Fall is here -- and this interactive map will help you plan the ultimate autumn road trip

Want to know the best times to see changing leaves? We have you covered

Photo by Kim Dae Jeung/Pexels

Any interest in checking out the fall foliage this time of year?

Regardless of whether you’d like to explore your general region or perhaps plan a bigger sort of autumn trip, the website smokymountains.com wants to help.

The 2021 Fall Foliage Map serves as the ultimate visual planning guide if you’re wondering about this year’s changing of the leaves.

“While no tool can be 100% accurate, (it’s) meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year,” the website reads.

The site is a great resource, especially for those who have children or who are especially interested in exactly what happens this time of year. It offers coloring sheets for kids, an explanation on what happens to the fallen leaves each year and why leaves come down in the first place, and even the science behind it.

Here’s an example of what the country will likely look like in the coming week or so (this targets Oct. 4):

Pretty cool, right? (smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map)

See that little key to the right of the U.S.? It shows what all the colors mean: Green is no change, light yellow means minimal change, solid yellow says patchy, orange is partial, red says near peak, maroon looks like peak and that almost brown-ish color indicates that we’re past peak.

Check out what the country might look like around Nov. 1:

Even Florida and Texas should see some color in the next month or so! (smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/)

You should play with the tool, by the way, especially if you’re planning a trip. You just drag the button side to side, and you can view the expected foliage situation for almost anywhere in the country.


This story was first published in 2019. It has since been updated.