While the timing of peak foliage fluctuates year over year depending on temperatures, you can see the leaves changing colors between September and November. The Smoky Mountains National Park website has an exciting Fall Foliage Prediction Map showing the expected peak foliage timing across the United States. Colder mountainous regions experience the first of the season's fall foliage in September, followed by the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Western Plains in October. California and deeper southern states will find the best array of colors in early November.1
Read on below to see which states made our top pick in each U.S. region for stunning Fall Foliage, including Peak Foliage timing!2
Top Pick: Maine
Home to Acadia National Park, Maine's varying landscape stretches from the Atlantic coastline to the peak of Mount Katahdin and all the farmlands and story-book-worthy towns in between.
Northern Zones Peak Foliage: Late September - Early October
Southern Zones Peak Foliage: Early October - Late October
Top Pick: Tennessee
From the west side all the way across to the east side of Tennessee, cooler air and changing scenery offer a welcome reprieve from summer heat. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a Leaf Peeper favorite.
Peak Foliage: Early October - Early November
Top Pick: Michigan
You'll find everything from apple orchards and pumpkin patches to hundreds of breweries and vineyards to make the most of a foliage expedition, not to mention views on the shorelines of 4 of the Great Lakes!
Upper Peninsula Peak Foliage: Late September - Early October
Lower Peninsula Peak Foliage: Mid-October - Early November
Top Pick: Colorado
With 3 different climate zones all in a 2-hour drive radius of Denver, you can take in the sights of several different stages of foliage in one grand adventure. The Rocky Mountains are a playground for fans of the Great Outdoors and an awe-inspiring vista for all foliage lovers.
Peak Foliage: Mid-September - Mid-October
Top Pick: California
A state as big as California offers a variety of delights for the outdoor explorer, including 9 National Parks, beaches, mountains, valleys, and of course beautiful foliage. There's still time to plan your road trip!
Northern & Higher Elevation Zones Peak Foliage: Mid-September - Mid-October
Southern & Lower Elevation Zones Peak Foliage: Late October - Late November