We’re rapidly approaching peak season for fall tree colors and to help you find the most vibrant fall colors, the New Jersey Forest Service has released its “Fall Foliage” map.

The map will be updated weekly on the service’s Facebook page: “Each Friday during the fall season we will post an updated graphic and give you suggestions for which one of our state parks and forests have the best foliage of the week.”

Generally speaking, the leaves will turn from north to south in the state from early October to early November.

The Forest Service also lists state parks, recreation areas, and preserves where some of the best vantage points for foliage viewing are. For example, they list the Stokes State Forest, High Point State Park, Cheesequake State Park, and Parvin State Park as particularly good spots for leaf viewing.

Why do leaves change colors? According to the DEP:

As summer ends, shorter days and colder air alerts the tree that winter is coming. The tree severs the leaves’ connection to water and minerals from the roots. The leaves begin to die and chlorophyll production ends. The sunlight breaks down chlorophyll which reveals carotenoid pigments previously masked by the deep green.

If you’re interested in taking a road trip to see the best leaves, the fine folks at Only in New Jersey have put together a suggested route.

Here is the Forest Service’s map and suggested vantage points; keep in mind, the map will be updated each Friday.

Facebook: New Jersey Forrests
Facebook: New Jersey Forrests

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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