When and Where to See the Best Fall Foliage in the U.S. This Year
The days may be getting shorter, but on the positive side, that means it’s time to break out those fall sweaters, grab a warm mug of apple cider, and head outside for some prime some leaf peeping. To help take the guesswork out of planning your weekend road trips, Smoky Mountains has released its 2019 Nationwide Predictive Leaf Map to tell you exactly where and when you’ll see the best fall foliage around the country.
Each year, the map uses an algorithm that analyzes millions of data points, including leaf peak trends and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration historical and forecast information about precipitation and temperatures. “Although the scientific concept of how leaves change colors is fairly simple, predicting the precise moment the event will occur is extremely challenging,” says SmokyMountains.com CTO and data scientist Wes Melton. “The major factors impacting peak fall are sunlight, precipitation, soil moisture and temperature. Although we cannot control Mother Nature and ensure 100 percent accuracy, our data sources are top-tier and each year we refine our algorithmic model achieving higher accuracy over time."
According to the map, early October is when you’ll really start seeing the leaf colors change, especially in the northwest and northeast states. By mid-November, most of the country will be past peak, though you can still head to the southeast corner of the country for another few weeks (for example, sunny Florida won’t hit peak foliage until the end of November). That gives you plenty of time to enjoy all those warm autumnal hues no matter where you live.
See the full map here, grab your coziest scarf, and happy leaf peeping season.
(Image via SmokyMountains.com, photo via Getty)
Lesley Chen is a California native who writes about travel, health/fitness, and other lifestyle topics. She has a serious case of RBF and exercises mainly to balance out an aggressive candy addiction.