Question #1 every year: When is the best time for fall foliage in New England? Based on this set of loose parameters, it’s an easy Question… October, Of Course!
Rarely is anyone happy with that answer though, and they want a more specific date range down to a week or even a particular weekend?
Now you are asking the 24 million dollar question! But I usually tell folks this on the blog: CDW or Columbus Day Weekend is the most heavily traveled weekend for two reasons.
- First, it’s a three day weekend.
- Second, this weekend (or week) is usually the start of when you will find the broadest tract of peaking fall colors across VT, NH and ME (not to mention the Berkshires of MA)
Now if you don’t know what I mean by “broadest tract” Take a look at this map from the Yankee Magazine foliage website.
You will see that bright red corresponds to the Peak colors and it covers a very broad area of Northern New England. Now please keep this in mind this is nothing more than a good guesstimate of what the fall colors will do in any given year.
If you look at the small calendar in the corner it’s centered on 7 Oct. So in theory you should have a really good chance of finding great color.
That is the “Safe” answer! I will also tell you that I have gotten some of my best shots on or about the 1st of October. For the northern white mountains and up into the great north woods (think Canadian border) you can avoid traffic of CDW and less traffic but also you chance spotty color.
What the maps don’t tell you?
What the map (this one or anyone elses) won’t tell you! That this is a generalization and does not take into effect dry/wet spells or maple leaf rot or other environmental effects that happen in random years.
Here is where I jump off the ledge with both feet and make a call based on what I’m seeing here in the New England area. Somebody has to be crazy enough to do it!
But! as tools go this isn’t a bad one and for this year Jeff Foliage says…
[remember this was written in 2013, click this link to go to my forecast listing] I think these are good dates but I might slide the date a few days later. We had a late spring and summer along with a very wet June. I think these factors will lead us to slight delay in the fall colors or a sporadic start to the colors depending on what we get in Sept as far as temps and precipitation.
What we want to see is a warm summer fading by the end of August into a cooler and dry Sept. This way we will get the colors when we want them. A dry Sept will concentrate the sugars in the leaves and give us much brighter colors! So cross your fingers…
So the best time for fall foliage in New England is whenever you get here! The earlier you get here then the further north you will be and if you show up in late October then you want to arrive further to the south… That isn’t too hard, is it?Jeff "Foliage" Folger
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