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Autumn Splendor

These pigments are not of your imagination. Fall foliage is at its peak of color here and beckons all to get out for a drive or a hike.

Parvin State Park is one of several outdoor spaces suggested by njHiking.
by Deborah Boerner Ein
Photography by

Living in eastern North America among expansive deciduous forests, we are treated each year to one of the best fall color displays in the world. Average peak color in New Jersey is October 19 through 29 but it tends to be a bit later in southern reaches of the state and also depends on variables like temperature and rainfall.

Ideal conditions include no early leaf drop or leaf damage, more sun and less cloud cover, intermittent light rain rather than heavy rain or drought, and cooler at night without frost—all true this year.

Leaves generally start turning color first at higher elevations and near the banks of water, such as rivers, streams and ponds.

There’s no better way to see the changing of the leaves than by taking a drive through one of these scenic regions or immersing yourself in the picture by going for a hike. A New Jersey hikers’ group recommends two nearby areas and you don’t need to be a diehard outdoorsy type for either one.

At Belleplain State Forest, you can hike a loop from Lake Nummy using the East Creek trail and sand roads in Jersey’s pine barrens. It’s especially recommended for viewing later season foliage in early November.

Parvin State Park offers a short, easy loop around Parvin Lake through South Jersey’s pinelands and an Atlantic white cedar swamp. Foliage varies between late October and early November.

On its website, NJ Parks and Forests adds this about Parvin: “The park not only has pine forests typical to the area but also a swamp hardwood forest. Look for the beauty of the dogwood, laurel, holly and magnolia trees as they change in color.”

So do not tarry. Go take a hike—or a drive.

More information on fall color:

US Forest Service Fall Color Hotline 1-800-354-4595

US Forest Service Online at

NJ Travel & Tourism Online