Fall Colors in the Eastern Region National Forests


Fall colors vibrate with light at the Garden of the Gods on the Shawnee National Forest. USFS photo by Robert Robbins. 

10th Fall Color Report 2023 

Welcome to week 10, our final weekly fall color report of the 2023 Eastern Region Fall Color Flickr Campaign.  

The Shawnee National Forest in Illinois is the final Eastern Region National Forest still reporting near or at peak fall color conditions. All others across the landscape are well past peak, dropping their leaves, and calling it quits. A couple National Forests in Wisconsin and Michigan are even reporting early snowfalls, a sign of winter weather to come. 

Those same leaves now covering the forest floor will provide nutrients to microorganisms in the soil to re-energize the forest next spring, while adding to the forest soil, which serves to naturally help purify water in forested areas. 

And on that note, here is the Northern Research Station’s third and final video developed for this season’s fall color campaign: “How do Dead Leaves help the Forest?”  

We look forward to again seeing more brilliant fall colors start to emerge next year and sharing our weekly reports and colorful images with you.  

Here’s a good quote about fall colors to round out the season:  

“They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.” – Siobhan Vivian. 

Hope you join us again next year! 

Please read below for our final fall color observations, and be sure to check out our complete 2023 collection of scenic and colorful fall photos from across the landscape in our Eastern Region Fall Colors 2023 Flickr album!  

Seven National Forests across the Eastern Region reported in this week. Here is their summary of weekly fall color observations: 

Where fall colors are popping:

  • Shawnee National Forest in Illinois

Where fall colors are fading or past peak:

  • Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan 
  • Huron-Manistee National Forests in Michigan 
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests in Wisconsin  
  • Hoosier National Forest in Indiana 
  • Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania  
  • Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia

For help with your trip planning, check out our fall color updates posted here weekly. Here are the latest updates across the Eastern Region:


Huron-Manistee National Forest: It’s over.  

Hiawatha National Forest: The transition from fall to winter is moving quickly. The temperatures are dropping, along with leaves on most trees, and we've even seen snowflakes and frost in some areas. If you drive down the right road at the right time, you will catch some late season color, but it won't be around much longer. 


Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: Even with the first snowfall of the season on October 31, a few hearty trees continue to show their fall colors in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.  


Hoosier National Forest: Colors are still out, but they're starting to wind down. There are still some vibrant colors in the trees if you go for hike, though. 


Shawnee National Forest: Fall colors this week are in full splendor, with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges.  


Allegheny National Forest: Fall leaf peeping season is just about over in the Allegheny National Forest. Much of the forest has lost its leaves, but some beech and oak trees are still clinging on. Winter weather is quickly moving in and we’re experiencing dustings of snow across the forest.

West Virginia

Monongahela National Forest: It was a colorful fall on Monongahela National Forest but most of our leaves are now on the ground. With colder temperatures and possibly snow this week, it’s time to remember that Forest Service roads are not maintained for winter travel. Visitors should be prepared for snow and ice, fog, high winds, downed trees, and other hazardous conditions, especially at higher elevations such as Spruce Knob and the Highland Scenic Highway.


A man looks on at Camel Rock at the Garden of the Gods recreational area on the Shawnee National Forest. USFS photo by Robert Robbins taken on the Shawnee National Forest.