Searching for Spectacular Fall Foliage? This will help!
Cool weather is starting to work its magic across the U.S., changing tree leaves from standard shades of green to yellows, reds, oranges, and bronze.
And with the assistance of The 2021 Fall Foliage Prediction Map developed by SmokyMountains.com, you can plan your trip across the country and view the colors state by state! Just use the interactive slider to time your trip to get the best chance to view Mother Nature work her colorful magic.
The Farmers’ Almanac website has a state chart of the probable dates for peak fall color, and also breaks the country into seven zones with links to the best places for fall leaves:
- Northeast (Zone 1): New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C.
- Midwest/Great Lakes (Zone 2): Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin
- Southeast (Zone 3): Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida
- North Central U.S. (Zone 4): Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana
- South Central U.S. (Zone 5): Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico
- Northwest (Zone 6): Washington, Oregon, Idaho
- Southwest U.S. (Zone 7): California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona
Seven best destinations to view fall foilage
Here are seven of the best spots by zone for viewing the annual changing of the leaves. Need some tips on taking pictures of the fall landscapes? Check out these Fall Foliage Photo Tutorials for advice.
Zone 1: Acadia National Park, ME — According to visitacadia.com, the crisp autumn air is perfect for “leaf-peeping,” with the foliage show usually peaking between October 13–22. The park has more than 120 miles of historic hiking trails, providing the perfect way to get up close to the colorful exhibition.
Zone 2: Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, KY — Head to Big South Fork in mid-to-late October to see the sumac, red maples, burgundy sweetgum, and tulip poplar put on their fall finery. The Kentucky portion of the Big South Fork includes five hiking trails, allowing you to view the changing colors up close.
Zone 3: Shenandoah National Park, VA — With more than 200,000 acres of protected lands and over 500 miles of hiking trails, Shenandoah National Park offers a range of visitor opportunities, especially in mid-to-late October when red-brown oaks, brilliant yellow birches and poplars, and the red and orange black gum sumac, maples, and Virginia creeper respond to the changing season. Travel the 105-mile Skyline Drive that runs north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, taking advantage of the 70 overlooks that provide views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east and the incredible selection of deciduous trees.
Zone 4: Fort Ransom State Park, ND — Located in the scenic and heavily wooded Sheyenne River Valley, accessed from the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway (North Dakota’s first nationally recognized scenic byway), Fort Ransom has a 20-mile, non-motorized trail system that allows plenty of opportunities to enjoy the fall foliage. Plan your visit from early September to mid-October for the best views at Fort Ransom and the other 11 locations throughout the state.
Zone 5: Boiling Springs State Park, OK — Boiling Springs State Park is just one of 14 spectacular fall foliage drives that await you when you visit Oklahoma in the autumn. Boiling Springs’ hardwood trees typically change colors starting the last week of October through the first week of November, with the main picnic area south of Lake Shaul and on the Scout Trail a prime viewing spot. If you’re looking for more, download this handy guide.
Zone 6: Olympic National Park, WA — From mid-to-late October, the rain forest in Olympic National Park offers an incredible range of colors, from deep red to brilliant yellows, courtesy of the vine maples and aspens that are part of the foliage. For the best views, check out Hoh Rainforest on one of the Hall of Mosses trails, along the Quinault River through the Quinault Rainforest, Hurricane Ridge Road, or Highway 101 between Forks and Lake Crescent, according to Olympic National Park Trips.
Zone 7: Lake Tahoe, CA — According to LakeTahoe.com, the area’s Quaking Aspen and Cottonwood trees are the highlights of fall foliage. Drive through Hope Valley (just south of South Lake Tahoe and Meyers), Markleeville, or Ebbetts Pass (on Highway 4 on the south side of Hope Valley) and get your fill of the colors.
If you head out leaf-peeping in your nuCamp product, be sure to snap some photos and share your adventure with us!
Note: COVID-19 may impact festivals associated with fall foliage viewing. Check the individual websites for any schedule changes or restrictions.