As September rolls in, the leaves begin to paint Ohio with beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange.
What better way to get out and enjoy the cool autumn air and get a glimpse of Ohio’s beauty than by taking a tour of its fall foliage?
Holmes County (Amish Country)
Due to its rural location, Holmes County is covered with foliage. Operators are available to give custom tours, but visitors can see an array of different colors and tree species just by driving down the highway.
“Anyone who visits is sure to stumble upon cool little shops and Amish farmers selling their goods or working in the fields,” says Shasta Mast, executive director of the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce.
The peak of the leaves is usually around the second week in October, depending on the weather, Mast says.
The dramatic landscapes and colors of southeastern Ohio’s Hocking Hills make it one of Ohio’s most popular sites for tourists during the fall.
The density of the forest, colorful leaves of the deciduous hardwoods and rolling landscape all factor into the striking nature of the foliage, says Karen Raymore, executive director for the Hocking Hills Tourism Association. The colors usually peak mid-October.
“Because we had a damp summer, we expect the leaves to be especially vibrant this year,” Raymore says.
Most of the fall color tours are self-guided, but visitors are provided with maps of back roads, local art galleries, shops and farmers’ markets.
Greene County contains several choice spots for visitors looking for beautiful fall colors, including John Bryan State Park and Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve.
Clifton Gorge is home to many different plants and animal species, and the scenic rivers and rolling hills make John Bryan State Park a great destination for hiking and nature walks, says Larry Hensel, communications specialist for the Greene County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“The colors vary depending on the season, but the leaves are gorgeous shortly after the first frost,” Hensel says.
Greater Licking County
Licking County is home to a variety of locations to see the colors of fall, especially the Dawes Arboretum, Blackhand Gorge, Flint Ridge and the Newark Earthworks.
Fall foliage is also easy to spot while riding down the 38 miles of bike paths in Licking County.
“Foliage east of Columbus generally has more vibrant colors due to the weather being slightly cooler,” says Ron Bower, marketing and sales manager for the Greater Licking County Visitors Bureau.
Hayley Ross is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.