A Gift In Return For Hoosiers Brutal Summer Heat
For something that happens every year, it’s anything but clockwork.
Visiting Brown County or other popular parts of central and southern Indiana in the fall to gaze at the magnificent sights of the autumn season is a time-honored tradition in Indiana. Combine that with a trip through the covered bridges of southeastern Indiana’s Parke County or outdoor adventure in Turkey Run State Park and you’ve got a quintessentially Hoosier outing.
We know why leaves change color. To get freshman year science class on you for a minute: leaves change colors when the tree stops producing chlorophyll, the molecule that converts sunlight into nutrients. Without the distinctive green chlorophyll to dominate the leaves’ color, a specific kind of sugar will show through, which carries an orange, red, yellow, or brown pigment.
But it’s hard to predict when it will happen. On a basic level, it will depend on the weather. The Farmer’s Almanac will tell you anywhere from mid-September to mid-October will be the true beginning of fall foliage season in Indiana. Because of the hotter and drier than average summer the midwest has experienced, fall foliage has already started creeping in as temperatures drop slightly. (An early gift in return for the brutal summer, some might say.) Indiana’s famous sycamore trees are generally the earliest to turn, and you may already be seeing some color.
- The United States Forest Service hosts an update on fall foliage in the Hoosier National Forest, updated weekly. There’s a toll-free hotline for 1-800-354-4595 (press 9 for Indiana). Of course, there’s even a Twitter account and official hashtag: #USFSFallColors.
- The Weather Channel also supplies a Fall Foliage map that should help you plan your trip if “leaf peeping” is your top priority.
- VisitIndiana.com offers up a personal take on fall colors and excursions at the Fall Color Blog.