Maple leaves turning later at Aowanda Forest Recreation Area this year

Due to insufficient rain and moderate temperatures, only 1/3 of the maple trees in the Aowanda Forest Recreation Area have turned red so far

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Maple trees at Aowanda National Forest Area

Maple trees at Aowanda National Forest Area (CNA photo)

Due to a lack of rain and abnormally high temperatures, only about one third of the trees have turned the familiar brilliant crimson red hue so far this year in the Aowanda Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan's most popular spot to view fall foliage, according to the park's general manager Liao Ching-sen (廖慶森).

According to Liao, the only about one third to one half of the park's famed maple trees have turned red so far, as temperatures have remained unseasonably warm at 10 degrees and higher, and there has been very little in the way of rain. However, the area has finally seen some rain over the past few days, so the percentage of trees that have turned red could increase to 80 percent, said Liao.

Normally, the leaf viewing season at Aowanda runs from mid November to mid December, however due to the unseasonable weather, Liao said that the season might run until late December this year.

The park, situated in Jenai Township of Nantou County ranging in altitude from 1,000 meters to 2,600 meters above sea level, occupies an area o f 2,700 hectares. In addition to maple trees, it also has other trees that change color such as beech and Chinese pistache, as well as evergreens including pine and incense cedar. The park also features a river viewing platform, a hanging bridge, waterfalls, hot springs, and 120 species of birds.

To avoid the big crowds, Liao recommended that tourists visit the mountain recreation area on weekdays and said that despite the slow start, he cannot guarantee that there will be large numbers of trees still turning color by late December.