Get Excited for Fall With the 2020 Peak Foliage Map
The season of scarves, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything is almost upon us. No matter how you feel about the end of summer, it's hard not appreciate the colorful foliage when it reaches its peak in autumn. Those red, orange, and gold leaves may be visible outside your window sooner than you think, and the interactive map below from SmokyMountains.com shows you exactly when to expect them.
Fall foliage normally peaks some time after the autumnal equinox, which falls on September 22 in 2020, but exactly when depends on variables like rainfall and temperature. Each year, the tourism website SmokyMountains.com looks at weather forecasts and historical trends from NOAA and puts together an interactive map showing when foliage is predicted to peak across the contiguous U.S.
Fall foliage typically arrives in America's northern states first. In 2020, Northern New England, a place famous for its leaf-peeping, will see the brightest leaves around September 28. Peak foliage won't reach the southern-most parts of New England until October 12. Around October 19, parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois will be treated to the most spectacular leaves of the season, and in southern states like South Carolina and Georgia, peak foliage shows up around October 26. By November 23, the fall foliage will have passed its peak everywhere except the lower parts of Texas and Florida.
By sliding the scale beneath the map, you can see when foliage is expected to peak in your part of the country. You can also use the tool to plan trips around the changing leaves.
"Our travel brands have experienced a trend of increased visitation in vacation markets that visitors can drive to and decreased visitation where flights are required," David Angotti, SmokyMountains.com's founder and statistical expert, said in a statement. "Since many of the top fall foliage destinations are within an easy drive of major cities, we are expecting larger leaf peeping crowds in many of the popular fall foliage destinations."
If you can't pick just one spot to take in the foliage this fall, you don't have to— a road trip is one of the best ways to see as much of it as possible.
This story has been updated for 2020.