By Lora Scripps
Displays of gold, scarlet and orange have just started to dot the Limestone County landscape in preparation for what is considered one of Alabama’s most spectacular shows — fall foliage.
Fall colors typically begin showing in the mountains of North Alabama this time of year and peak from late October to early November.
In a couple of weeks, leaf watchers will have the opportunity to view an even larger variety of colors, which range from golden hickories and scarlet dogwoods to orange maples and yellow poplars.
County Extension Agent Doug Chapman said this time of year Limestone County normally has “pretty good color.” He believes the amount of cloud coverage in the area might have something do with this year’s late arrival. The more cover, he said, the more the color is affected. Sunny days produce the brightest color displays. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.
“We will see color,” Chapman said. “Just a little later than usual.”
‘Leaf-peeper’ places of interest
Some of the state’s must-see fall color spots include:_
• Rails to Trails in Limestone County. Recommended viewing spots are from canoe on the Elk River and along the 11-mile Richard Martin Rails to Trails hike from Piney Chapel northward to Veto on the state line:
• Joe Wheeler State Park. Recommended viewing spots are Joe Wheeler Dam near the cabin area on the Lawrence County side;
• Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham. Recommended viewing spots are Peavine Overlook and Peavine Falls;
• Oneonta/Blount County. Recommended viewing spots are Horton Mill, Old Easley or Swann covered bridges, Palisades Park;
• Cullman/Cullman County. Recommended viewing spots are Ave Maria Grotto and the 277-foot-long, 90-foot-high Clarkson Covered Bridge;
• Bankhead National Forest in Winston and Lawrence counties;
• The Natchez Trace in Lauderdale and Colbert counties. Developed from a network of Indian trails between Natchez, Miss., and Nashville, Tenn., the Trace cuts diagonally across the northwest corner of the state;
• Monte Sano State Park. Recommended viewing spots are Warpath Ridge Trail and its overlooks;
• Scottsboro/Jackson County. Recommended viewing spots are Russell Cave National Monument;
• Lake Guntersville State Park. Recommended viewing spots are from the lodge atop the mountain;
• Gadsden/Etowah County. Recommended viewing spots are Noccalula Falls Park;
• DeSoto State Park and Lodge/DeSoto Falls/Little River Canyon in Ft. Payne. Recommended viewing spots are Little River Canyon and DeSoto Falls. Scenic drives include Lookout Mountain Parkway, DeSoto Parkway and Old DeSoto Parkway;
• Cheaha State Park in Lineville. Cheaha is the highest point in the state at 2,407 feet above sea level. Recommended viewing spots are Bald Rock and Pulpit Rock trails. Scenic drives include Talladega Scenic Drive, Skyline Drive, and Skyway Motorway.
To view the fall color map or for more information, visit www.alabama.travel.