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Fall Foliage Report for October 21, 2021

Map showing peak color in the west and foliage just turning to the east

It’s mid-October here in Maryland and we have something to offer every fall foliage enthusiast. Crossing our state from west to east, you will experience it all — glorious autumn jewel tones decorating the skyline in the west —breathtaking sunrises and local critters basking in the last warm days of fall in the east. We cover it all this week, and we’ve received some of the best photos yet from our park managers, forestry staff, and loyal readers to beautifully illustrate this magical time of year.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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!

Sign up to receive this report to your email inbox  every week in fall.

Garrett County, Maryland

Sunrise over Monroe Run Valley

Sunrise over Monroe Run

The best times for viewing the most vibrant foliage are during sunrise and sunset, when the angle of the sun seemingly warms the leaves, revealing opulent shades of amber, ruby, and gold. Melissa Nash – Forester/Garrett Project Manager, Forest Service

Washington County, Maryland

Fort Frederick State Park

Fort Frederick State Park picnic area October 21, 2021

Fort Frederick picnic area, October 21, 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.

Fall trees at Plantation Trail Head

Plantation Trail Head

Fallen leaves in Potomac River

Potomac River

Cooler nights have delivered new color changes to the forest landscape at Fort Frederick State Park from the banks of the Potomac River to the Tree Plantation Trail. The tree canopy above the 78th meridian is revealing brilliant pops of crimson, delighting picnic-goers.  Bob Study – Fort Frederick State Park Complex

Frederick County, Maryland

Cunningham Falls/Gambrill State Parks

Mink Farm Road

Mink Farm Road

William Houck Drive

William Houck Drive

Campground Drive, winding road lined with fall trees

Campground Drive

Houck Campground - trees turning colors on the mountain

Houck Campground

The fall colors at Cunningham Falls State Park are a bit dull compared to years past, and unfortunately the wind that has visited us the past few days is prematurely evicting the leaves from the trees. There’s certainly more color to come, but visit soon because the bright yellow hickory leaves aren’t going to stay around long. Melissa Carson – Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks

Cecil County, Maryland

Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area

Fall trees against a dark cloudy sky

Rolling fields at Fair Hill Chicken of the woods

A few crisp nights and breezy days and suddenly it’s fall at Fair Hill. The oaks are still green, but there is plenty of color to be found in the red of the maples and the purple tops of billowing grasses in the rolling meadows. Chicken of the woods, the edible sulfur shelf fungus, Laetiporus sulphureus, provides a brilliant pop of color in the deep woods, and can be a welcome treat in a breakfast omelet for the adventurous forager. Park Ranger Lesley Leader – Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area

Dorchester County

Bill Burton Fishing Pier

Sunset from the pier overlooking the Choptank River Red sky with Cambridge in the background Blue sky just before sunset
Red sunset Pier at Sunset

While the mid-Shore is one of the last to the party when it comes to fall foliage, our region does boast the brightest, most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the fall like this one from the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park in Dorchester County. Clouds, cooler temperatures, and the tilt of the Earth this time of the year create ideal conditions for vibrant colors in the sky to begin and end our fall days. Ranger Dana Paterra – Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

Garter Snake

Garter Snake

Marshy fields with some leaves turning Trees turning colors against a blue sky Grasses are turning brown evergreens in the distance

We are just beginning to see some patches of color in Tubman Country. The critters around the park are taking advantage of the sunny days. Cierra Maszkiewicz — Park Ranger, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

Photo Submissions for the Week

We’d like to thank all the folks that continue to send in photos of fall scenes from around Maryland. Glimpses of fall and shorter days can be seen from all parts of the state thanks to your participation. Please send us your fall foliage photos, including the names of any tree species you spot, using our easy online form!

Photos of trees with fall leaves from Eldersburg, Deep Creek, Centennial Lake and Thurmont Maryland

Fall photos of Maryland, Loy's Station Covered bridge, Lions Mane mushroom, stream in Baltimore County and a beautiful tree

Brighton Dam park fall color and multi-colored leaves in Centennial Park

Fall Recreation Spotlight

Favorite Fall Events from the Maryland Office of Tourism

Fall into autumn in Maryland—enjoy the ever-changing foliage, farmers markets overflowing with the season’s bounty, the thrill of seasonally spooky historic ghost tours—it’s the perfect time to visit! Plan your fall trip to Maryland today! Be sure to call ahead for the latest COVID-19 guidelines.

Cannon and fall foliage at Antietam Battlefield

Photo: Chris Platt

Watch the sky

Celestially following in the Harvest Moon’s footsteps, the Hunter’s Moon was full Oct. 20 and will be waning through Thursday. If skygazers are lucky, the Hunter’s Moon may appear larger and more orange—perfect for the fall season! However, the moon poses friendly competition for the other big show—the Orionid meteor shower.

The Orionoids peaked the early hours of October 21, but will rain down until November 7. NASA’s advice for eager stargazers is to lie flat on your back with your feet facing southeast, viewing as much of the evening sky as possible. Give your eyes time to adapt, be patient, and you will begin to see meteors. The show will last until dawn so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.

Hunter's Moon

Photo: NASA

Graphic with photos of flowering dogwood