Four of the Best Fall Foliage Spots at Piedmont Park

UPDATE – November 6: Leaves are peaking! Visit Piedmont Park for that awesome fall photo and use #PiedmontParkProud when posting on social!

September 22 marked the first day of autumn, and we’re excited! During this season, plenty of fall activities occur. Families pose for holiday photos in front of red mountains. Children dive in large piles of crunchy yellow leaves for sport and contest. Couples partake in a picnic under the perfect orange-leafed tree. Others simply enjoy watching the leaves transform color, which they can easily observe at Piedmont Park. With that said, here are a few main areas that the Piedmont Park Conservancy recommends to view the fall foliage.

Piedmont Park in Fall

For one, the 14th Street gate near the Piedmont Driving Club is a popular location to watch the leaves change, according to Mark Nelson, the Director of Operations for the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

“We’ve got some large gingko trees that have a beautiful fall color,” Nelson says. “They turn bright yellow. When you have a nice clear day and that sun shines on those trees, it puts a yellow glow on the ground. A lot of people like taking photos under that tree.”

Nelson guesses that the gingko tree will probably turn quickly at the end of October, only lasting a few days.

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Park Drive bridge, which is above the dog park and by the Meadow, is another location where visitors can watch the leaves change.

“You have a couple of bald cypress,” Nelson says. “You have red dawns and redwoods. They turn a really brilliant rust color. The bald cypress are in the lake, and the red dawns are behind it. They look like the same tree, but they’re not. If you come down Park Drive, on the left-hand side, just before you get to the garden and beehives, there’s a hickory that turns bright yellow. It’s really beautiful.”

Red Dawn Trees Along Lake Clara Meer

Oak Hill and the Active Oval are two more go-to spots for this activity.

“If you get up on Oak Hill and stand at the top, looking down toward the lake, you can see a lot of different colors, especially all the trees that surround the lake,” Nelson says. “It’s a nice area to look at fall colors, too. If you’re standing in the Active Oval and you look toward the city, you can see a lot of fall colors there, too.”

Pignut Hickory on Oak Hill

Nelson mentions the leaves aren’t changing as of yet. Perhaps the leaves may turn the first week of November.

“We’ve had such dry weather here in September leading into October,” he says. “They’re kind of late right now falling; we hadn’t had the cold temperatures yet for them to turn. However, we recently had a few cold mornings and cold evenings that tend to turn the leaves quicker. This week, I think we’ll get to see quite a few leaves turn color.”

He also lists a variety of trees to watch for during the fall, such as dogwoods that turn rich red and sugar maples that change to a vivid orange-yellow.

Sugar Maple Leaves

Red Maple Trees

“Blackgum trees turn a bright red,” Nelson says. “October glories are a red-orange color or a red-sunset. We have all kinds of oaks that have different colors to them. They kind of have more of a red tint to them. Green ash turn a really beautiful yellow.”

Director of Operations Mark Nelson

With over 115 tree varieties, residents and Atlanta visitors can visit Piedmont Park to submerse themselves in vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges that will awe them at every turn. As Nelson reminds us, “If you live in the city and don’t see a lot of trees, then you can come to Piedmont Park and see them.”

Tag Piedmont Park on Instagram @piedmontpark of your latest fall photos. Also, check out Piedmont Parks’s self-guided tree tour.

UPDATE – November 6: Leaves are peaking! Visit Piedmont Park for that awesome fall photo and use #PiedmontParkProud when posting on social!

Guest Post by Annierra Matthews

Happy Wet Dogs Enjoy the 2017 Splish Splash Doggie Bash

On Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 22, the Piedmont Park Conservancy welcomed over 800 dogs at its annual Splish Splash Doggie Bash at the Aquatic Center. With some arriving almost an hour early on Saturday, dogs and their owners eagerly waited for the pool gates to open. While they anticipated the event, they were welcomed by Ponce, Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year, and t-shirt giveaways. You could see the excitement in the eyes and tails of all the attendees.

“We love this,” says Lon Williams with his dog George, both residents of Midtown Atlanta. “We’ve come every year, since it started. It’s so organized this year. It just keeps getting better and better each year.”

Not only did frequent residents support the event, but newcomers attended Splish Splash, too, as was the case with Katie Johnson.

“This is my first time,” Johnson says. “It’ll just be fun to watch all the dogs play in the water.”

