color change.

* Franklin County’s Tupper Lake and Malone are just past peak.

* Old Forge, in Herkimer County, is deep red, burnt orange and yellow and about 90 percent complete for color change.

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]


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