The Colors of Fall

Sep 25, 2016 | Hiking, Photography, Travel

With summer winding down, there is still ample time for a great hike to see the beautiful fall tree colors.


One of my most favorite things about hiking during this time of the year are some of the amazing fall tree colors you get to see. The first time I visited Colorado I fell in love with Aspen trees.

These medium-sized deciduous trees are native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north part of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains (such as Utah and Colorado). They love the sun!

Aspen Fall tree colors

[Photo: Heather Wallace]

Aspens groves grow in “clones” and each grove can include one or more of these clones. All the trees in a clone have identical characteristics and share a root structure. They can be distinguished from neighboring clones by differences in leaf size, leaf shape, bark, resistance to disease, time of flushing, and leaf color in the fall. If you’ve ever seen a large grove of Aspens where some are bright yellow or orange and some are still green, it’s likely they are from more than one clone. Clones can range in size from less than an acre, up to 100 acres.


The Pacific Madrone (aka Madrona, madrone, Arbutus) is a tree for all seasons. They have peeling, red bark with a layer underneath that ranges from bright green to a chartreuse color and provide beautiful fall tree colors. Madrona trees do well in the sun and poor, rocky soil which is why you can find them growing on bluffs in the Pacific Northwest (like in the San Juan Islands) and they even tolerate salty water.

Madrona Fall tree colors

[Photo: Heather Wallace]


Sassafras can be found growing in fields or in open wooded areas and endure a variety of soil types in southern Maine, all the way west towards Iowa, and south to central Florida and eastern Texas.

Sassafras Fall tree colors

[Photo: The Honey Tree Nursery]

The leaves, fruit, and bark are all eaten by birds and mammals and can be an important food source for deer in some areas. They change from variations of green during the summer to deep shades of orange, red, purple and yellow in the fall.

See any interesting trees or foliage on the trails? Share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram. Happy hiking!


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