In mere days, the summer road trips will give way to the just-as-exciting fall road trips. No matter where you are in the country, fall offers the benefit of a common goal — routing the best leaf-peeping excursion to see fall colors in all their glory.
The website SmokyMountains just released its annual fall foliage forecast map, which predicts when fall colors will hit their peak across the United States.
This year, the first states to see the fall colors will be Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, as soon as September 7. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan will also be able to see the start of fall foliage early this year. In all those states, fall colors will peak between September 28 and October 5.
In New England, the fall foliage will start slowly around mid-September and the fall colors will be at their most magnificent between October 5 and October 12, with the northern parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York leading the way.
Of course, southern states get their peak fall colors a little later than those in the north of the country. Texas, Louisiana, and Florida don’t reach their fall foliage potential before November 16.
While the website can’t ensure 100 percent accuracy, it has asked the best in the field of meteorology (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and looked at past trends to create this map, so you can hit the road to the nearest forest reassured.
To get ahead of the game, start planning your fall road trips now. By the time September hits, it’s time to toss your camping gear into the back of the truck to admire one of Mother Nature’s put on her most beautiful show.
A version of this article was previously published on September 1, 2020, and was updated on August 25, 2021, with more information.