Why Do Leaves Change Color?

8 places to soak up fall’s beauty near Dayton

It’s the perfect time to see fall colors. 

Even though it’s mid-October, many trees around the Miami Valley, and across the state, are still mostly green. 

“We are seeing some early color, especially in town, on woodland edges, and low-lying areas,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources fall color forester Greg Smith. “These trees are experiencing stress from the extended warm and dry conditions that are carrying over from the summer. However, the state is still under mostly green and changing conditions.” 

>> 12 top hiking trails in Dayton and nearby to fall in love with this autumn

Due to recent warmer-than-normal temperatures, leaves have been slow to start their autumn color transformation, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

“Some fall color is developing slowly in pockets around the state,” Smith said. “But with the onset of cooler temperatures, the fall colors of the season will soon emerge.” 

Peak color in south central and southwestern Ohio will likely be delayed until early November this year, a result of a wet spring and extended, hot summer.

>> Fall leaf color happening now in state parks

Amid peak fall color, hikers walk the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati Stagecoach Trail in John Bryan state Park that follows the course of the Little Miami River and is wide enough for two people. John Bryan near Yellow Springs is considered by many to be the most scenic state park in western Ohio.
Photo: JIM WITMER

WHERE TO ENJOY THE FALL SCENERY

Fall is an ideal time for walks, hikes or if you’re brave (and bundled!), bike rides.

You can never go wrong at John Bryan State Park and Glen Helen in Yellow Springs, and Charleston Falls Preserve in Miami County of course.

But what about some other parks with amazing scenery?

We turned to Five Rivers MetroParks for their top picks on the best places to enjoy fall foliage. 

Here are 8 places to visit courtesy of Lauren Lemons, community engagement coordinator, for the parks.

>> Your guide to fall festivals around Dayton

Contributed by MetroParks
Photo: Jordan Hart

Germantown & Twin Creek MetroParks: Home to the 22-mile Twin Valley Backpacking Trail and miles of other trails, crossing a variety of terrain and habitats and offering scenic views to take in fall’s color pop. 

Contributed by MetroParks

Taylorsville MetroPark: The trails in East Park offer spectacular views of the Great Miami River, a rock outcrop and more. 

Contributed by MetroParks

Englewood MetroPark (East Park): Take the green trail to the beautiful cascading Patty, Oak and Martindale waterfalls and check out the gorgeous foliage from this view. 

>> Where to go to pick your own pumpkins and have a little fall fun

Contributed by MetroParks

Sugarcreek MetroPark: Follow the orange or green trail to the site of the “Three Sisters,” three impressive ancient white oak trees, and then continue along the trail to experience the warm colors surrounding the Osage orange tunnel. This tunnel was created by the large arching branches of old Osage orange trees and is perfect for a quick fall family picture. 

Contributed by Metroparks

Hills & Dales MetroPark: Unique structures, beautiful monuments and towering autumn trees make Hills & Dales MetroPark a must for leaf peepers. The Adirondack-style shelter that overlooks Dogwood Pond is a beautiful place to check out fall foliage. Hike the 1.4-mile Adirondack Trail, including a loop around beautiful Dogwood Pond and a boardwalk through a forested wetland. 

Contributed by Metoparks

Carriage Hill MetroPark: Experience fall in the 1880s at the historical farm, then hit the trails to see the trees and prairie pop with warm fall colors. 

Contributed by Metroparks

Possum Creek MetroPark: Follow the purple trail through the Argonne Forest and discover beautiful woodlands — as well as the remnants of a 1930s- and 1940s-era amusement park known as the Argonne Forest Park. 

Huffman Metropark / Contributed photo
Photo: Frank Portner

Huffman MetroPark: Grab a mountain bike and experience the fall color along the trails of MoMBA. For those who don’t have the great, Five Rivers MetroParks offers bike rentals on Saturdays through the end of September. Learn more.

Where are your favorite fall hikes, drives or bike rides? Send us your picks at contact@dayton.com.

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