Good News, Leaf Peepers: Fall Foliage Season Could Be Long This Year

published Aug 25, 2023
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Every year, as summer ends and pumpkin spice seems to spontaneously appear on coffee shop menus around the country, two words start coming up a lot: leaf peeping. It’s not enough to simply see the leaves around you start changing color; many people hit the road for veritable fall foliage excursions.

Ultimately, Mother Nature has the final say in whether a cozy New England getaway is bursting with bright reds and oranges, or if the foliage season is frustratingly short, like it was last year. Although the hues were nice and vibrant, they didn’t stay on trees all that long, meaning that if your trip was a couple of days too early or late, you missed the big show.

But there’s good news if you’re already mapping out your route through the northeast to catch some fall colors: experts are saying that the foliage could last a long time this year, meaning there’s plenty of time to plan a leaf peeping trip.

Although you can leaf peep anywhere there are trees, bucolic New England is one of the most popular spots for it, and foliage expert Jim Salge told CBS News Boston that the colors will be spread wide throughout the area, with the colors starting to turn early and stick around awhile.

The downside, however, is that the colors won’t be as fiery as peepers might’ve hoped. “We factored in the fact there is going to be some leaf fungus around this fall because of the moisture,” Salge said. “It’s one of the reasons why we don’t think it’s going to be the brightest year even though it will be long-lasting.”

Another downside? This is just a prediction, not a guarantee. In fact, Robert Bardon, a professor of forestry in the College of Natural Resources at N.C. State, told the Washington Post that he can foresee a short fall foliage season, thanks to how warm it’s been recently. 

“Warmer fall temperatures during the day or at nighttime tend to delay the season and might mute the colors,” Bardon said. “But the biggest impact will probably be that it shortens the season.”

Still, just like you can’t control the weather on vacation, you can’t control the leaves — and a cute little fall getaway is hard to get mad about, pretty leaves or no. And if you’re thinking of hitting up Vermont, the state says it’s more than ready for tourists to return after this summer’s deadly floods.