Leaf peepers alert: Map shows when fall colors will peak in every state

bright fall colorful trees
Photo credit Getty Images

Crisp, cool air is starting to circulate throughout the country which means fall colors are upon us!

If you're hoping to catch some cool fall colors this year, a new map can help maximize your viewing experience.

The nationwide map of foliage patterns serves as a best-guess guide to when aspen, birch, larch and maple trees will turn their deep shades of gold, orange and crimson. You can adjust the date on the map to see when colors are predicted to be the most vibrant in each state.

The forecast, produced by the Smoky Mountains website, predicts much of the U.S. will start seeing the most dramatic colors by late September to mid-October.

"The 2022 Fall Foliage Map is the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves. 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 website notes.

Fall foliage can be difficult to predict, especially as climate change brings warmer temperatures and disrupts rainfall patterns. Temperature and rainfall can also affect the brightness of the fall colors.

Areas where warm temperatures persist can see fall colors arrive later than normal, while areas where rainfall has been scarce could see changing color early this year, and their effect might be less vibrant, according to NPR.

"The timing might not be the same, the colors might be a little bit more muted and not as beautiful and robust as we usually get to experience," Nicole Keleher, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation's forest health program director told WBUR.

Meantime, cooler areas with more rainfall could be in for quite a show.

"When there is more rain, the colors pop even more! When there is a cool fall, the red maple leaves appear brighter as well," according to the National Park Service.

Some areas could see fall colors through early November, but don't delay too long to get your fill of the season or you might be stuck waiting for next year.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images