“It’s the most optimistic forecast I’ve had in a couple of years,” Jim Salge, who tracks annual autumn foliage for Yankee Magazine, told the Associated Press. “The biggest thing that can go wrong with foliage is a really wet couple of weeks leading up. We’ll really need that typical fall weather in New England — warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights — to make it pop. But we’ve had a great setup.”
What’s made the difference? A relatively stable weather pattern in New England since spring, more rain than usual over the summer months, and warmer-than-average fall temperatures should all help set the stage for some incredible scenery.
Wes Melton, SmokyMountains.com data scientist, told Travel + Leisure that this year’s peak period should be earlier than usual thanks to heavy summer rains across much of the country. At the same time, leaves should hold their glorious hues longer than normal due to hotter temperatures this autumn.
For a closer look at the foliage patterns expected this fall, SmokyMountains.com has developed a color-coded 2017 Nationwide Predictive Leaf Map that relies on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make its predictions. The county-by-county breakdown shows the annual progressive changing of the leaves and, better yet, when foliage is expected to peak and where between mid-August and early November.
So when should you plan your fall foliage road trip? By Sept. 17, foliage is expected to be at its best in the northern halves of Vermont and New Hampshire and then in the southern parts of those states around Sept. 24.