Plan ahead for best viewing

Leaf peepers in the know track color with online foliage reports

Fall Foliage Peak Times online map.
Fall Foliage Peak Times online maps on The Weather Channel website are updated regularly. Ⓒ

Catching foliage color at its peak is always a dicey proposition. Wind, rain, and early frost can all play havoc with autumn’s pageant of colors. Beyond weather conditions, timing is everything. Show up a weekend early and you may discover forest canopies still bathed in summery greens. Arrive a weekend too late, and you’ll find lifeless dried leaves piling up on the forest floor.

Not so long ago, planning a day of color was pretty much catch-as-catch-can. You’d cross your fingers, hop in the car, and drive a hundred miles or more. Then if you were lucky, you’d be treated to a seasonal explosion of color. If not, you’d later learn that the best foliage was twenty miles in the opposite direction.

These days, it’s easier to plan ahead for best foliage viewing. Many states and travel regions maintain web pages featuring up-to-date, area-specific foliage condition information. Yankee Magazine’s New England Peak Foliage Forcast Map is a great example. It follows day-to-day foliage changes to highlight approximate peak dates for different parts of New England.

On Mondays and Thursdays through November, The Foliage Network posts updated reports for the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest U.S. The Weather Channel’s Fall Foliage Peak Times page provides national and regional color maps depicting color conditions for all areas of the U.S.A. Online foliage reports are less widespread in Canada, however The Weather Network does post leaf peeper updates for eastern provinces.