Chances to view fall fo­liage quickly fad­ing

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Local News - By Kristi Garabrandt kgarabrandt@news-her­ald.com @Kris­ti_G_1223 on Twit­ter

The vi­brant warm red, orange, yel­low and gold col­ors of fall will soon be fad­ing to a cool win­ter white.

With snow in the fore­cast, the leaves will quickly fall from the trees and the op­por­tu­nity to view the au­tumn fo­liage in North­east Ohio will soon be gone.

The un­sea­son­ably warm fall had re­sulted in a de­layed and extended sea­son for the fall fo­liage.

The prime view­ing time was mid to late Oc­to­ber in Lake County, ac­cord­ing to Lake Metroparks In­ter­pre­tive Nat­u­ral­ist Am­ber Walden.

There is still some op­por­tu­nity left to get out and see the leaves, but they won’t last for much longer, Walden said. She said she ex­pects to see the leaves drop­ping within the next week as cooler weather moves in and brings snow.

Walden said the extended sea­son is more likely due to the trees be­ing con­fused by the warmer than usual weather. Trees take their cues to start pre­par­ing for win­ter from the sun and weather tem­per­a­tures.

“As long as there is sun­light and warmer tem­per­a­tures for the trees they con­tinue to stay green,” Walden said. “It’s typ­i­cally not un­til night­time tem­per­a­tures start fall­ing into the 40s that we start see­ing leaves change.”

Warm days and cool nights con­trib­ute to the best fall fo­liage.

That tem­per­a­ture drop came later this year, Walden said.

John Ve­nen, pro­mo­tions and ad­ver­tis­ing man­ager for Lake Metroparks, ad­vises on some of the best spots in the Metroparks to view the fall fo­liage:

• Chapin For­est Reser­va­tion of­fers a panoramic view of ev­ery­thing from Lake Erie to the Cleve­land sky­line, and the view of fall col­ors is one of the best over­looks any­where. En­ter from State Route 306 (Chilli­cothe Road) and drive to the end of the park­way. Lucky Stone Loop Trail (1.5 miles) be­gins at the cul de sac/Ledges pic­nic area and takes you to the high­est el­e­va­tions in the park. En­ter from Ho­bart Road and ac­cess Ar­bor Lane Loop Trail from the park­ing lot. Hike this gravel trail un­til it in­ter­sects with Lucky Stone Loop; hike to the over­look for the panoramic view de­scribed above.

• Lake Erie Bluffs fea­tures the nat­u­ral won­der of Lake Erie in Lake County’s front yard. In ad­di­tion to the more than three miles of trails, a 50-foot coastal ob­ser­va­tion tower over­looks the lakeshore with mul­ti­ple view­ing plat­forms along a stair­case that cul­mi­nates in a deck fea­tur­ing 360-de­gree views. The height and lo­ca­tion of the tower pro­vide vis­i­tors with a unique view of the lake and the sur­round­ing woods ablaze in fall col­ors, fields and wet­lands, along with a variety of wildlife. En­ter through Lane Road or Clark Road.

• Hid­den Val­ley Park. En­ter from Klasen Road and take the River Breeze Trail; this river­side trail has ex­cel­lent views of the forested hill­side on the op­po­site bank. The dis­play of col­ors never ends along the en­tire half-mile trail.

• Hog­back Ridge. En­ter from Emer­son Road. Few ar­eas of this park of­fer the view­ing vis­tas of some of the other parks, but here you walk through the col­ors. From the start of the Hem­lock Ridge Loop Trail to the fin­ish, fall col­ors will sur­round and en­ve­lope you. Come on a sunny day when the yel­low leaves are at peak color and ev­ery­thing in the for­est takes on a yel­low glow.

• In­dian Point Park. En­ter from the up­per park­ing lot on See­ley Road. Hike one mile along Point Over­look Loop Trail to Look­out Ridge Scenic Trail, which will pro­vide a spec­tac­u­lar view over the Grand River val­ley and the hill­sides will be alive with col­or­ful leaves.

• Lake Metroparks Farm­park. En­ter from Eu­clid Chardon Road (Route 6). Walk or take a horse- or trac­tor-drawn wagon ride up to Planter’s Over­look to wit­ness a bril­liant view of fall col­ors that stretch across your en­tire view­ing area. Farm­park ad­mis­sion or mem­ber­ship ap­plies for en­trance.

• Gir­dled Road Reser­va­tion (Skok Mead­ows). En­ter from state Route 608/ Con­cord Hamb­den Road. Stroll Skok Meadow Loop Trail (1.09 miles) to the scenic over­look and deck. A meadow of 30 acres of na­tive wild­flow­ers un­folds be­fore you with many flowers bloom­ing through late sum­mer and into the fall. En­joy this peace­ful view with the back­drop of trees lin­ing the Big Creek val­ley.

• Pete’s Pond Pre­serve. En­ter from Rock­e­feller Road. Fol­low Car­riage Lane Trail (0.56 mile) to reach beau­ti­ful vis­tas seen from two ob­ser­va­tion decks. The 1.15-mile trail pro­vides ex­er­cise and ex­plo­ration in a 70-acre oa­sis for sub­ur­ban wildlife.

• Vet­er­ans Park. En­ter from Hop­kins Road. Walk a short dis­tance from the park­ing lot for an ex­tra­or­di­nary view of the back­drop of fall col­ors be­hind Granger Pond. Piers pro­vide an un­ob­structed view of this area.

Walden notes that when falls col­ors are at their peak is a pop­u­lar time for pho­tog­ra­phy.

She sug­gests don’t just look at groups of tree, but look for sin­gle leaves and leaves on the ground as well for pho­tos with de­tail.

KRISTI GARABRANDT — THE NEWS-HER­ALD

Fall col­ors such as those dis­played at Pen­i­ten­tiary Glen on Nov. 5, will soon be fad­ing.

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