Where Can You See the Best Fall Foliage in New Jersey? [AUDIO]
The fall is upon us which means we're starting to see the trees turn from green to the vibrant yellows, oranges, reds and browns the season is known for. Where are the best places to go in New Jersey?
"It really depends on what you're looking to see," said Jason Grabosky, Professor at Rutgers University's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. "Personally, I like finding places where there are some good hills so you can get nice views and large swaths of forest where you can see a lot of color and a lot of drama."
"State parks like Highpoint and Stokes in the northern part of the state are great places where you can get long views and a lot of different fall colors with a mix of deciduous, maples and evergreens as well. With those long views, you can see transitions going down to river valleys," said Grabosky. "The Delaware Water Gap has fantastic trails where you can see great swaths of fall color."
When is the best time for viewing?
"When it's not raining," said Grabosky. "What we're looking at are those cooler night temperatures followed by those bright days. That is when you will see the best color. What helps leaves change is the breakdown of chlorophyll. Leaves are green because of chlorophyll in the leaf. Chlorophyll is a very delicate, sensitive molecule and it's breaking down all the time and the tree has to keep rebuilding it to stay green. Those other colors are usually there at some level, but are masked by all the chloroplast. As the nights get cold, the trees start breaking down the chlorophyll and not replacing it. So, with those sunny days those other pigments will be generated in greater intensity."
"When the changes occur depends on the region and the species of trees in a particular region, but weather year to year, is usually what determines the time of year the colors begin to change," he said. "October is usually the best time for viewing here in New Jersey and across the northeast, but the key is to get outside often and just appreciate what you see when you see it."