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Change in seasons brings fall color to Boise National Forest

Posted by Edna Rey-Vizgirdas, 
Boise National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, on 
September 13, 2013 at 2:30pm

Green rabbitbrush blooms along the Mores Mountain trail on the Boise National ForestSometime after Labor Day when the kids go back to school, I begin to notice subtle signs of fall. This can be a welcome relief after a particularly hot summer with temperatures reaching north of 100 degrees. But the days are getting markedly shorter, and I miss the lazy summer evenings spent outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature.

The changing season is not without its own special charm however. The crisp morning and evening air makes jogging, mountain biking or hiking, especially in the hills of the , more pleasant than it was in mid-summer. A few late-season flowers are still blooming and things are, for the most part, still green. But the green “blur” is starting to give way to an emerging palette of color.

Here in the West, we don’t have the spectacular fall color display like they do on the East Coast. But we can still celebrate the autumn equinox, since many of our native plants take on lovely fall hues between September and November.

Mountain ash berries, especially showy in September and October, are found across the Boise National Forest.Unlike the tall stately maples back east, is a shrub to small tree with many stems. Not to be outdone by its eastern cousins, Rocky Mountain maple sports showy fall foliage ranging from red to orange to yellow. This hardy maple grows in mid-elevation forests from British Columbia to Colorado.

In dry meadows, the brilliant yellow flowers of provide a striking focus framed by faded grass and evergreen .

Berries are numerous at this time of year, a bounty for our local mammals and birds. On a recent day hike on the , I spotted black-headed grosbeaks and chipmunks feasting on and

One of my favorite shrubs, can turn entire slopes ablaze with its profusion of scarlet leaves in the fall. Its clusters of bright red-orange berries are highly prized by cedar waxwings and other birds.

Chokecherry fruits and fall foliage decorate the landscape on the Boise National ForestSince the fall colors change each week, don’t miss out on nature’s remarkable display. Be sure to get outside and discover fall’s splendor on our national forests, grasslands and other public lands. And don’t forget your camera! A fritillary butterfly visits green rabbitbrush flowers on fields in the Boise National Forest

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