Autumn’s Best Colors

The true ending of summer is not Labor Day but the autumn foliage season when fluttering leaves tell us that the seasons are on the move.

As the trees start to don their bright fall colors, the best time of year for viewing the foliage is just ahead.

Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter and the leaves on the trees are slowly turning from green to yellow to orange and red. Pictured above Lackawanna State Park in Pennsylvania. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter and the leaves on the trees are slowly turning from green to yellow to orange and red. Pictured above Lackawanna State Park in Pennsylvania. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The morning chill greets you as you pull back the covers and rise from your bed. You step to the window of your RV, a hint of light escaping around its curtains. You open the shades revealing a tapestry of colors that would make Georgia O’Keeffe blush.

Ahhh…it’s autumn and the countryside is before you in all its glory.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Okay, so maybe not everyone feels as strongly as I do about autumn, but it really is a wonderful time of the year for RV travel. It’s a time for comfy long sweaters, mulled cider, and all things pumpkin. But the best way to enjoy autumn is to head outdoors and take in nature’s greatest displays: fall foliage.

Fall is my favorite time of year. The cooling temperatures, changing colors, and football season all combine to make for a fun time of year. Pictured above Whitehall in Upstate New York. © Rex Vogel,

Fall is my favorite time of year. The cooling temperatures, changing colors, and football season all combine to make for a fun time of year. Pictured above Whitehall in Upstate New York. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As nature dons its coat of many colors, leaf watchers take to the forested highways and byways to gaze in awe at the spectacle. RVers head for the hills and the valleys—wherever there are trees.

Bright washes of autumn colors annually awaken the senses when Mother Nature reaches out with a panorama of magnificent splendor.

With no more moisture, photosynthesis stops, and all green chlorophyll production is halted. The full dazzling spectrum of those hidden leaf pigments comes to the fore. Autumn has settled in.

What accounts for the different leaf colors? Not “Jack Frost,” but rather the individual leaf pigments. Yellows and oranges―like those of the maple and birch―are from carotene―the pigment found in carrots. The brilliant reds of the oak and maple are more related to leaf acid content. Once the cellular wall is formed, if the weather is cool and the sun shines, sugar production in the leaf continues―leading to either an “acidic” red leaf, or if the leaf sap is alkaline, blues or purples.

The single most popular spot for leaf watchers is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The single most popular spot for leaf watchers is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As a general rule, the higher the elevation, the sooner the leaves begin to turn color. Likewise, much of the color change travels from north to south.

Of course, the brilliance of leaf color is a variable. It can be outstanding or it can be so-so, but it is almost always awe-inspiring. Fall weather conditions favoring formation of brilliant autumn colors are warm, sunny days followed by cool nights with temperatures below 45 degrees.

Before winter arrives, do like so many RVers—take to the hills and valleys, be a leaf watcher, and be inspired.

A Road Through Beauty, the Cherohala Skyway’s 36 miles of scenic mountain views rival any scenic byway in the eastern US. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Road Through Beauty, the Cherohala Skyway’s 36 miles of scenic mountain views rival any scenic byway in the eastern US. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Chase a splash of red up a mountain road, and be rewarded by an endless valley filled with autumn colors. Wake up in your RV campground to the blaze of red and gold glory all around.

This autumn promises to be spectacular! Don’t miss the chance to see it for yourself with an RV camping trip to find fall color.

There is no shortage of must-see destinations throughout the U.S., and the autumn months are an opportunity to witness America’s beauty at its best. From the mountains of Colorado to the forests of Ohio, if you’re looking to take in all that nature has to offer between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, you have plenty of options.

A Road Through Beauty, the Cherohala Skyway’s 36 miles of scenic mountain views rival any scenic byway in the eastern US. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Road Through Beauty, the Cherohala Skyway’s 36 miles of scenic mountain views rival any scenic byway in the eastern US. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Still, there are certain fall staples that stand above the rest, offering the kind of colorful foliage and RV-friendly accommodations you won’t want to pass up

The Northeast is famous for its fall foliage, but it’s not just New England vacations that are picture-worthy. Visit the Virginias, Carolinas, or Tennessee for amazing leaf peeping opportunities and vivid fall colors, or head north to Canada’s Algonquin Park or Cape Breton Island.

Wherever you go, don’t just see the fall foliage. Be surrounded by it. Stay at a campground amongst the mountains, forests, and wildlife—as opposed to an RV park in a nearby city. Imagine opening the curtains each morning to an array of fall colors directly out your window.

As the crisp air of autumn settles over the Shenandoah Valley, the hillsides take on the brilliant fiery tones for which the valley is famous. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As the crisp air of autumn settles over the Shenandoah Valley, the hillsides take on the brilliant fiery tones for which the valley is famous. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hiking trails, brooks, creeks, rivers, and waterfalls just steps from your camping site. Whether it’s relaxation or recreation you seek, the best fall vacation spots usually offer them all in spades to go along with the rich scenery.

Worth Pondering…

Autumn is my favorite season of all. It is a transitory period that allows the earth to rest before it sees the harshness of winter and hears the promise of spring.
—Kamen Kojouri

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