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Trips that make Cents: Fall foliage tours

fall foliage report.JPG
Posted at 6:20 AM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 07:51:58-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — One of the best things about this time of year is watching all the leaves change colors and there are lots of places in Maryland to take in the natural beauty that are completely free.

The most recent foliage report from the Department of Natural Resources shows we will soon be near peak leaf peeping time.

“They started two weeks ago in the far western counties but for most of the state, the changes are just now starting this week,” said Claire Aubel, with the Maryland Office of Tourism.

If you want to plan a trip, the Maryland Office of Tourism has lots of recommendations on how to see the foliage on foot, in the water or by car.

“You can either plan out your trips to be a great all fall weekend trip or it can be a spur of the moment trip based on how great the weather is,” said Aubel.

Get outdoors at Baltimore County’s Oregon Ridge Park, where hiking trails, beaches and a playground feature a tree-scape backdrop.

Head north to the peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and the Elk River at Elk Neck State Park. A one-mile walk leads to the historic Turkey Point Lighthouse. Climb 35 feet to the top for spectacular views of the bays waters, brilliant fall foliage and maybe even a bald eagle.

Just a short drive away is the town of Charlestown, where you can take in autumn’s colors from the water by renting a paddle boat, kayak, or pontoon.

There’s also trail systems for biking, kayaking and canoeing all across the state, and if you want to enjoy everything from the comfort of your car, there are lots of options with the scenic byways.

Drive to the valley overlook in the Hollofield area of Patapsco Valley State Park for an sprawling view… or embark on the Horses and Hounds scenic byway, which connects Hunt Valley to Towson. You can take in the sites while learning the history of fox hunts and steeplechase in the area.

Prices for the different trips vary based on park admission or rentals. Regardless of what you choose, the beauty of leaf peeping season is there is always a free option.

“You have your pick across the state of a front row seat for the best colors and it’s not that expensive if you just want to get out for a bit or a full day trip. You can find a full range of free places to go get fantastic views,” said Aubel.

DNR tracks the fall foliage with weekly reports every Thursday. Click here for more recommendations.