Home>Travel inspiration>Outdoor Adventure>Natural Wonders

Plan Your Fall Getaway With This Peak Foliage Prediction Map

share this article
Now’s the time to start planning your fall road trip.
Photo by Shutterstock

Now’s the time to start planning your fall road trip.

A warm September means leaves will change color across the United States about a week later than usual in 2019. Here’s when to take your trip.

Article continues below advertisement

share this article

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 2019 fall foliage prediction map for the continental United States. 

In light of Weather.com’s recent report that peak fall foliage will be slightly delayed this year due to above-average September temperatures, this online tool will be more valuable than ever to help you time your autumn getaway 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 2019. 

“The predictive fall leaf map helps potential travelers, photographers, and leaf peepers determine the precise future date that the leaves will peak in each area of the continental United States,” data scientist Wes Melton said in a statement. 

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.

Warm September weather means that peak fall color will be delayed until October for much of the United States.
For example, on September 21, 2019, the map shows that only parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont are showing patchy or partial changes in their foliage. But by October 5, the leaves in those prime leaf-peeping states will be at their peak, about a week later than its typical late-September peak timing.
By early October, much of New England will be at or near peak fall color in 2019.

Article continues below advertisement

If you're looking for the best time to grab your weekend getaway 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 12 when the map says the lower half of the state will reach its peak fall color.

The week of October 12 is also ideal for anyone going leaf peeping in the Pacific Northwest, when the fall colors will be at or near peak in Washington State and the northern parts of Oregon.

For those hoping to visit Great Smoky Mountain National Park or have a farm-to-table feast at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee during its peak foliage window, you’re better off waiting until the first week of November 2019 to see the leaves at their best there, according to the map. Typical peak foliage season in that part of the country typically falls in late October, according to Weather.com.

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 September 2018; it was updated on September 18, 2019, to include current information.

>> Next: 14 Fall Foliage Train Rides to Book Right Now

Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips

Please enter a valid email address.

Read our privacy policy