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The peak period of fall colors begin this weekend

Cold temperatures this weekend will cause some leaves to change overnight

ATLANTA — With night time temperatures turning colder, more trees have started to turn colorful across north Georgia, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC).

Fall colors will begin to peak this weekend in the northeast, with the northwest side of the state taking a little longer, according to Stasia Kelly with the GFC.

The drought, which has been alleviated somewhat by the recent rainfall, has put a strain on some trees causing leaves to turn brown and drop early. 

The cold temperatures this weekend, in particular, should cause leaves that have survived the unfavorable conditions to turn colorful, some as quickly as overnight.

Northeast Georgia 

The greatest coverage and color is present in the Blue Ridge Mountains. According to the GFC, locations above 3500 feet are near 100 percent of color change with the eastern side of the mountains at 50 percent in lower elevations.

Credit: Georgia Forestry Commission

The warmer western side only has some spotty change in color.

Reds are coming out in the sourwoods, black gum, sumac, maple, and oaks, with yellows/golds from the hickory and birch trees. 

The GFC suggests you take these routes for the best viewing:

  • Drive to  Brasstown and the Richard Russell Scenic Highway: Take GA 180 Spur to Brasstown or GA 348 (Richard Russell Scenic Hwy).
  • GA 180 running from Suches to Vogel State Park
  • US 76 from Hiawassee to Clayton
  •  US 129 from Cleveland to Blairsville over Neel Gap

Northwest Georgia

Credit: Georgia Forestry Commission

Color change overall is behind but there are some spots in the Cumberland Plateau, extreme northwest Georgia, that appear to be at peak or even past.

Maple, sourwood, and sumac are showing vibrant reds with poplar and sassafras showing yellow/golds.

The GFC suggests you take this drive for the best viewing:

  1. From I-75, take Hwy 136 to the top of Lookout Mountain.
  2. Turn right onto Hwy 189 (or continue on 136 and turn right to go to Cloudland Canyon). 
  3. Follow Hwy 189 to Sunset Rock, Point Park, or Rock City. Dropdown into Chattanooga via Ochs Hwy /58.  
  4. Then take Hwy 193 back to Hwy 136.

Even if you are not able to make it out for some foliage viewing, GFC says the leaf show should last for the next 10-14 days.