When and where to see peak foliage in 2018.

Jessica Plautz
August 27, 2018

Planning a trip to see the foliage this fall? While you can fairly easily guess the general time to see those yellows, oranges, and reds each year (hint: fall), your timing needs to be impeccable to see peak colors.

If you're in need of some guidance before booking a trip, look no further. SmokyMountains.com has compiled its annual interactive fall foliage map for 2018, offering predictions for when to see peak foliage in every county in the U.S. It's an excellent tool for estimating when to see peak fall foliage in Vermont, when to head to the mountains in Colorado, or when to book that bed and breakfast in New Hampshire.

“Each year, we use a proprietary algorithm to process millions of data pieces and output accurate predictions for the entire country,” Wes Melton, co-founder and CTO of SmokyMountains.com, told Travel + Leisure.

Those millions of pieces are then outputted as more than 50,000 pieces of predictive data, Melton says, which are displayed on the interactive map below. “This predictive map is the perfect intersection of our passions and is our favorite project of the year,” said Melton.

To see when leaves will peak in your hometown or autumn destination, use the slider on this fall foliage map for 2018.

Fall Foliage Map 2018

See the larger map.

To create the map, the team at SmokyMountains.com starts with national data about rainfall, temperature, elevations, and more, then combines that with their own proprietary, historical data from years past.

If you're wondering how the map is able to show such specific predictions for the season, you're not alone.

“After having dozens of conversations with our fall foliage map users, I realized the data-driven predictive process seems magical to the average layperson,” said Melton. “This year, I decided to make a secondary interactive graphic with regional and state data related to temperature variations.”

“The temperature data supplied by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of the most important factors and now leaf map users can easily visualize the impact of regional precipitation on peak fall dates,” he said. Melton warns that unexpected rainfall can change the dates when leaves are at their most vibrant.

Where to See the Best Fall Foliage

Now there's simply the matter of deciding where to go. Of course, we've got a few ideas.

You could plan a fall foliage road trip in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains, around New York's Finger Lakes, or in one of these other 10 great drive-friendly destinations.

Or, you could take a leisurely vacation in one of the best places to see foliage in the U.S., like the Smokies in Tennessee, the Ozarks in Arkansas, or the always-popular states of Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

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