2015 Fall Foliage Map
Best Leaf Peeping by Region
Ready to start leaf peeping this fall? Before you plan your fall foliage road trip, get the peak predictions from weathertrends360. Check out the 14-day forecast and use the vacation planner tool for your next trip.
For now, take a look at weathertrends360’s recommendations for the best regions to see autumn’s spectacular color show this year.
Get inspired for fall and take a look at our list of fall foliage trips and Travel's Best Road Trips 2015.
The past couple of years have brought rather fine weather for fall foliage across the Northeastern states. This year, we’ll still see a fair amount of fall color, but we’re cutting back on the area rated “good” to “excellent” for foliage. New England should have another stunning display this year, but in the Mid-Atlantic region, the color may not be as brilliant as in the past couple of years. Hot, dry weather in late summer will likely take a toll on the fall foliage, as well as some quirky weather trends back in early summer. It was feast of famine in early summer, with very dry weather followed by seemingly nonstop rain. May was exceedingly dry (the Northeast’s second-driest in 24 years), but when it did start raining, it didn’t stop! June was excessively wet —the third-wettest in 24 years. Moderation of these precipitation trends would have boded better for the fall foliage.
When to go: To catch the splash of color in the Northeast, the best time to visit is late September for higher elevations and areas farther north (northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York), while lower elevations and locations to the south will be best viewed in early October.
The fall colors may not be as brilliant as the past couple of years across this region. Like the Northeast, it experienced some odd weather trends, with May being exceedingly dry and June being excessively wet.
The best viewing should be along the spine of the Appalachians. Because temperatures are forecast to be above normal across the entire region, the highest elevations will be the best bet, as temperatures will have the best chance of being relatively cooler, compared with lower elevations. Ideal early-autumn weather for fall foliage are warm days and cool nights.
When to go: The brilliant array of color extends down into the Mid-Atlantic in early October for higher elevations and mid-October for lower elevations. Areas closer to the coast typically peak around mid-October.
Like the Northeast, the Midwest should still see fine fall foliage, but perhaps not as spectacular as in recent years. Dry weather from July through mid-August will be a limiting factor, but near-normal temperatures are a positive for color. In the weeks ahead, we’re going to have a spattering of below-normal temperatures, along with some rain, which is favorable for fall foliage, but that looks to be followed by a period of above-normal temperatures and drier weather. The best scenario would be for temperatures to start cooling off as we go into September, with warm days and cool nights; however, it looks as if, after a short retreat, summer heat will return as we head into meteorological autumn.
When to go: Late September to early October will be the best time to head to the Upper Midwest for some leaf peeping. Southern parts of the region will peak toward mid-October.
The fall-foliage forecast for the West is getting to be like a broken record. The reason is that the persistent drought on the West Coast is very unfavorable for fall foliage, as the leaves drop quickly. Even the bit of rain we saw over the summer (including an unusual storm in July) hardly makes up for the water deficiency across the region.
When to go: The peak of the season in the Western region typically occurs from mid- to late October. For foliage in the Rockies, plan a trip a little bit earlier in October or even September for the highest elevations.