Planning a leaf-peeping trip to coincide perfectly with peak color 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 a fall foliage prediction map for the United States that aims 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 color this year. While no weather prediction tool can be 100 percent accurate, this interactive 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 a slider between weeks throughout the fall.
For example, on September 10, the map shows that only parts of Colorado, northern New Mexico, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont will be showing minimal changes in their foliage. But by October 8, the leaves in those prime leaf-peeping areas will be at their peak, while everywhere else in the United States except for its southernmost states will have partially changed foliage.
However, if you’re hoping to visit Great Smoky Mountain National Park during peak foliage, you’re better off waiting until the week of October 29 to see the leaves at their best there, according to the map.
To see when the foliage near you (or your favorite fall destination) will change this year, visit the map at SmokyMountains.com.