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2009 Lost Maples State Natural Area Foliage Color Change Report


11/25/09 Report: This will be the last fall foliage report for 2009. There are still some Maples that look good, and lots of Red Oaks. The lacy Oaks will be the last tree standing this year as they are just starting to show a little color. The best color in the Park is in the Picnic area and going back to the Ponds, the East Trail going to Campground "A" still has color but it is spottier now. The West Trail is starting to come on as the Red Oaks are getting more color every day and the Lacy Oaks are starting to show a little gold. The West Trail will only be getting better the next two to three weeks. The freeze we had last night will help get the Oaks going and the sunny days will make for the best colors. This was an unusual fall with warmer than normal temperatures and the trees turning late. The next week is predicted to be cool and sunny except for a thirty percent chance of rain Sunday and Monday. Day time high temperatures are predicted to be in the sixties and low seventies with night time lows in the thirties and low forties. It’s still Great camping and hiking weather so come on out and enjoy.

TPWD photos taken on 11/25/09 by John Stuart
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11/18/09 Report: The front that went by on Monday took a lot of Maple leaves off the trees. After they turn any wind or rain is hard on the trees. We did get some near freezing temperatures the last two nights that will complete the turn on the twenty percent of the Maples that haven’t turned yet. This will also get the Red Oaks turning and the lacy Oaks should start looking better as well. The East Trail still has the best color and the one mile drive into the Park still looks good. The West Trail is just starting to show some color as the Red Oaks are starting to turn and a few Lacy Oaks looked to be starting. The west Trail should look very good about the first and/or second week of December. The high temperatures are predicted to be in the high sixties and low seventies this week and low forties to high thirties for the low temperatures. Just a bit like fall should be. We may have a slight chance of rain on Friday. This is great camping and hiking weather so come on out. Try to come on a week day if possible as weekends have been very crowded, we had waits up to two hours to get into the park this last weekend.

TPWD photos taken on 11/18/09 by John Stuart
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11/11/09 Report: We have reached peak color this year for the Maples. The color is good on all of the East Trail and the Maple Trail. There is good color on the one mile drive and in the Picnic Area. Not quite as good as last year, but that was a very good year. Please try to come out on a week day as the crowds are not as big from Monday through Friday. You could have a wait to get into park on Saturday and Sunday, so bring patience if you come on the weekend. The West Trail has very little color as it is mostly Oak Trees and they turn around Thanksgiving and later. The weather is predicted to be sunny with temperatures in the seventies for highs and forties for lows this week. There is a slight chance of rain on Sunday. It will be great hiking and camping weather. The drive from Kerrville on Hwy 39 is very pretty as the Bald Cypress trees are showing good color; the same is true for Hwy 187 and Hwy 16 along the Rivers.

TPWD photos taken on 11/11/09 by John Stuart
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11/04/09 Report: The color is getting better every day. Almost 50% of the Maples have started to turn and a few of the Red Oaks have also started turning. We have some good color in spots all along the East Trail. Some trees are very red, though most are just turning yellow to orange. Maples start yellow then get redder as they turn. We have had lots of sunny days which give us the best colors when coupled with cold nights. We have not had enough cold nights yet to complete the change. The West Trail has just a very few Red Oaks starting to turn, so not much color on that side of the park. It looks like the peak is still at least two weeks away. The weather is predicted to be in seventies during the days and forties and fifties at night; with a chance of rain on Sunday night. This is great camping and hiking weather so come on out. Try to come Monday through Friday if you can as weekends are extremely crowded with lines of two to three hours to get into park. If the parking areas are full we have to close the park for entry until someone leaves, so bring patience if you come on a weekend.

TPWD photos taken on 11/04/09 by John Stuart
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10/28/09 Report: There is a little more color this week. Most of the color is on the East Trail by campground "A", or going to the ponds by campground "C". I would look for peak color to be sometime around the 12th to 16th of November. There is a slight change in most of the Maples and a few of the Red Oaks. We are expecting another cold front to blow through on Thursday which will bring more change. The recent rains have the river flowing well, and the trails are still in good shape with very few muddy spots. Stepping stones at the river crossings will keep your feet dry. This weekend is expected to be sunny but cool, great for camping or hiking. Remember the weekends will be very crowded so come out on a week day to avoid waiting in long lines at the Park entrance.

