What’s the deal with Utah’s Fall foliage?


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 News) – Looking to catch Utah’s Fall foliage? You’re not alone, and for those who already have, some say this year the colors may not be as vibrant as years past.

The weather pattern greatly impacts the changing of the leaves and with above-average heat and extreme drought impacting more than 80 percent of the state, it’s not a surprise this year’s color is not as bright as years past. Even without extreme vibrancy, the colors are still beautiful throughout the state this year.

The process of changing leaves is as simple as our trees are prepping for the winter, as they pull resources from their trunk and roots to get ready for the winter months ahead. When you see leaves of a specific color, it is actually the true color of the leaf.

Chief Meteorologist Alana Brophy spoke to a horticulturist in past seasons, and he explained many leaves are actually yellow, orange, and red.

“That’s the true color of the leaf. When we see the green, that’s the chloroplast in the leaf itself, and when that’s removed what we are seeing is the true color of the leaf,” Jason Alba, a horticulturist at Red Butte Garden explained to ABC4 in 2017.

Many of our native trees follow a fairly predictable pattern each year. The maple trees are the first to change color and that’s often where we catch those gorgeous reds. Utah has plenty of aspen trees from our valleys to our mountains, and that’s where those vibrant yellows stem from. The last tree to change colors is the oak tree, the species likes to hang onto their green leaves as long as possible.

As far as the peak time to catch the leaves changing, the Pinpoint Weather Team shares a leaf-peeping schedule each week in the Autumn. This year, Northern Utah and Eastern Utah mountains were the first to peak, including Logan Canyon, Mirror Lake Highway, Flaming Gorge, and near Bear Lake. Trees in our Northern Utah valleys will continue to change over for the next few weeks, and due to warmer temperatures, you can catch fall foliage in the central and southern part of the state a little later.

“The further south that you go, you’ll have a later transition because it will stay warmer a little bit longer, so their leaves aren’t necessarily going to change, if you go further south, you can go later into the season,” said Jason Alba, a horticulturist for Red Butte Garden when talking to ABC4.

Warmer temperatures won’t stop the leaf transition, but they can slow it down. Bottom line, if you don’t have time to soak up the leaves on the Alpine Loop or on the Trappers Loop, you still have time int he coming weeks to catch some fall colors on the Nebo Loop in Juab County or the Highway 12 Loop in Southern Utah.

Stay with the Pinpoint Weather Team for peak information for popular areas as well as Utah’s Most Accurate Forecast on-air and online.

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