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Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Oct. 13-14, 2018

Map of fall foliage and festivalsWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Oct. 13 and 14, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Garrett County Forester Melissa Nash reports that most of the maples turned brown early and are already bare. “We did get some color last week, but most of those are now bare. Many of the oaks are still pretty green, but are starting to change.” While this is Autumn Glory Festival weekend in Oakland and typically peak season for fall foliage, Nash believe it may be a bit muted.

Rocky Gap State Park, photo by Ranger Christine Bridges

Rocky Gap State Park

In New Germany State Park near Grantsville, nestled between the 2,900-foot Big Savage Mountain to the east and the eastern Continental Divide along Meadow Mountain to the west, the autumn foliage is reflected in the park’s 13-acre lake and prominently displayed along its more than 10 miles of trails.

Rocky Gap State Park and Green Ridge State Forest, both in Allegany County, are reporting that foliage is starting to pop and should be approaching peak within the next week or so. Ranger Julia Musselman says, “Although we still have not reached peak conditions, isolated pops of color can be appreciated throughout the Rocky Gap. Hopefully cooler temperatures this week will help bring out the brightest colors!”

Consider taking a self-guided driving tour of Green Ridge State Forest. The complete tour is approximately 30-miles long and makes an enjoyable three-hour scenic drive, taking you through a change in elevation from 450 feet along the Potomac River to 1,800 feet at the top of Town Hill.

View from Gambrill State Park, photo by Ranger Mark Spurrier

Gambrill State Park

Allegany County Forester Dan Hedrick reports that just a little color has arrived. “This will be noticed by up close drives only in the foreground and not from a distance yet. Maples trees and Virginia creeper vines have started to change providing some yellows, reds and brown.”

Hedrick explains that the lack of overall color can be due to a wet fall, which creates the perfect conditions for anthracnose, a leaf disease caused by fungi. Trees that can be affected are ash, basswood, birch, dogwoods, elm, hickory, maple, oak, sycamore, walnut and yellow poplar. Fortunately this disease only has an effect on fall color with no longer-term issues for tree health barring any other stressors. For homeowners with smaller trees, Hedrick recommends: “Remove leaf litter from under your smaller trees since the disease will overwinter in fallen leaves to strike again next year if conditions are right.”

Gambrill State Park Ranger Mark Spurrier reports that “slowly but surely fall is arriving in Frederick County.” 


Autumn Glory Festival

Garrett County’s biggest event of the year, the Autumn Glory Festival, is underway in Oakland and other locations throughout the county. Highlights include the Official Maryland State Banjo and Fiddle Championships, Fireman’s Parade, Grand Feature Parade, Mountain Arts Cooperative Show and Sale, Western Maryland Tournament of Bands, 5K Run, the Tall Tale Storytelling and Book Festival, and an authentic Oktoberfest celebration. For those heading to the event, the fall foliage will certainly not disappoint! Reports from the region indicate the leaves are just about at peak and should remain so through the weekend.

If you are in the area of Swallow Falls State Park, take some time to enjoy the Annual Apple Butter Boil Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and take a hike out to Muddy Creek Falls, Maryland’s largest single-drop waterfall, where the brilliant colors really pop in the shaded gorges along the Youghiogheny River, complimented by the grandeur of the park’s magnificent stands of hemlocks.

Enjoy vivid fall colors Saturday morning while pedaling along the Western Maryland Rail Trail Guided Bike Tour. Learn about the exploration and expansion of Western Maryland along the former Western Maryland Railway corridor. The guided bike ride is approximately 22 miles long and is taken at a leisurely pace. Meet at the C&O Bicycle Shop in Hancock at 10 a.m.

The Catoctin Colorfest in Thurmont this weekend is one of the largest outdoor craft shows on the East Coast. Local art, jewelry, crafts and a variety of delicious food are just a few of the fun things you will find at this Frederick County event. Free admission.

While the foliage in the area hasn’t really started turning yet, if you happen to be day-tripping in the Central Region this weekend join the Westminster Oyster Stroll Saturday afternoon in Carroll County. This free event is designed to raise awareness about and benefit farmed-raised oyster aquaculture. Learn how a local community is working to restore wild oysters while creating new oyster reefs.

On Saturday and Sunday in Montgomery County, the Bethesda Row Arts Festival is one of the top fine art and craft festivals in the mid-Atlantic. This is a visual feast of fine arts and crafts from 190 museum quality artists. Admission is free. In nearby Gaithersburg, Seneca Creek State Park will host a 1.5-mile Fall Foliage Hike Saturday morning.

Scene from Catoctin Colorfest

Waterfront Partnership’s 11th annual Harbor Harvest Fall Children’s Festival is returning to the Inner Harbor Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free event features a petting zoo, hay maze, face painting and more, all without having to leave the waterfront.

In northern Harford County, enjoy German fare, beer, wine and desserts while listening to music at the Havre de Grace Oktoberfest Saturday afternoon in Hutchins Park. This fun-filled day for the whole family includes a Kids Zone with moon bounce, pumpkin painting and games. Nearby Fall Field Day is being held at Susquehanna State Park on the lawn of the historic Carter-Archer Mansion, which will be open for tours Saturday afternoon.

At the top-of-the-bay in nearby Cecil County join staff Saturday morning for trail work around the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area near Elkton. Also in Cecil County, Elk Neck State Park will hold a Hawk Watch program Sunday morning. Join volunteers from Turkey Point Hawk Watch and Cecil County Birding Club to learn how to identify birds of prey by color, shape, size and silhouette. Participants will gather at the Turkey Point Lighthouse.

On Saturday, stop in Kent County for the Fall Fest with Oysters in Rock Hall, a celebration of family, community and oysters with music, crafts, food and fun for kids on Main Street.

Although the leaves haven’t even started to turn over on the Eastern Shore, it’s still going to be a beautiful weekend to make the trip to the Annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo Saturday at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury. The crisp, clear fall air and beautiful grounds of the museum will set the stage for a day of socialization among decoy collectors and carvers from across the country. Free event and museum admission. A little further east, the Berlin Octoberfest offers music, food, annual fall sidewalk sale, beer garden, games and activities, and a corn hole tournament on Main Street.

Bring the whole family to Talbot County Harvest Hoedown Festival at Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton Sunday afternoon for a full day of music and fun. Hayrides, boat rides, nature crafts for kids, artisans, food and foot stomping fun with music on two stages all day long.


If you’re planning a get-away to this weekend or next, keep in mind that state forest and park cabins and campsites are still available for the fall season. You can reserve one for a fantastic autumn weekend by calling 888-432-CAMP (2267) or parkreservations.maryland.gov.

For more information or to see a full listing of Maryland Department of Natural Resources events, meetings and programs, please check out our online calendar.

Enjoy your weekend, Maryland!


“I would rather sit on a pumpkin,
and have it all to myself,
than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

― Henry David Thoreau



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