TPWD photos taken on 10/28/09 by John Stuart
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10/21/09 Report: Fall can't be stopped, even if we don't get the cold air that is needed. We are starting to get some changes in the Maples, mainly the ones on the ridges. Going back to campground "A" we have a little more color than going to the Ponds or campground "C". The weather man predicts that Thursday night will get down to 40 degrees. It could get a little colder in the canyons due to sinking air. This will only aid the change. Rain is predicted for today and then partly cloudy days through early next week, with very slight chances of rain. High temperatures are predicted to be in the sixties and low seventies. This is great camping and hiking weather. Try to come out on a week day as this time of year Saturdays and Sundays could have long waits, up to two or more hours to get into the park. We don’t turn visitors away or close the park, parking may be difficult so please bring patience.

TPWD photos taken on 10/21/09 by John Stuart
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10/14/09 Report: There has been no change in the last week. Warm nights with temperatures in the sixties and seventies have not created any color change. We need a few nights with temperatures in the thirties to drive the sap down; so the chlorophyll will go out of the leaves and the other pigments can take over for the color change. The weather is expected to be sunny and warm through the weekend, with high temperatures in the eighties and lows in the sixties. A cool front is expected Sunday that will drop the night time lows to around 50 degrees, no rain is expected for the next week. There is a little color on the ridges, due to change from the extreme drought and heat from this summer. Most of the change can be seen on the one mile drive through the park or going back to Campground “A” on the East Trail. The weather will be real nice for camping of hiking this week so come on out.

TPWD photos taken on 10/14/09 by John Stuart
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10/07/09 Report: No significant change since last week. Temperatures have been in the 70's at night; however the recent rains have put water in the Sabinal River where it was going underground until just yesterday. You will have to use the stepping stones where the trail crosses the river now, or get your feet wet. The big Maples are in very good shape now; we just need those cold nights to start kicking off the color change. The next week is predicted to be low eighties and seventies in the day, and low to mid fifties at night. The weekend is predicted to be sunny, with rain ending Friday morning and small chance of rain starting Monday. Good camping or hiking weather so come on out.

TPWD photos taken on 10/07/09 by John Stuart
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10/01/09 Report: This summer has been hard on the trees in Lost Maples State Natural Area, but for the most part they are doing well at this point. Recent rains have alleviated much of the stress the trees have been under this summer. A few of the smaller Maples that are high on the ridges; or away from the river have turned. We are still waiting for cold nights to kick off the normal fall changes. Most of the Black Walnuts and Sycamores have started turning yellow, they are normally the first to turn every year. The weather is predicted to be warm and cloudy this week with chances of rain most days. This will not be conducive for foliage change. We need a few nights in the thirties to kick off the change. This usually happens a little later in October. We do have a few spots of color on the ridges on the one mile drive in the Park and on the ridge on East Trail going back to Primitive campground A. This is a good time to come out as the heat of summer is over and nights are in the 60's which makes for comfortable camping.

TPWD photos taken on 10/01/09 by John Stuart
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Supplemental Fall Foliage Report September 1, 2009:
This is the earliest we have done a Fall Foliage Report, mainly because there is change taking place in the Maples. This summer's record heat and historic low rain fall has put the trees through their roughest test since weather records have been kept for this area. Due to the extreme heat and dryness this summer we are seeing a change in many of the trees already, about six weeks early. The change is stress related from the heat and dry weather. Many of the black Walnuts are turning yellow and dropping their leaves. Some of the smaller Maples have turned already due to the heat and dry weather. It has been a very rough year for the trees, as we had two storms this summer, one on June 30 and another two weeks later that had small tornados. We lost several very large Red Oaks in these storms, and one huge Cherry tree. Most of the tree varieties are showing some heat stress. Most of the very large Maples seem to be doing well and the ones back on the trails are doing good as they are close to the river and still getting some water. Normal Fall foliage Reports will start at the first of October.