When (and Where) To Catch This Fall’s Foliage in All 50 States

Paula Froelich
·Editor at Large

Photo by Corbis. Design by Jennifer Fox for Yahoo Travel.

’Tis the season for Mother Nature’s grand gala — when the leaves change color and most of the country is transformed into a kaleidoscopic wonderland. That being said, every state — and every year — is different. I’ll never forget the profound disappointment when, eight years ago, I took a day off from work to do a long weekend in the Catskills to catch the leaves and … was a week too late. But this year there will be no mistakes as, thanks to smokymountains.com, there are maps telling us all exactly when and where to catch the colors.

How to read the maps:

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Week of Sept. 5

It’s still early, but the season starts in Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, the Great Lakes area, and the Northeast.

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Week of Sept. 12

Still too early to get excited, but the Rockies and the Northeast start to look pretty good.

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Week of Sept. 19

Still not peak for anywhere in the country, but start packing those campers: Next week, it’s on like Donkey Kong for the Northern and Rocky Mountain regions!

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Week of Sept. 26

Right now is the time for camping and catching the foliage if you’re in the Rocky Mountain area or the far north of the country.

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Week of Oct. 3

And it’s on for everyone except the Southern states: They like to keep their tailgating till the end.

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Week of Oct. 10

Parts of the Rockies and northern New York are done, but the rest of the country is catching on.

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Week of Oct. 17

The Midwest finally joins the party properly, and the South starts to perk up.

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Week of Oct. 24

The party is over for the Northeast and the Rockies, but the rest of the country is still ablaze with color.

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Week of Oct. 31

Not much time left, but mid-South and California are still popping. And what better way to spend Halloween?

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Week of Nov. 7

The only place left in the country to catch the foliage now is below the Mason-Dixon — way below.


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Week of Nov. 14

And scene! If you haven’t caught the leaves by now, you’ll have to wait till next year.