Autumn foliage is gorgeous, but tricky. In some areas in the U.S., you might wait all year for the leaves to change — only to wake up one morning and they’re all on the ground. Or maybe you used prediction maps to plan when and where you’re going to go. Those are great, but like everything else in life, catching the leaves at their perfect colour-changing peak is not guaranteed.
So if leaf-peeping is high on your autumn holiday to-do list, you may want to turn to some of the crowdsourced autumn foliage maps out there. Heck, you may even want to be a volunteer leaf colour reporter yourself. You have a few different options, depending on the region.
New York state
Autumn is the perfect time to go exploring upstate New York. Luckily, I Love NY has a weekly foliage map and report that will tell you everything you need to know. The data for the reports is collected by a team of approximately 65 volunteer leaf-peepers located throughout the 11 regions of the state. New reports and maps are issued every Wednesday afternoon.
If you associate one part of the U.S. with autumn foliage, it’s probably New England. You may have even planned a trip just to see it. If that’s the case — or if you live in the area — you’re going to want to check out this live autumn foliage map. It covers Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and also relies on locals and visitors to report on an area’s changing leaf colours. To report what you see, just enter your location on the map and answer a few questions.
Shenandoah National Park
Last year, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia started asking visitors for help tracking their changing leaves, and then produced a weekly report based on submissions. If you’d like to participate, email the photo from your trip (they request that you only send one per week) along with the following information to the park:
Where the photo was taken
What date the photo was taken
What name you want for a credit (please, no watermarks)
A statement that we have permission to use your photo for the fall gallery
Email [email protected]
There aren’t any reports out yet for this year, as it’s still early. But you can check out last year’s reports to get an idea of what’s to come.
The Northeast, Southeast & Midwest
Thanks to the folks at the Fall Foliage Network, there are reports available twice a week, covering the changing leaves in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest. Like the other sites, they have foliage spotters in different parts of each state in each region, and release maps and reports based on the data these volunteers send in. The reports are published on Tuesdays and Fridays.
If you don’t see the area you live in or are visiting on this list, Trip Savvy has put together a state-by-state guide to when the leaves typically change and, more importantly, has provided a foliage hotline for each location as well.