Good news, fall foliage season is here, and you can experience it throughout the country whether you’re hiking, driving, or cruising. But how can you be sure that you get a spectacular show when you arrive?
Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to predict when the leaves will turn.
Deciduous trees need a cold snap to change the leaves into bright fall colors, so we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.
But a good rule of thumb is that foliage starts in higher elevations in the northeast and works its way down and west.
So Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont generally get colorful from the last week of September through early October.
In Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, colors peaked around Columbus Day weekend.
But if you travel even further east, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island actually have a later fall season because the ocean keeps the weather more temperate.
So the leaves change well into late October.
Another late starter is the Arkansas River Valley, which peaks as late as November.
And in November, you can also find great foliage down south, in areas like the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway in South Carolina, and Lookout Mountain in Alabama and Tennessee.
The point is, fall foliage isn’t just a one-shot deal.
Travel like a contrarian and you can catch great color all around the U.S.
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