Fall colors 2022 map: When and where to see Utah's best foliage
Fall is coming (believe it or not), and it's time to start scanning the calendar for optimal leaf peeping!
The forecast: The prolonged summer heat means color changes could come a week or two later than usual this year, according to this year's fall leaf map from David Angotti at SmokyMountains.com.
- Look for patches of color change in the northern mountains this week and next, with peak colors expected in early October.
- In southern Utah, the height of color changing season should come in mid-October.
Yes, but: Altitude and tree species can affect what counts as "peak," and it's not always predictable.
- I've seen maples at lower altitudes like Killyon Canyon look amazing in September, and much higher aspens at Alta peaking a full week into October.
What to expect: Fall foliage should look pretty good this year, Darren McAvoy, a forestry professor at USU, told Axios.
- The ongoing drought might fade colors a bit, but we had decent monsoonal moisture this year, which should help, McAvoy said.
- The insects and diseases that can ruin a display haven't been seen this year in Utah's forests.
Tips: I chased the perfect "peak" of fall foliage for years before I realized that it doesn't actually look significantly better or worse from one week to the next — especially before the climax.
- The biggest risk is waiting too long and missing the leaves before a fall storm brings them down.
- If you're trying to schedule a portrait, it's more important to find a few vibrant trees than to predict the very best moment at the top of Guardsman Pass.
The bottom line: Perfect timing matters less than exploring multiple places in late September and early October.
- You can miss a lot waiting for the aspens to take on that full golden orange.
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