Fall is all about wearing flannel, going apple picking, eating pumpkin-flavored everything and, of course, watching the leaves change color. But while you can enjoy most of autumn's iconic experiences whenever you want, taking in the leaves when they're at their peak is something only Mother Nature has control over — until now.
If you want to find out when the yellow, orange and reds will be their brightest and most vibrant, SmokyMountains.com created an interactive map that will help. It spans across the United States from August 26 to October 29, revealing when trees will show no change, peak color and when they'll be past peak. Give it a try by moving the white button:
How do they do it, you ask? Smoky Mountains uses National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data based on historic temperatures and precipitation numbers, past leaf peak trends and more to create their estimates.
Since each year experts have more historical data to pull from, Smoky Mountains' data scientist, Wes Melton, says predictions get better and better. "This year's leaf model is predicting an earlier-than-typical peak fall," Melton told Good Housekeeping. He also predicts a "prolonged color period," which is music to our ears.
As for when this will happen, the Rocky Mountains will see color first around mid-September, with northern parts of Minnesota, Michigan, Vermont and New Hampshire following right behind. The rest of the east coast and midwest won't experience peak leaves until the first week of October. As for the west coast and the south, they'll have to wait until the end of October.
If you want to use this map to plan an epic road trip to one of the most beautiful destinations in the country, we recommend going to one of these small towns.
h/t Travel + Leisure