There is a quiet beauty when the leaves change from a deep green hue to a burnt orange or vibrant yellow or red. You can get the sense that you are driving, walking or paddling through a Norman Rockwell painting as the leaves rustle above and under your feet.
Autumn in New England, and indeed in Connecticut, is a time of year when the air is crisp, cider is plentiful and people slow down if for just a moment to admire the beautiful canopy nature has created.
The Nutmeg State does not lack for places for leaf peepers to take a drive, a walk or a canoe trip as a means to enjoy the changing colors. Take a stroll along Horsebarn Hill on the University of Connecticut campus where the beautiful, open landscape allows for prime leaf peeping.
If you’re curious about other opportunities to soak up the fall brilliance in Connecticut, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has prepared a guide for autumn explorers that includes a great interactive map that depicts peak time throughout the state with nearly real-time information provided by state foresters. The map also lists hundreds of miles of fall foliage driving routes and identifies the best scenic views and hiking trails in the state. The state tourism bureau also offers its own version of the best ways and places to view fall foliage.
The Web site also provides a detailed explanation as to why the leaves change colors – from Native American legends to scientific fact – and a chart that lists the types of trees and the expected leaf color.
According to the state maps, peak leaf peeping season stretches from the mid-October through mid-November, although Mother Nature can alter those dates depending by a few days.
As of Wednesday, Oct. 10, the map is showing that foliage season is considered to be “low” right now in the northeast and northwest corners of the state, with peak leaf viewing time scheduled for Oct. 21 - 24 in those areas. Peak time in the central and shoreline areas of Eastern Connecticut is scheduled for Oct. 28 – Nov. 7, according to the map.
The state DEEP also offers these tips before you or your guests head out on the foliage trails:
- If you are traveling a long distance to Connecticut or you plan on making a weekend out of your trip, make hotel reservations in advance.
- Try to plan your trip during mid-week; you will find that roads are quieter giving you more opportunity to enjoy the views.
- Make an adventure out of your trip; explore the State's back roads. Some of the best sights are off the beaten path.
- Don't worry about missing "peak" color. You will still be able to enjoy a full array of colors that can be found before "peak".
- Make time to explore some areas on foot. Hiking allows you to truly experience the foliage you have come to enjoy.