A familiar crunch underfoot and a canopy of color overhead, whether it’s a hard-core hike or a leisurely walk, fall is the perfect time to enjoy an outdoor workout.
Colorful and cooler, there is no better time to hike, bike or paddle. And the Miami Valley is edging ever closer to peak color as Casey Burdick, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources ODNR fall forester, targets the end of the third full week of October as peak time for the Dayton area – a week later, further south.
“You’ll see a lot of color in neighborhoods first and then in more wooded areas,” Burdick said. “Woodland trees are more insulated by each other, so they may change a bit later.”
According to Burdick, the area’s wet spring and summer impacted the timetable a bit as some trees – especially black walnuts – showed early color and leaf loss due to a leaf fungus caused by excess moisture.
But rainfall is just one of the variables that effects fall color forecasting. Sunlight, temperatures and wind can also play a role in the timing, duration and vibrancy. Warmer-than-usual temperatures – like those recently experienced in the area – can affect fall’s color palette a bit.
“For the best color, you need sunlight and cooler temperatures at night,” Burdick said. “Warmer temperatures can decrease the vibrancy.”
From bright yellows to rich reds – and many shades in between – the bright backdrop adds to the outdoor experience for Ohio outdoor adventurers.
“Autumn provides Ohioans with a great chance to explore the outdoors and experience all of the unique activities that fall in Ohio has to offer,” said ODNR director James Zehringer. “Throughout Ohio, communities schedule events around the fall color season to encourage everyone to visit our beautiful state and enjoy the bright colors of the season.”
The Miami Valley is no exception, as local parks will host a variety of outdoor activities for the entire family. Here are a few fun, fall offerings:
🍁 Fall Tour of Aullwood
When: Oct. 15, 2-3 p.m.
Where: Aullwood Garden MetroPark, 955 Aullwood Road, Dayton
What: An informative and beautiful tour of the property and the house. Meet in the parking lot and walk to the garden together.
More: Program is free; ages 18 and older. Information and registration at www.metroparks.org/.
🍁 Discovery Stroll
When: Oct. 18 and 25, 10-11:30 a.m.
Where: Hills & Dales MetroPark, 100 Deep Hollow Road, Kettering
What: Explore a variety of habitats – along with MetroPark volunteers – while learning and sharing about the natural world.
More: Program is free; ages 18 and older; weather dependent.
🍁 Conservation Kids Fall Bird Walk
When: Oct. 21, 10-11:30 a.m.
Where: Englewood MetroPark, 4361 National Road, Vandalia
What: While many birds fly south for the winter, find out which birds call Ohio their warm refuge. Bring binoculars if you have them to help you search. Weather dependent.
More: Free program for children ages 3-13.
🍁 Greene County Parks & Trails Sentinels night ride
When: Oct. 21, 7 p.m.
Where: Xenia Station to Beavercreek Community Park
What: Evening bicycle ride, for riders 18 and older, escorted by GCP&T Trail Sentinels. Cyclists are encouraged to decorate their bicycle with lights in honor of Halloween.
More: Free program; seasonal refreshments at Xenia Station after the ride; riders must wear a helmet and have lights.
🍁 Greene County Parks & Trails Pumpkin Glow
When: Oct. 27 and 28, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Russ Nature Reserve, 2380 Kemp Road, Beavercreek
What: Enjoy hundreds of carved pumpkins on display; pumpkin slingshot; live owl program presented by the Glen Helen Raptor Center, and more.
More: Free program, silent auction, Halloween selfies. For more info, visit www.gcparkstrails.com.
Know your trees
Ohio hardwood trees will soon be sporting red or yellow leaves – or, possibly, both. Here are some of the state’s common trees and the colors their leaves will soon be:
* Red: Red oak, white oak, pin oak, shingle oak, black cherry, dogwood, sumac.
* Yellow: Ash, beech, birch, hickory, black locust, black walnut, cottonwood, sycamore.
* Mixed colors: Buckeye, red maple, sweetgum, sassafras, sugar maple.