LOGAN — Autumn officially began on Wednesday, Sept. 22. With highs in the 70s, leaves dropping and overcast weather, the season has seemingly hit Hocking County full force.
A simple Google search for “fall foliage Ohio” immediately yields results listing the Hocking Hills region as a top spot for viewing the changing leaves.
Southern Ohio will experience its fall color peak sometime around Oct. 20-25, said Katie Gerber, fall color forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“The conditions that make spectacular fall colors are going to be cooler nights and sunny days,” Gerber said. She went on to explain why and how fall color happens:
“Trees are signaled, as the days shorten, to start drawing in resources from their leaves,” Gerber said. “(The process) is going to start breaking down the chlorophyll, which is green, so that pigment overpowers other pigments that are present in the leaves... So when (trees) draw in (their) resources for the winter, those other pigments have a chance to shine — oranges and yellows.”
Gerber explained that as long as cool nights and sunny days continue, and no major winds or storm events hit the region, Hocking Hills’ fall foliage should stack up to be an explosion of color.
Trees will lose their leaves entirely sometime later in October and November, Gerber said, depending on frosts and cold weather.
“(Fall) is the perfect time for people to go outside and enjoy the forest,” Gerber concluded. The state tracks fall color through correspondents across the state, she said, adding that fall color updates are available online at fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov/.
Fall is traditionally the Hocking Hills’ busiest time of the year, said Hocking Hills Tourism Association (HHTA) Executive Director Karen Raymore — especially October. The region sees many visitors for day trips, overnight and weeklong stays.
“It’s a lovely place to drive for a day,” Raymore said, adding that most fall visitors come to view the foliage, but also the Circleville Pumpkin Show (Oct. 20–23), as well as Hocking College homecoming (Sept. 29). “Really, the star of the month is the colors.”
Raymore said one of the best places for fall color in the Hocking Hills is the view from Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve, 24858 Big Pine Rd, Rockbridge, which, according to the ODNR, features cliffs and two trails totaling 3.5 miles.
“You have this fabulous view — you’re up on top. There’s this whole carpet of color at your feet that you’re overlooking,” Raymore said, adding that Rose Lake and Lake Logan are also autumnal sights to be seen during the season.
Raymore also mentioned Walker Farm‘s pumpkin patch, 28800 Chieftain Dr.; Hocking Hills Orchard, 14435 Nickel Plate Rd; Sharp Farms, 7129 Old Logan Rd SE, Sugar Grove; and Jack Pine Studio, 21397 OH-180, Laurelville.
Fall activities in and around the Hocking Hills this month include:
Saturday, Oct. 9: Muddy Boots’ Trick-or-Treat With the Animals
- , 1–2 p.m. and fish fry noon–4 p.m., 28310 Moccasin Rd, Laurelville
- Saturday, Oct. 16:
- , Bowen House, 10 a.m.–noon, 196 N. Market St., Logan
- Saturday, Oct. 16:
- , 5:30–8:30 p.m., Howell Park, 9000-9090 Marietta St., Bremen
- Saturday, Oct. 16: Grandma Gatewood’s Fall Color Hike, 9 a.m., Hocking Hills State Park, 19852 OH-664, Logan
- Wednesday, Oct. 20-23:
- , 159 E. Franklin St., Circleville
- Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24: Fall Color Weekend ODNR guided hike at Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve, 9 a.m. (all day), 24858 Big Pine Rd., Rockbridge
- Saturday, Oct. 23: Hocking State Forest fall color tour, 10 a.m., 19275 OH-374, Rockbridge
- Sunday, Oct. 31: Kiwanis Halloween parade, 4:30 p.m., and
- , 5-7 p.m., Logan
A complete list of ODNR guided hikes can be found here: www.ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/discover-and-learn/safety-conservation/about-ODNR/news/Ohio-Fall-Hikes-and-Family-Events/. Hikes are to be held across Southeast Ohio, including Burr Oak State Park and Lake Hope State Park.
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