Planning a leaf-peeping trip to coincide perfectly with peak fall colors is a difficult task. If you go too early, you’ll see more green than orange and red. Too late? You might risk being greeted by a forest full of brown leaves. To help avoid these disappointing scenarios, SmokyMountains.com released its 2022 fall foliage prediction map for the continental United States.
With above-average temperatures predicted this fall for most of the West and the northern tier of the continental U.S.—not to mention drought conditions in many parts of the country—the foliage season is likely to be delayed and less vibrant in 2022.
To make sure your timing is right, use this online tool to help you schedule your fall road trip whether you plan on seeing the sugar maples turn red in Tennessee or the aspens go for gold in Colorado.
Using historical data and forecast information from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, SmokyMountains.com created an algorithm to predict the timing of peak fall foliage in 2022.
While no weather prediction tool can be 100 percent accurate, this interactive fall color map shows you the best opportunities for when and where leaves will be near peak, at peak, and past peak this year as you move the slider at the bottom of the map between weeks throughout the season.
When will fall foliage peak this year?
By October 3, 2022, the map shows that parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and Minnesota will be at peak fall foliage, which is about two weeks later than last year’s peak timing in those parts of the country.
By October 10, most of Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and upstate New York will peak. But by October 17, the leaves in many parts of those prime leaf-peeping states will be past their peak—a reminder that timing is everything.
If you’re looking for the best time to grab your weekender bag and see peak fall foliage in New York’s Hudson River Valley or Catskill Mountains, you’ll want to schedule your trip upstate for the week of October 17 when the map says the lower half of the state will reach its peak fall color. For those hoping to rent a Blue Ridge Mountain cabin during the peak foliage window in western North Carolina and Virginia, it looks like the week of October 24 is your best bet, according to the map.
Going leaf peeping in California wine country? The week of October 31 is when the fall colors should be at or near peak in Sonoma County, timed perfectly to the fall harvest season. And the Madrona, a newly reopened boutique hotel in Healdsburg, still has availability that week.
To see when the fall foliage near you (or your favorite autumn destination) will change this year, visit the map at SmokyMountains.com.
This article originally appeared online in 2018; it was most recently updated on September 2, 2022, to include current information.