RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Fall is finally here, which means it’s only a matter of time before the leaves change color.

North Carolina has 18 million acres of forests, and much of it is hardwood, which gives us the variety of vibrant colors we enjoy in the fall.

And so far, Associate Dean of Extension with the College of Natural Resources at N.C. State Dr. Robert Bardon, says we’re in good shape for bright colors this season.

“We’ve had great weather with these warm sunny days and cool nights should help contribute to good vibrant colors in this region of the state,” he says.

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, this sends a signal to the trees and the change begins.

“The pigments are already in the leaves,” Dr. Bardon explains. “It’s just the chlorophyl dissolves this time of year, and that’s when we start to see the yellows and oranges and everything.”

Peak for us in Central North Carolina is typically the middle-to-end of October, and a few weeks earlier for the mountains.

But the brightness of leaves can vary from place to place thanks to the weather.

“You might have very vibrant colors in this part of the state, and if you go to a spot that was extreme drought, they might have less vibrant colors,” Bardon says.

While we love to travel to check out fall foliage, remember that some of the best views might be in your own backyard.

“Your local parks, Yate’s Mill Park, Cary’s Bond Park, Apex has a park with a nice walking trail around, so really just hitting those local parks,” he says.