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Fall Foliage Report – October 20, 2022


past peak in the far west middle of the state is peaking, central and eastern are starting to change

Maryland has been called “America in Miniature” – you can find just about any kind of natural feature here, except a desert. This has extended to the weather in recent days, with snow falling in Western Maryland and sunny, 70 degree days and blue skies on the Eastern Shore. The snowfall caused the loss of a lot of leaves, leaving areas in western and northern Garrett County past peak conditions. In other areas of the state we’re seeing color changes in a pattern consistent with past years, just with the fall colors turned up a welcome notch. 

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”

– Faith Baldwin

Don’t forget your camera this weekend. Send in photos of your fall Maryland adventures and we may use them in next week’s report. 

Do you know someone who loves fall as much as you do? Have them sign up to receive our Fall Foliage Report every week, delivered directly to their inbox.

Comparison photo with trees from 2021 and 2022 this year the trees are brighter and have turned earlier

These are the same trees, in the same location (Pleasant Valley Road, Rocky Gap, Allegany County) but different years. The photos were taken on the same date, October 14.  Daniel B. Hedderick, Project Forester, Allegany Project Maryland Forest Service

The ranges in fall color from year to year are dependent on a combination of temperature, precipitation, and sunlight. Healthy doses of rain during the summer, coupled with a string of sunny days and grab-an-extra-blanket nights, have revealed a breathtaking show of color this year.

Plants use the process of photosynthesis to transform water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into oxygen and simple sugars that the plant uses as fuel. With an influx of water and sunlight, a leaf produces an abundance of sugar, which in turn spurs the production of pigments that tint the leaf brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange. As the temperature dips, cooler nights gradually close the veins of the leaves, preventing these sugars and yes, magical colors, from exiting. 

Western Maryland

A delicate layer of snow fell in Garrett County, but the yellows of hickory and the golden to russet hues of oaks are still visible, making what could be their final curtain call on the fall stage. Most of the once-vibrant maple leaves are now on the ground, guiding visitors along a jewel-toned path. Melissa Nash, Forester – Garrett Project Manager

light snow on fallen leaves

Snowy overlook into a valley

Photos: Melissa Nash

 snow covered leaves

Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks

Visitors to the Catoctin mountains will not be disappointed, as fall bursts at the seams here with a rapidly changing landscape. Bright red sugar maples, golden poplars and hickories illuminate the mountainside. Mark Spurrier, Park Manager – Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks

Mixed colors behind the lake reds, yellows and oranges by the ranger station
Photos: LeeAnne Chandler
oranges and yellows mix with green on the side of the mountain

Fort Frederick State Park

Along the Maryland-West Virginia border, the maples are at their peak, producing a spectacular array of red, gold, and orange, and their forest neighbors are getting closer by the day. Bob Study, Park Ranger Supervisor – Fort Frederick State Park

View of the fort wall trees just starting to show colors to the right

Trees with yellow leaves lining a path

Photos: Bob Study

Trees starting to turn behind Beaver Pond

Southern Maryland

Southern Maryland counties are exhibiting a rainbow of fall colors, from warm amber to sparkling ruby red. Our deciduous species are slowly losing their leaves in preparation for dormancy. These leaves contain our pollinators for next year, and using them in a thin layer of mulch will keep your tree roots warm and healthy. Cristina V. Perez, Tree Planting Specialist 

mist covered pond with wildflowers mixing in with the fall colors sun shining through the fall trees Sunset lights up the tops of the trees showing off the reds and browns

Southern Maryland – Photos: Cristina Perez

Eastern Maryland

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

We’re starting to see fall colors mixing in with the pine trees and the views are far-reaching now that most of the Maryland corn crop has been harvested. Bald cypress, red oaks, and goldenrod are putting on a great show this week in Tubman Country. Dana Paterra, Park Manager – Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

bright yellow bald cypress goldenrod against a bright blue sky yellow-orange leaves

Photos: Dana Paterra

Photo Submissions for the Week

We’d like to thank all of the folks that continue to send in photos of fall scenes from across the state. Through your reports and photos we receive first-hand accounts of our fall transition in Maryland. Please send us your fall foliage photos, including the names of any tree species you spot, using our easy online form!

rail bridge over the Monocacy

Monocacy River by Dickerson, Montgomery
County Photo: John M.

Yellow and orange leaves

Rockcrest Park, Montgomery County
Photo: Nilufar G.

yellows and greens along a wooded trail

New Germany State Park, Garrett County
Photo: Natalie H.

yellows reds and oranges along the Youghiogheny River

Youghiogheny River at Swallow Falls
State Park, Garrett County – Photo: Musavvir M.

view from Sugarloaf Mountain, color as far as you can see in the setting sun

Sugarloaf Mountain, Frederick County
Photo: Kwofu C.

trees line the Youghiogheny River

Youghiogheny River at Swallow Falls
State Park, Garrett County – Photo: Nazia N.

yellow and green leaves mix with oranges in the forest tree canpoy

Sugarloaf Mountain, Frederick County
Photo: Kwofu C.

Orange leaves on a tree lined drive

Ellicott City, Howard County
Photo: Melondy M.

Tree with red leaves in a field

Fair Hill NRMA, Cecil County
Photo: Amy-S.

reds yellows and orange leaves along a neighborhood street

Ellicott City, Howard County
Photo: Melondy M.

oranges, greens and yellows by the Pen-Mar park entrance

Pen Mar Park, Washington County
Photo: Marylin M.

Forest of fall colors behind a blue Deep Creek Lake

Deep Creek Lake, Garrett County
Photo: Md Intaqer A.

Gambrill park sigh with fall trees

 Gambrill State Park, Frederick County
Photo: James D

Tree growing into a rock

Gambrill State Park, Frederick County
Photo: James D

Bright yellow leaves cover a dark tree

Arnold, Anne Arundel County
Photo: Jamie D.

Fall Recreation Spotlight

The Park After Dark: A Night Sky Program at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

October 22 from 6 p.m. -8 p.m.

Join Park staff after hours in our pavilion as they stargaze and learn about the importance of the night sky had on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. This family friendly program will include constellation identification, spooky storytelling, s’mores, crafts, and more! Bring your own blanket or chair. Please pre-register by calling 410-221-2290.



Watch the night sky

The Orionid Meteor Shower is the proverbial star of the show this week, with the showers expected to reach peak activity during the predawn hours on October 21. Look overhead and toward the south-southeast (where Orion will be). As the temperatures continue to dip, take added preparations for your stargazing adventures. Bring a blanket and a long lawn chair to lie down on to avoid a cold and stiff neck. Packing a thermos full of hot soup or a warm beverage helps the time pass. 

Source: Farmers Almanac October Night Sky Guide.


Meteors will be seen near Orion

Image: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


Image of spicebush with facts