For many hikers, fall is the best season to get outdoors. You’re avoiding the wet weather in the spring and the heat from the summer, but you’re not dealing with the frozen temperatures of winter. Plus, the vibrancy of changing leaves sends many out the door to find fall foliage.
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While there are obvious destinations like New England, the Smoky Mountains, and parts of the Pacific Northwest, almost every area has a seasonal change worth exploring.
Here are some helpful tips to figure out when you should go outside to find fall foliage in your area.
Forecasting the Arrival of Fall
Fall officially kicks off September 23 this year, but the actual arrival of cooler weather varies depending on where you live.
SmokyMountains.com has one of the more popular maps to show you when the leaves should start changing in your state and your specific county. The best part is that the interactive map helps you better understand when to plan your trip to the mountains or forest.
If you can’t wait for the leaves to arrive, here’s the Outdoors.com guide to early foliage.
Getting the Latest Leaf Updates
Finding the best leaves is a whole business in some areas. While you’ve heard jokes about city folks heading to Vermont to peep some leaves, it’s also an economic boost that plenty of businesses enjoy.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Weather.com has an entire page dedicated to leaf reports.
Besides that, numerous states have their own updated leaf reports. Local tourism groups post some, while college research departments run others. Here are a few to check out:
Heading to a National Park to Find Fall Foliage
A great way to enjoy the changing season is to visit a national park. The U.S. National Park Service has a very long list of parks and sites that you can visit to see fall foliage. If you’re visiting during peak leaf season, be prepared for extra crowds and added traffic.