Vibrant warm colors of the trees in Good Will Park in Falmouth, Massachusetts in November. Tranquil nature walking themes with space for texts and designs.

This Fall Foliage Map Is the Ultimate Resource to Catching the Most Vibrant Autumn Leaves

The ultimate resource for all the leaf-peepers out there.

If watching the leaves slowly shift from a vibrant green to a stunning array of reds, oranges and yellows is a spectacle that happens conveniently outside your bedroom window, count your blessings. Most of us have to plan, prep and pray our way into seeing good fall foliage.

Mother Nature only displays her best autumn colors during a very short window of the year, so timing is everything. You can't just show up and find yourself amid a canopy of color. No, you have to know where precisely you should be — and the best time to be there.

Fortunately, there's a handy tool that takes all of the guesswork out of planning your leaf-peeping trip: this fall foliage map. This interactive guide is put together every year by experts at the Smoky Mountains, and it's designed to help you determine the best dates for your ideal foliage excursion.

The map shows the progression of fall colors across the United States, from autumn's earliest beginnings in September all the way through its peak period and into late November. By moving the dial through various dates, you can get a better sense of when the fall colors will arrive in your state (or the state you plan to escape to) and when those colors will be at their peak.

Best Places to See Fall Colors

Early morning autumn light near Killington, Vermont. Photo taken on a calm tranquil colorful morning during the peak autumn foliage season. Vermont's beautiful fall foliage ranks with the best in New England bringing out some of the most colorful foliage in the United States

Before you book that ticket or plan that fall road trip, consult both the map and our roundup of the best places to leaf-peep so you don't miss out on nature's most amazing seasonal show.

Don't get us wrong — gorgeous fall colors are present throughout the U.S. But according to the Farmer's Almanac, these are the top 10.

Acadia National Park, Maine

When to go: Mid-October

This park on the rugged coast of Maine is home to 48,000 acres of mountains, woodlands and coastline — all prime locations for some fiery fall foliage. From Cadillac Mountain to Jordan Pond, there are plenty of spots where you can take in some seriously breathtaking views.

Ozark Mountains, Arkansas

When to go: Late October

The Ozarks are full of some of the most gorgeous fall drives you could ever imagine. Hit the road on the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop, Pig Trail Scenic Byway or the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway to immerse yourself in a scene that feels straight out of a painting.

Adirondack and Catskill Mountains, New York

When to go: Late September

The Adirondack and Catskill Mountains are absolutely alive with color during the fall. Explore the lush landscape around Lake Placid or go for a scenic fall ride on a train for gorgeous views of the changing landscape.

Traverse City, Michigan

When to go: Late September

The rolling hills and vineyards of Traverse City are a prime destination for autumn leaf-peeping. Go during harvest time to take in the full fall experience in hot spots such as the picturesque shorelines on the Leelanau Peninsula or the sweeping wineries in Old Mission.

Black Hills, South Dakota

When to go: Late September

From wild horses to stunning waterfalls, the Black Hills offer a variety of sights and experiences. But it's in autumn that this area really shines — especially along the 66-mile Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, where you can take in some of the best views of fall's vibrant colors.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

When to go: Mid-October

This 469-mile stretch of road takes you through some of the most gorgeous fall foliage in the East. From Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are multiple stop-offs that will let you take in all the beauty of autumn.

Kancamagus Highway, White Mountains, New Hampshire

When to go: Early October

The Kancamagus Highway is New England's premier fall foliage destination. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in America, this 34-mile stretch takes you through a forest of stunning trees that light up in vibrant yellows, oranges and reds during autumn — truly a sight to behold.

Pere Marquette State Park, Illinois

When to go: Mid-October

This 8,000-acre park is home to a stunning stretch of fall foliage accessible by trails, scenic drives and even equestrian routes. Outside of locals, this place doesn't have the name recognition as other East Coast destinations, so it's a great choice if you're looking to avoid a ton of crowds.

Jackson, Wyoming

When to go: Late September

You don't have to travel all the way to the East Coast for a little fall viewing. From Grand Teton National Park to the charming town of Jackson itself, there's no shortage of postcard-worthy fall foliage scenes to discover in Wyoming.

Connecticut River Valley, S.E. Connecticut

When to go: Early October

From historic country roads and riverboat cruises to the serene hamlets of Essex and Chester, Connecticut is a leaf-peeping playground. When you add in all the nearby vineyards, there's no doubt that this area doubles its autumnal beauty during the harvest season.


Now that you've got your fall foliage map and our expert advice, all that's left is to mark your calendar, plan your route and prepare for a little outdoor adventure. After all, there's no better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons than with a colorful trip around the country.

READ MORE: Hallmark Fall Harvest: The 20 Best Hallmark Movies to Curl Up With This Autumn