Fall

Fall Foliage Map

Filed Under: Fall

Ready to start leaf peeping this fall? Before you plan your fall foliage road trip, get the peak forecast from our partners at weathertrends360.

See weathertrends360’s recommendations for the best regions to see autumn’s spectacular color show this year.

Check out Travel's Best Fall Foliage Road Trips.

Northeast Region
The Northeast boasts some of the most breathtaking fall foliage displays around, and this will be an excellent year to catch a glimpse of the deciduous forests’ brilliant leaf colors. Favorable weather from mid-spring through summer in much of the Northeast set the stage for healthy tree growth, with a seasonable and wet mid- to late spring and a mild summer. As summer waned, warm days and cool nights became the predominant weather pattern in the Northeast, along with below-normal rainfall. This weather pattern is conducive to a burst of dazzling leaf color. The best fall foliage in the Northeast will extend from New York state down through the Appalachians, including most of Pennsylvania and northwestern sections of New Jersey, but just about everywhere in the Northeast will have a decent show of colors this year.

When to Go: To catch the dazzling 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, New York), while lower elevations and locations to the south will be best viewed in early October.
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Mid-Atlantic Region
Favorable spring and summer weather conditions in the Northeast extended down into the mid-Atlantic region, setting this stretch of the country up for an excellent leaf-peeping season as well. The best fall color will appear along the spine of the Appalachians from early to mid-October, as warm days and cool, but not freezing, nights and dry weather encourage the development of the bright red, orange and yellow pigments that are synonymous with the changing of the season.

A scenic ride down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park will be a must this year, as the tree-lined roads and picturesque overviews will offer some of the most exhilarating views of foliage anywhere in America.

When to Go: The brilliant array of color extends down into the mid-Atlantic in early October for higher elevations and mid-October in lower elevations. Areas closer to the coast typically peak around mid-October.
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Midwest Region
The Midwest will also offer some brilliant displays of color this year, with the best colors from Illinois to Ohio. Trees sprouted a little later this year because of a long and cold winter, but the spring and summer were definitely more cooperative and are the more crucial periods for healthy leaf development.

The weather was favorable in the summer, with near- to below-normal temperatures and sufficient rainfall. The lack of any sustained drought was a strong positive for healthy leaf growth and will contribute to bountiful color this autumn. Temperatures have continued to trend near- to below-normal going into September, with below-normal rainfall in the Upper Midwest and above-normal rainfall farther south. Some early-season frost in the Upper Midwest may prove to be a limiting factor for foliage there.

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.
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Western Region
Hot and dry weather from spring through late summer has put the Western region at risk of a humdrum and short fall foliage season. Drought conditions cause dull leaf colors, with many leaves shriveling up and turning brown instead of the bright hues expected this time of year; a hot and dry spring and summer have led to the persistence of drought conditions across nearly all of the West Coast.

Warm weather has continued into early autumn, albeit with more rainfall. Unfortunately for West Coast leaf peepers, hopes for brilliant fall foliage this year were likely squashed with a continued and severe drought.

When to Go: The peak of the season in the Western region typically occurs from mid- to late October. However, this year, many areas may peak closer to mid-October because of drought and a hot summer. For the foliage in the Rockies, plan a trip a little bit earlier in October or even early September for the highest elevations.

About the Author

Weathertrends360 specializes in creating accurate long-term weather forecasts. The meteorologists use a historical weather database of 6.4 million locations around the world, combined with their in-depth understanding of the many climate cycles that affect weather patterns, to accurately predict the weather for the coming year. Their forecasts are now available for free at weathertrends360.com.

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