Pack the minivan and consult with the experts for the best time to head out on a fall foliage-viewing adventure

Fall is just around the corner and along with the pumpkin spice everything comes something truly magical, fall foliage! There’s nothing quite like the fiery autumn colors as the leaves change and the joy of watching your kids’ faces as they leap into a heaping pile of them. If you’re planning a special trip to see this spectacular sight, you’re definitely going to want to check out this interactive map for the optimal place and time to see fall leaves at their peak.

courtesy of has created this fall foliage map, using data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to predict the peak of the leaf season across the country to help you plan the perfect road trip. The data is based on years of information on the peak season and the forecast ahead. Data scientist and map creator, Wes Melton, explained, “The data model continues to improve and become more accurate each year. This is due to our expanding historical database and our ability to analyze past predictions versus historical trends. Our aggregated historical and current database now includes hundreds of thousands of unique data points giving us the ability to predict more accurately than ever before.”

When will the leaves change color this year?

Many factors go into whether leaves will change early or late. We know that areas where warmer temps persist will often have a later peak (and this was the third-hottest summer on record according to NOAA). But lack of rainfall can make leaves change earlier. So, we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

Check out the interactive map here and use the sliding bar at the bottom to see what changes you can expect across the country from now until the end of October. The site also features scientific explanations of why leaves change color and free coloring pages you can download, as well as local lodging, restaurant, and attraction listings.

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