Fall colors leaving soon in Northeast parks

Jinae West


Credit: Jason Hall

If you can bear through the bitter, rainy days of autumn and get by without catching a cold from the person sitting next to you, take some time to stop and smell the roses. Fall is in full swing and the leaves are at their peak color in Northeast Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Brilliant hues of red, yellow, orange and green blanket Summit and Cuyahoga County’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park. At 33,000 acres, the park offers hiking trails and the all-purpose Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail that wind through its picturesque surroundings. There is also a two-lane road, perfect for lazy, scenic Sunday drives.

Mary Pat Doorley, public relations representative for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, said the leaves would remain at their peak fall color only a few weeks before the inevitable brisk change in temperature. And while recent weather has caused the leaves to plummet prematurely, it still remains a sight to be seen, she said.

“This time of year, the park is gorgeous,” she said. “The colors are very vibrant.”

Doorley recommended visiting Virginia Kendall Park in Akron, an area within the boundaries of the national park, specifically the ledges. The ledges are the rocky, eroded sandstone remains of a former fast-moving stream featuring an expansive overlook of the valley.

Located in Geauga County, Punderson State Park is just as postcard-worthy and only an hour away. With a magnificent natural lake, golf course, picnic facilities and a number of hiking trails, Punderson is ideal for the changing season.

“We have a lot of people taking photos and picnicking since the trees are so beautiful,” said Nick Fischbach, regional manager of Punderson State Park. “The foliage is thick and the leaves are a million colors.”

The view across Punderson Lake toward the lodge is one of Fischbach’s preferred spots in the park.

“It’s absolutely breathtaking,” he said.

Fischbach encouraged students to take advantage of the autumn scenery before the cooler temperatures set in.

“Trees go into a dormant stage as the climate gets colder and bad weather quickens that process,” he said.

Other parks in Northeast Ohio good for viewing fall’s radiant colors include Mohican State Park and Mohican State Memorial Forest in Ashland County, Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County and Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve in Portage County.

Kassie Okolish, freshman exploratory major, said she enjoys the harvest landscape.

“I drive around with my friends and look at the trees and take pictures,” she said. “I go to the metro parks a lot.”

Okolish said one of her hobbies is jumping into big piles of leaves.

“Fall is my favorite season,” she said smiling.

Contact features correspondent Jinae West at [email protected].


• Location: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

County: Cuyahoga and Summit

Status: Near Peak

• Location: Punderson State Park

County: Geauga

Status: Near Peak

• Location: Mohican State Park and State Forest

County: Ashland

Status: Near Peak

• Location: Malabar Farm State Park

County: Richland

Status: Near Peak

• Location: Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve

County: Portage

Status: Near Peak