When & Where Fall Colors Will Peak in 2018

Autumn is more than a season—it’s a fantastic celebration to be experienced with all your senses.

Fall has a certain feel to it: cool and dry and crisp. It has many smells and flavors, from fair food and apple crisp to cider doughnuts, plus pumpkin spice in the air. Sounds abound, too, from the breeze rustling the leaves to the calls from birds migrating south.

Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And of course, there are sights: the fall foliage and autumn colors that serve as the backdrop to this entire event.

Plan your autumn getaway around the country’s most spectacular foliage displays.

In an earlier post, we discussed the “when” and “where” of peak fall-foliage, predicting when and where the leaves will be most vibrant.

Here’s your 2018 fall foliage cheat sheet, based on the prediction map referenced from my previous article, “Fall Colors Will Be Stunning: When and Where They Will Peak Near You.”

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

October 1

Where: Just in time for the start of everyone’s favorite fall month, parts of six states— Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado, and New Mexico—are forecast to be “near peak.” Additionally, much of the northern half of the country will see the leaves beginning to change if they haven’t already.

October 8

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where: Peak finally arrives in much of New York, Vermont, and northern parts of Pennsylvania, while most of the surrounding areas will reach “near peak,” so that’s likely where you’ll want to be to see the most colorful displays. The forecast also calls for the leaves to reach peak in northern Minnesota and central parts of Colorado and New Mexico. Only states in the South will still be waiting for leaves to change at this point.

October 15

Where: Even larger expanses of the same regions will see peak, including several additional states like Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Meanwhile, the areas that reached peak in the prior week are forecast to be “beyond peak” at this point and only small areas of the South remain unchanged.

Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

October 22

Where: Portions of even more states are expected to enjoy the height of the fall beauty, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and California. This appears to be peak-peak, if you will, and change will be apparent in some way in every state on the map.

October 29

Where: Peak will begin to move farther south to states like Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee as well as to greater expanses of California, Oregon, and Washington. However, all of the Northeast, upper Midwest, and much of the areas around the Rockies are expected to reach “beyond peak” as November nears.

Fish Lake Scenic Byway, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fish Lake Scenic Byway, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

November 5

Where: Most of the country will be beyond peak at this point, especially places in the North that are known for gorgeous fall colors. However, peak will continue to expand to new places in the South and almost all of California.

November 12

Where: As winter begins to take hold, only parts of the South are not expected to be “beyond peak.” Elsewhere, there likely won’t be much left to see. “Beyond peak” dominates the map.

November 19

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where: Leaf peeping season is all but officially over now that the winter solstice is only about a month away. At this point we recommend you move on from your pumpkin ale and move on to a good, hearty bock (think, Shiner).

Worth Pondering…

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
―L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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