While the days are getting shorter, and the evenings are getting cooler, it’s hard to be mad that autumn is just around the corner. It’s the season of sweaters, chili, snuggles, and, if it’s to your taste, pumpkin spice. Most importantly, it marks the return of leaf peeping. If that’s your thing, there’s a map to show you when the best time to soak in the fall changes the trees in your state.
Leaf peeping, an activity where people go for a walk or drive to soak in the changing colors of the trees and other plants, is a beautiful way to ring in autumn. But any experienced leaf peeper could tell you that to get the most out of your tour, you’ll want to time your peeping to the ideal week or even day where you live.
That means catching the the leaves right as they start turning from green to yellow and reds — before they fall off the trees. Depending on where you live in the country or which state you’re planning to visit to leaf peep, the change of seasons can happen anywhere between mid-September to late November.
Thankfully, SmokyMountains.com has done the research for us so there’s les of a guessing game. The website’s in-depth algorithm can predict the changing of the leaves every year.
The above map, which shows the leaf peeping quality during the week of September 19th, and the below map, which shows the leaf peeping quality during the week of October 17th, show that October is probably the best month for most Northern Americans. But you can play around with the maps on their website to see exactly when you should go leaf-peeping, depending on where you live.
“While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year,” the site explains.
To come up with the predictions for when the best time to go leaf peeping will be, the algorithm analyzes millions of data points. This includes National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) historical temperatures, precipitation, forecast temperatures, and more, according to site creator David Angotti, who spoke with Travel + Leisure.
If you’re looking forward to leaf peeping, check out the maps to help plan the best day to get the largest “wow factor.” The full maps can be found on SmokyMountains.com.