Travel

Use This Interactive Fall Foliage 2020 Map to Plan Your Next Getaway

You need this. I need this. Let's get out there and see some leaves.


fall foliage 2020 map

via SmokyMountains.com

One of the few predictable outcomes of 2020 will soon come to pass: In a matter of weeks, leaf-peeping season will arrive more or less on schedule. And if for any reason in particular you’re especially interested in outdoor activities this fall, you can consult this trusty interactive foliage map from SmokyMountains.com to guide you on your travels.

The site releases an updated widget every year loaded with predictions for when all those bright colors will peak. Or, in other words, when it’s the perfect time to take a socially distanced hike in Vermont, or a fall foliage drive in New Hampshire, or go apple picking amidst those beloved colors in your own backyard.

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According to the site, which promotes tourism to the Smoky Mountains, the map is compiled using “a complex algorithm that carefully analyzes several million data points and outputs approximately 50,000 predictive data pieces” from sources like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which it then uses to predict down to the county, and down to the week, when leaves are likely to be their brightest and fall-iest.

Use it by sliding the tab at the bottom of the screen to see the march of increasingly beautiful, then increasingly dead, leaves making its way south. The peak, according to the map, should arrive in mid-to-late September for much of northern New England, then mid-October in Massachusetts.

Mother Nature often has other plans we can’t foresee, so the map is meant to be a rough guide of what to expect, its makers warn. “While the refinement of our algorithmic model over the past eight years has helped us achieve reliable results, accurate meteorology predictions are sometimes elusive and never 100% accurate,” site founder David Angotti said in a statement. “However, the good news is that the combination of nearly a decade of experience combined with great meteorological data sources ensures we achieve a higher accuracy over time.”

Also, if you’re looking for input from another trusty source on what lies ahead, leaf-wise, turn to the 2020 New England Fall Foliage Forecast from NewEngland.com. The site predicts two possible outcomes, given the hot, dry summer and the possibility of La Niña storms this winter: Chilly storms that bring bright pops of color in a relatively short period of time, or warmer weather that drags leaf-peeping season out longer than usual.

If you do decide to get out there and see for yourself, and I suggest you do, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to New Hampshire’s Great North Woods for a family getaway, our guide to glamping and other appealing destinations in the region, or consult our roundup of the 15 best fall foliage drives in New England.

Happy peeping, everyone.