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Fall Foliage Soon To Peak

September 29, 2012, 10:18 PM by Ben Cathey

Fall Foliage Soon To Peak

The Black Hills' fall display draws tourists from around the world. They come for the colors and leave with memories. 

As the pumpkins come out at produce stands, vibrant tones pop near Spearfish Canyon.

Peak season for foliage is typically late September through the middle of October. Generally, colors change in waves due to differences in chemicals.  You'll often notice an outbreak of bright yellows.  That leads to warm oranges and finally deep reds before the leaves start dropping quickly.

These stages happen at different times and overlap. That's because the makeup of each tree and shrub stand is unique.

Weather also plays a big part in timing and brilliance. Early frosts cut off pigment changes and shortens peak leaf season.  Hard freezes can also make colors fainter.

Our early warmth this year sped up plant growth but now plants are conserving water in drought.  That added stress causes colors to develop weeks ahead of a normal schedule.

Although the most famous spots might be Spearfish Canyon and the Peter Norbeck Scenic Highway, many spots in KELOLAND bring vibrant colors.

Sica Hollows State Park in far northeastern South Dakota is a favorite. The parks along the Big Sioux are also starting to turn quickly. And the rolling hills along the Missouri River and near the capitol in Pierre also make for great photos. 

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