When the gates finally opened, dogs hurried toward the pool. They were so enthusiastic to jump into the cool water that they impatiently tugged their owners through the entrance. Balls and frisbees were tossed everywhere in the pool with pups jumping in behind them. Some dogs preferred doing doggie paddles in the deep end while others preferred to wade in the zero-entry part of the pool.

Smyrna resident Randall Walsh says Splish Splash is a great way for his dog, Kiya, to release energy, and that this was the only time she could swim.

Meanwhile, for less brave dogs, Splish Splash was one of the most intense moments of the fur-filled lives: these cautious dogs stuck in the tip of their paw to test the water. For every dog making an outrageous dive, another one decided the grassy area better fit their comfort level.

For both dogs and their owners, dog vendors set up merchandise tables near the walls and along the fence. Dogs sniffed their tables for treats, and at one point, some of them even hopped on the tables in order to gratify their curiosity. Some dogs dried off their coats by running around to every possible corner of the pool area while befriending and playing with other dogs.

Needless to say, the dogs and their owners had a “pawsome” time, so much so that some of them returned to one of the other two sessions.  Sunday’s Splish Splash session was a post-poned session that had to be re-scheduled due to inclement weather. The event raised approximately $24,000 for the Piedmont Park Conservancy and the three-acre off-leash dog parks.

Event Site

Guest Post by Annierra Matthews

4 Reasons to Take the Piedmont Park History Tour

There is nothing like the experience of immersing yourself in history, especially if the history is about your city’s backyard. Here are four reasons to take the Piedmont Park History Tour.

1. Discover Something New

Purchased by the City of Atlanta in 1904, Piedmont Park is rooted in Atlanta’s history. While many Atlantans have visited and treasure beautiful Piedmont Park, they may not know what was happening on the same ground under their feet dozens of years before. On the tour, you will discover its vivid history, stunning resilience and growth, and abundant beauty. From the accounts of Booker T. Washington’s mark on the Atlanta Exposition to the cluster of trees dedicated to well-renowned literary authors, the fascinating facts about Piedmont Park are timeless. Whether you are on your first or fifteenth visit, the tour awards you with the pleasure of establishing a new understanding of the Park and its influence on Atlanta’s history.

“The tour is such a great reminder of how Piedmont Park is woven into the fabric that is Atlanta.” – Kathy Ashe, Olmsted Society Member of the Piedmont Park Conservancy

2. Meet Like-Minded People

The Piedmont Park History Tour is a great way to meet new people or spend time with those who share a passion for Atlanta history or green space. The tour attracts neighbors, frequent visitors of the park and first-time visitors. Perhaps you’ll befriend another park lover on the tour, and then exchange contact information or enjoy a post-tour cup of coffee at the Green Market.

3. Instill Passion for Parks

With its unique and earthy history, the tour also encourages weekend family outings. If your family members love to engulf themselves in lush greenery and distinctive wildlife, or if historical landmarks and old truths thrill them, the park tour is perfect. The experience cultivates enthusiasm, dedication and love for all of what has Piedmont Park to offer. When you discover that Piedmont Park has been the backdrop of Gay Pride since 1972, for instance, or the home to the highly anticipated Atlanta Dogwood Festival, you will leave with a better understanding of why it is so important to preserve this gorgeous green space as a resource to Atlanta’s cultural and recreational events.

The tour is family and dog friendly. Grab your stroller and spend a day in the Park! Maybe the tour will persuade you or your guests to get involved with the Piedmont Park Conservancy such as helping to maintain the park’s beauty and cleanliness, all the while ensuring a safe space for the local community.

4. Make a Day at Piedmont Park

If you are new to Atlanta or only visiting with family and friends, the Piedmont Park Tour is a great resource for experiencing most of Piedmont Park in a short amount of time. First, arrive early to check out Green Market, where local farmers display tables of colorful veggies, fruits, and other merchandise. Then, take the docent-led guided tour to relive the park’s history. The docent will show you monuments, gorgeous trees, great Atlanta skylines (photo op!), and more – all within 60 to 90 minutes. Plus, both the Green Market and the tour are free to attend!

From learning about the contemporary design of the 1976 Noguchi Playscape to the Active Oval which was formerly a horse race track, the Piedmont Park History Tour is a noteworthy event to attend. It is hosted during Green Market which is on Saturdays from March to December (exclusion dates apply – check calendar for confirmation). The market is open from 9am-1pm, and the tour starts promptly at 11am. The market is at the 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue gate. Meet at the Piedmont Park Conservancy and Green Market information table. *$5 donation encouraged.

Guest Post by Annierra Matthews