Leaf peepers, take note.
Fall doesn’t officially arrive until Sept. 22, but don’t rely on the calendar.
Fellow foliage enthusiasts are reporting lots of color in the higher elevations.
That’s not too unusual since these areas are also prone to earlier frosts.
Mountainous counties like Tucker and Pocahontas typically see leaves turn earlier than the rest of the state.
But there’s something a little different this year.
The fall colors are coming earlier and faster than usual in popular places like Canaan Valley and Snowshoe.
Better make plans now to see peak colors, because there’s no guarantee how long they will last.
A map published by the state Division of Forestry shows the general time frame for peak fall foliage by county.
It isn’t updated from year to year, and only offers a historic overview.
Forestry officials aren’t yet sure if a foliage hotline will be available this year.
Sadly, it was one of the budget casualties last year.
An interactive map from SmokyMountains.com allows online users to see a foliage prediction map for each state from August through October.
Other online resources, especially Facebook pages for festivals as well as county Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus, are updated on a regular basis.
Makinsey Cochran said the Pocahontas Convention and Visitors Bureau posts photos from week to week showing how the leaves are changing.
There are already some vibrant colors in the Snowshoe area, but lower elevations including Marlinton typically change more slowly.
Tourists are also interested in conditions along the popular Highland Scenic Highway, so CVB posts reflect fall coloration along this nationally recognized corridor.
There’s not significant color changes yet along this 43-mile road which extends from Richwood to U.S. 219, and has four scenic overlooks.
Overall it now looks like late September to early October will be the peak foliage period, she said.
“Of course we don’t have a crystal ball, and we never know how long this will last.”
Check out the Leaf Peeper’s Festival (Sept, 22-24 in Davis) to see how fall has already arrived in the Allegheny Highlands, namely Canaan Valley.
If a picture speaks a thousand words, hop online to see where fiery reds, warm golds and glowing oranges dominate the landscape.