Autumn is a fine time for weekend getaways --or longer trips, for families not tied to school schedules-- and fall foliage vacations can be fun and affordable. Parents can ooh and aahh over the color show, while kids get some good times in The Great Outdoors. Scroll down for New England, Great Smokies, The Rockies, and more. But first...
What are the best weeks, for fall foliage?
Peak weeks differ in different locations. Basically, leaves change color when trees stop producing chlorophyll. This might happen mid-September at higher, colder elevations; elsewhere the best weeks might be in early October.
As About's Guide for Forestry explains:
- color changes begin at high altitudes and latitudes and move down-slope, and southward through North America.
- Leaf colors change in three main waves, starting with yellow ( - yellow-poplar, birch, some maples and hickory, sassifras, sweetgum and aspens.) The second color wave is orange: some of the species mentioned above transition into orange; silver maples and white oaks add orange too. The third wave is red, in such trees as black tupelo, sumac, tallow tree, some oaks and maples.
The transition from orange to red is considered "peak," and lots of factors can affect color intensity. Amount of sunshine, frost, night temperatures-- all come into play.
Bottom line: for any fall foliage vacation, check conditions/ predictions for the peak weeks for the particular location you're interested in! The National Forest Service Fall Color Hotline may help.
- continue to Fall Foliage weekend getaways in New England