September days are getting shorter and temperatures are gradually getting cooler. Both are vital to the leaves changing. Spearfish Canyon is currently showing its fall colors at 5%, according to information provided by the Spearfish Area Chamber of Commerce.
A dry, hot summer like the one we experienced means we may have a later-than-normal leaf color peak. The weather forecast remains warm, which will likely slow down the leaf change a bit. The weather of July and August also give us hints about the timing of fall foliage. South Dakota had below average precipitation this summer.
Right now, the canyon is in a "fade" stage as some trees are turning lighter colors. With the steady decrease in daylight hours, the leaves are decreasing their production of chlorophyll. The greens in the birch, aspen, oak, and cottonwood leaves in the Canyon begin to fade, and the yellows and oranges will emerge.
Peak color is anticipated between Sept. 23 and Oct. 4. Information about the changing colors will be posted on Spearfish Area Chamber of Commerce's Facebook and Instagram pages, and spearfishchamber.org.