May 28, 2024

Let the fall color transformation begin: ODNR releases first fall color report and forecast

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As shorter days and cooler nights signal the onset of autumn, Ohio’s forest canopies begin their color transformation. Seeking that first glimpse of fall color – the leaves changing to strong reds, vivid yellows and bold oranges – is a favorite fall activity for many people who live in or visit the Buckeye State. Throughout the fall color season, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), in partnership with TourismOhio, will help people find the best locations to view and enjoy the beautiful colors that accompany the beginning of fall in Ohio.

“Autumn provides Ohioans with a great chance to explore the outdoors and experience all of the unique activities that fall in Ohio has to offer,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Throughout Ohio, communities schedule events around the fall color season to encourage everyone to visit our beautiful state and enjoy the bright colors of the season.”

Forecasting fall color is not always easy as foresters must take into account several variables, such as sunlight, temperature, wind and rainfall when calculating the brilliance and longevity of Ohio’s autumn color. This fall, according to ODNR Fall Forester Casey Burdick, we are expecting that peak color should be peaking in the northern third of Ohio at the end of the second full week of October, the third full week of October for the central third and the southern third at the end of October. The current forecast, along with informative videos, are available at

“We are seeing a fair amount of early color, especially in town, on woodland edges and low lying areas,” said Burdick. “This is caused by the very wet spring and early summer we experienced around the state.”

The trees are noticing the most color right now are the buckeyes as well as some of the maples and walnuts. The Virginia creeper is also showing awesome red color.

People interested in finding out where to find most eye-catching leaves throughout the upcoming fall color season should check out, Ohio’s official guide to the changing colors.

This website includes:

  • Weekly color updates and information to help plan a fall color adventure.
  • Weekly videos from Burdick highlighting fall color hot spots around the state.
  • Links to fall activities, scenic road trips, unique overnight accommodations at Ohio State Parks and more.
  • Fall is a distinctive season in Ohio with an identifiable color palette of reds, oranges and yellows; cooler temperatures; and aromas and tastes of autumn’s harvest from apples to pumpkins. It’s such a fun, vibrant few months to enjoy time with those closest to you that it feels like a holiday — or perhaps a Falliday! To help visitors find those special autumn activities in Ohio, the Office of TourismOhio has created a new landing page,

ODNR and TourismOhio encourage people to take fall color photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag #OhioFall17. Follow @ohiodnr and @OhioFindItHere on Twitter, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio. Find it Here. on Facebook and @OhioDNR, @OHStateParks and @Ohiogram on Instagram to see more fall color photos.

Ohio State Parks is also having a photo contest this fall. Help us highlight the best of the great outdoors in a variety of categories for a chance to win great prizes, including free camping and gift cards! Enter today at

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

TourismOhio, operating within the state of Ohio’s Development Services Agency, works to ensure Ohio is positioned as a destination of choice, enriching lives through authentic travel experiences. The branding Ohio. Find It Here. supports Ohio’s $43 billion tourism industry. For more, visit

Color Condition Key for the Fall Color Report: Mostly Green – no real fall color seen. Changing – still mostly green, less than 25 percent color. Near Peak – significant color showing – anywhere from 30 to 60 percent color. Peak – peak colors – as much as 85 percent showing. Fading – fading from peak conditions and leaves falling to forest floor.