Maximum Leaf Colors from Harford Counties to Mongtomery Counties: DNR

MARYLAND — Fall color is on show this weekend, so get out into the woods to soak it up. Peak leaf colors have arrived in seven Maryland counties, plus the city of Baltimore, while foliage is near peak brilliance in three other counties, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources said Friday.

Counties with tree canopies to match their color are: Montgomery, Frederick, Carroll, Howard, Baltimore, Harford, and St. Mary’s, plus the city of Baltimore.

Anne Arundel, Prince George and Cecil counties are approaching their peak.

Colors in the rest of southern Maryland and the east coast are midway, and western counties are past their peak display, the DNR said in its fall foliage report.

“Perhaps most surprising this week are the reports of peak conditions in St. Mary’s County,” the DNR said. “Yes, the far south of Maryland has come early to the fall show, delighting visitors with vibrant hues of burgundy and gold. Even the papaya trees are a particularly bright mustard yellow this year.

“Leaf voyeurs should head south or east to follow the color change and enjoy the exceptional fall foliage and bright blue skies we experience statewide,” the foliage report reads. . “Don’t forget Fido! Many of our state parks allow pets to participate in your favorite fall recreational activities.”

Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary’s County reports peak conditions with bald cypress trees in shades of red and orange, and surrounding state parks report hardwoods in similar colors of ‘gold and burgundy,’ said a staff member.

“Our Sandy Point State Park rangers are reporting an ever-changing landscape as Anne Arundel County enters the fall game,” the report said. “Watch the leaves change from mid to peak over the next few days, take a leisurely stroll along one of the park’s scenic trails, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay.”

The best places to see fall leaves in Maryland include:

  • Patapsco Valley State Park spans 32 miles along the Patapsco River in Baltimore and Howard counties and offers some of Maryland’s best fall scenery
  • Elk Neck State Park located on a peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and the Elk River combines colorful forests with sandy beaches for magnificent views.
  • Oregon Ridge Park near Cockeysville, there are hiking trails that feature a tree-lined landscape of yellow, orange, and red.
  • Other neighborhoods to visit near the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area: Gwynnbrook Wildlife Management Area in Owings Mills, Baltimore County; Sugar Loaf Mountain Natural Resource Area in southern Frederick County; Seneca Creek State Park just southwest of Gaithersburg; and the Dierssen Wildlife Management Area located between the C&O Canal and the Potomac River in Montgomery County, providing prime opportunities for waterfowl viewing and quiet interludes for walkers along the path of canal tow.

The 2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a great tool to start planning leaf viewing tours around the state and neighboring states as well.

David Angotti, a statistics expert who lives in Tennessee, created the first fall foliage prediction map for SmokyMountains.com to help visitors plan their vacations when the fall leaves are at their brightest.

Once Angotti created the map for visitors to the Smokies, they then wanted to know the peak leaf viewing times in other parts of Tennessee. He therefore decided to collect data for the whole country.

Map courtesy of SmokyMountains.com


To use the map, simply swipe the scale to the right to see when the leaves will peak in your state. Focus on your county and you can decide if it’s best to plan a north, south, east or west route.

What are the causes of the different colors

You probably remember from science class that color change starts with photosynthesis. Leaves constantly produce chlorophyll – a key component of a plant’s ability to turn sunlight into the glucose it needs to thrive – from spring to early fall. These cells saturate the leaves, making them appear green to the human eye.

But the leaves are not green at all. Autumn is the time for the great reveal of the leaves: their true color, unveiled as chlorophyll production stops. The breathtaking tapestry colors of fall are influenced by other compounds, according to the national park’s website.

Beta-carotene, the same pigment that turns carrots orange, reflects yellow and red sunlight and gives the leaves an orange hue.

Production of anthocyanin, which gives leaves their bright red color, increases in the fall, protecting and extending leaf life on a tree throughout the fall.

And those yellows that give the impression of walking in a ray of sunshine?

They are produced by flavonol, which is part of the flavonoid protein family. It is still present in the leaves but only shows up when chlorophyll production starts to slow down.

Carol N. Valencia