If the pandemic put a pause on your fall travel plans and you’re a reader who logs in from somewhere in the US, you’re fortunate enough to belong to a vast country that puts on a spectacular show in the autumn. Perhaps you don’t get to jet off to your dream vacation, but this fall, consider planning a road trip to take in the vibrant display of changing leaves.
Now, it’s difficult to say exactly when the trees in any given region are going to be at their peak vibrancy, but fortunately, this interactive map can take the guesswork out of planning your trip by predicting when different parts of the country will be at their most colorful.
Statistician and founder of SmokyMountains.com David Angotti created this interactive map using historical temperature and precipitation data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as this year’s forecasted temperatures and precipitation, and historical leaf peak trends, to predict when fall foliage will be at its richest this year anywhere in the US.
All you have to do is select a date using the slider at the bottom of the map and see where the foliage will be at its most colorful. The forecast will show you what to expect for the entire week, starting on the date you picked.
Angotti and his team have been predicting fall foliage for almost a decade now, so even though their predictions may not always be 100 percent accurate (just like any weather-based forecast), their algorithm has been refined over many years.
Most people will use the map to plan their fall road trips or to see when leaves will peak in their local area, but the map has proven to be valuable for a number of creative reasons.
Angotti told Lifehacker that one bride reported choosing the date of her fall wedding based on the map’s predictions. Another user was a director looking for optimal outdoor shooting times. Lastly, a grade-school teacher planning a trip to a nearby state forest used the map to choose the best time for her class’ outing.
So, let the beauty of nature transport you this fall season with the help of the interactive foliage map—you may discover that your dream vacation spot was right under your nose the whole time!