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Fall Foliage Report – September 16, 2021

Map of fall foliage in Maryland, with Garrett and Allegany counties just beginning to change

“Autumn comes with regal ease, content to arrive with slow grace. Though the first leaves have tumbled to the soil so rich with rain, most remain green, fluttering in the strengthening wind. And so, though I’m wishing for that garland of reds and golds, I must be as patient as she.”

– Angela Caroline Abraham,

Fall has not yet begun in Maryland and many trees across the state are still a bit bashful about revealing their fall finest before the season officially kicks off September 22.

However in Western Maryland, pockets of trees are slowly starting to greet us with hints of brilliant color. Traditionally this is the region where leaf color changes are seen first, with the foliage in Garrett and Allegany counties beginning to turn in late September and peaking toward the middle of October.


Join us as we follow the transition each week with reports from our experts at our state forests and parks. This year for the first time, we welcome all of Maryland’s outdoor enthusiasts to send in photos capturing the beauty of the fall season. Please use the submission form to submit your entries directly to us. Your photo might be selected to appear in a future edition of the Fall Foliage Report!

Garrett County, Maryland

Potomac – Garrett State Forest

Cranesville Swamp

Cranesville Swamp

Black Gum and Red Maple on Backbone Mountain

Black gum and red maple
on Backbone Mountain

Black gum and red maple in wetland along Lostland Run Road

Black gum and red maple in
wetland along Lostland Run Road

Black gum and red maple are showing the first vibrant reds and yellows of the fall, especially in low-lying areas. Scott Campbell – Potomac/Garrett State Forest

Deep Creek Lake State Park

Deep Creek Lake State Park

Deep Creek Lake State Park

The red maples and black gums are starting to show us fall is coming soon. Little splashes of red are popping through; and black birch won’t be far behind with their warm, golden-yellow leaves. Ranger Roy Musselwhite – Deep Creek Lake State Park

Allegany County, Maryland

Dogwood Tree


Black Gum Tree

Black gum

Looking closely at the forests in Allegany County you will see subtle changes, like the black gum trees with multiple new colors, signaling the first signs of fall, and dogwoods budding brilliant red berries initiating their own entry into the season. A keen eye will be delighted if you look closely! Daniel B. Hedderick – Project Forester, Forest Service

Frederick County, Maryland

Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park

At Cunningham Falls, aside from the cooler temperatures last week, we’re starting to see some signs of fall in the dogwood trees around the park. The brilliance of the goldenrod and the subtlety in the dogwoods welcome us to the autumn season. Melissa Carlson – Cunningham Falls and Gambrill state parks

Fort Frederick State Park

Fort Frederick State Park Picnic Area

Fort Frederick picnic area, September 16, 2021.
Check back each week, we’ll be posting an updated photo of this spot
so you can see the leaves changing week-to-week.

Fun Fact

Fort Frederick State Park’s picnic area is one of the most unique destinations in Western Maryland. Not only is it surrounded by deciduous trees eager to reveal their fall colors, but this particular picnic spot includes a place to lunch directly on the earth’s 78th meridian. Meridians are imaginary north–south lines on the earth’s surface that connect both geographic poles. The 78th meridian runs right through the center of the picnic table pictured in the photograph. This is a unique spot to watch the seasons change and enjoy a fall picnic with family and friends. Bob Study – Fort Frederick State Park Complex

Watch the sky

This year, the Harvest Moon happens on Monday, September 20—just two days prior to the autumnal equinox. Around the fall equinox, the full moon rises around sunset for several nights in a row, which traditionally provided farmers with just enough extra light for them to finish their harvests before the killing frosts of fall set in.

Normally, the Moon rises about an hour later each night, but around the time of the fall equinox, the angle of the Moon’s orbit and the tilt of the Earth line up just right and cause the Moon to rise only about 20 to 30 minutes later each night for several nights in a row! 

– Farmers’ Almanac

Harvest moon

Harvest moon – Photo by NASA


Infographic with facts about black birch