Although Friday marked the first day of autumn, the fall foliage is not expected to reach its peak in north Alabama until late October.
The Alabama Tourism Department website features an interactive map that shows the predicted fall color change for each weekend from Oct. 1 through Nov. 19.
The department has also developed a tour called “A Circle of Colors” so leaf peepers can visit 12 of the best fall color spots. The list includes Clarkson Covered Bridge and Park in Cullman County and the Bankhead National Forest and Natural Bridge in Winston County.
Department spokesperson Edith Parten said it is no coincidence that the trail winds through several of Alabama’s state parks.
“While you are in the state parks for the fall colors, there are other things to do like fishing, walking the trails, bird-watching and playing golf,” Parten said.
The United States Forest Service has a fall colors website that includes maps, a photo gallery and family activities such as coloring pages for kids and instructions on how to make a leaf book.
The Forest Service also has a hotline that provides audio updates on the best places, dates and routes to take for peak viewing of fall colors in national forests. The phone number is 1-800-354-4595.
Local highlights on the fall colors trail:
•Oak Mountain State Park — Recommended viewing: Peavine Overlook and Peavine Falls. Scenic drives: AL 119 to Oak Mountain State Park Rd., then to John Finley Ave., Terrace Dr., and Peavine Rd.
•Cullman/Cullman County — Recommended viewing: Ave Maria Grotto and the 277-foot-long, 90-foot-high Clarkson Covered Bridge. Scenic drives: US 31 and 278.
•Bankhead National Forest — Scenic drives: AL 195 to Double Springs, to AL 33, then Forest Service roads 249, 262, 245, 255, CO 63, and back to AL 33.쇓