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The Colors of Fall


October 25, 1996

(CNN) -- As autumn draws to a close, the once-yearly leaf-peeping season winds down as well. In much of the United States, a week or two is still left to view nature showing off its colorful side, as it illuminates itself in fiery reds, golds, oranges and yellows.

Millions of leaf lovers are taking the high road, the low road and even railroads, like the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, looking to capture beech, birch, maple and other trees clothed in the colors of fall.

Along the way, travelers are likely to find some added attractions as autumn hues give reason to celebrate. Tourists can stop off and drink some apple cider or pick out, and carve, their Halloween pumpkins.

Though peak times vary across the United States, the leaves are most colorful from the end of September through October. Leaves in the West, Midwest and Northeast are generally the first to turn in the last week of September and the first week of October. Throughout October, the mid-Atlantic and Southern states fill up with the shades of the season.

Many states have a fall hotline number that tells when and where the leaves are at their best. The U.S. forest service also has its own hotline at 800-354-4595, which gives travelers a color forecast for some of the most popular forests.

As the clock winds down toward winter, plenty of travelers are expected to be part of nature's final fall performance. For leaf- lovers, that means the journey is as colorful as the destination.


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