VANDERPOOL, Texas – The color change came quickly this year, with many of the trees already peaking with the signature reds and oranges at the Lost Maples State Natural Area.
"It seemed like within the last 10 days, they've gone from green to color really fast,” said James Rice, interim Superintendent at Lost Maples State Natural Area.
"It’s pretty colorful this year,” Rice said. “We were a little skeptical this summer going into the fall."
That skepticism was turned around by a series of cold fronts, combining with the constant of shorter fall days.
"It is beautiful and the weather couldn't be more beautiful,” said Peggy Oliver, who visited Lost Maples on Friday from Yorktown.
On Friday, visitors arrived from all over the state and country. The park’s popularity can make crowds an issue.
"We should have got here earlier,” said Jim Cawthorn, who was visiting from New Braunfels.
Rice recommended those wanting to go to the park arrive early, especially this weekend, which is expected to be busiest of all.
"When the parking lots fill up and we have no other place to put people, then yes, we'll have to close,” Rice said.
Lost Maples State Natural Area lets in around 300 vehicles before shutting the park down for the day. It opens at 8 a.m. However, lines may form even earlier.
"Get here early, early, early,” Rice said. “They say a lot of times by 10, 10:30 (a.m.). We're shut down by that time."
Rice also suggested visiting next week during a weekday when crowds will be smaller. Admission is $6 for adults and free for those 12 and under. On Sunday, however, in honor of veterans or those who have served, admission will be free for all visitors. The color show is forecast to end before Thanksgiving.