Sep 4, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Map: When and where to see peak fall foliage

An aerial view of trees with green, yellow and red leaves surrounding a lake

Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It's not officially autumn, but PSLs have already arrived, and peak fall foliage will be here before you know it.

Why it matters: Your window to view the bright hues might be trickier to predict, as climate change impacts when leaves change — and how colorful they get.

Data: SmokyMountains.com; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

Driving the news: Using historical weather reports, tree species info and user data, travel brand SmokyMountains.com put together 2023 foliage prediction maps of the U.S.

  • In some regions, leaves start to change colors in mid-September.
  • Many regions are projected to be past their peak fall colors by the end of October.

Best parks to view fall foliage include:

Between the lines: The green color in leaves comes from chlorophyll, the pigment that helps plants turn sunlight into energy via photosynthesis.

  • As nights get longer and there's less sunlight in the fall, leaves stop making chlorophyll.
  • The green color fades and the yellows, oranges, reds or purples become visible.

Go deeper: Top fall foliage destinations by SmokyMountains.com

Go deeper