The autumnal equinox marks the official change of seasons today, though fall color has been reported since August.
That does not mean an earlier autumn. The change of seasons is fairly consistent in California.
Last year, peak was first reported on Sept. 24, this year on Sept. 21. OK, we reported peak three days earlier, but that may have been more a result of who reported what, than that peak was actually earlier. It could have peaked earlier last year, we just didn’t get a report documenting it.
What is consistent is that peak usually occurs within a week of what occurred historically. That means, though you may see one area being reported as peaking, other nearby areas will peak soon thereafter.
We’ve received anxious questions about a given trail or area (news of the color at Lundy Lake has been hotly anticipated of late). If we’re not reporting an area that you want to visit, that’s because no one has sent a report about it, but it does not mean the area has or has not peaked.
We depend on reports submitted by volunteer color spotters and local tourism offices; they don’t always get to every location.
One way to estimate peak in a non-reported area is to follow reports from areas in the same region at similar elevations. The area you want to visit will likely be peaking about the same time as a reported area in the same region and at the same elevation.
#FirstDayofFall is trending on Twitter with over 152,000 tweets as of the posting of this blog. So, there’s high interest in the season and more reports are sure to follow.
If you’d like to be part of the trend, send photos and descriptions to firstname.lastname@example.org