This Interactive Fall Foliage Map Lets You Know When The Leaves Change By State

published Sep 5, 2020
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Credit: Shutterstock/Anthony Heflin

If the rolling out of pumpkin spice menu offerings hasn’t been enough of an inclination that autumn is officially here, the arrival of’s 2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map is here to shout it from the rooftops: fall is officially here, friends! The interactive map predicts precisely when the leaves will change by state, week by week. Simply toggle with the dates and use the color-coded chart to determine when the leaves will be a patchy orange and a partial orange, as well as near peak, at peak, and past peak. 

For example, for New York, the leaves will begin to peak on the week of September 21 and last until about mid-October. In much of California (in the northern area), on the other hand, the leaves will begin to peak much later on the week of October 5 and last until about early November. And in New Hampshire, the best peak leaf-peeping will occur during the weeks of September 28 (in the northern area) and October 12 (in the southern area). 

The Fall Foliage Map is created based on meteorology and predictive patterns, using everything from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration precipitation forecasts to determine daylight exposure and temperature forecasts.


“Since the fall foliage map is based on meteorology and predictive patterns, the precise moment Mother Nature produces peak fall is difficult to predict,” David Angotti, SmokyMountains founder and statistical expert, told Travel + Leisure about the data-based tool.  “While the refinement of our algorithmic model over the past eight years has helped us achieve reliable results, accurate meteorology predictions are sometimes elusive and never 100% accurate.” However, the “combination of nearly a decade of experience combined with great meteorological data sources ensures we achieve a higher accuracy over time,” Angotti said.

Angotti also predicts that fall foliage road trips will be a popular autumn activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic this year, since much of the fall foliage destinations are close to big cities. Given that socially-distanced car travel is one of the safest modes of travel these days, perhaps a drive to the nearest fall foliage spot is in order. Just don’t forget to check the interactive map first.