Lehigh Valley, get ready for ‘leaf peeping’ season

Written by on September 15, 2021

 Lehigh Valley, get ready for ‘leaf peeping’ season

By Megan Frank

September 15, 2021

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels

Pennsylvania is a top destination for people who travel to take pictures of fall foliage who are also known as “leaf peepers.”

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The commonwealth is among the best places in the world to see brilliant autumnal colors, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

People across the region can track where the best colors are via DCNR’S online fall foliage maps

Ryan Reed is a natural resources program specialist with DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry. He said social media has contributed to the “leaf peeping” trend, which is a boon to the state economy.

“You have those people that celebrate pumpkin spice and all that. As somebody who cares deeply about the forest, we certainly want to take full advantage of that,” Reed said. “People travel from all over to come see our fall foliage. I don’t think you could go anywhere else and see a better show.” 

He explained why Pennsylvania’s forests have such vibrant fall displays. 

“Pennsylvania is right at the meeting ground of southern and northern forests, so we get the best of both worlds here,” said Reed. “We have two very strong, dominant forest types. We have northern hardwoods and oak hickory forests.”

Reed said leaves in the northern tier of the state will turn those red, orange and yellow hues first. Lehigh Valley residents can expect a color explosion by mid-October.  

“It’s not only the colors,” said Reed, “The breakdown or decay process of the leaves produces a sugary smell. So, it’s a sweet time of year for observing the fall foliage.”

Reed says some of the best displays in the region are in Beltzville, Jacobsburg, Hickory Run, Tuscarora, Lehigh Gorge, Nockamixon, Big Pocono, Nescopeck, and Locust Lake state parks.

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