Use this interactive foliage map to plan your photo shoots this fall


We’ve already stepped deep into September, with the first day of fall just around the corner. And we know what that means – warm and vivid foliage made for stunning photos. Like every year, folks at the Smoky Mountains National Park have launched the fall foliage prediction map. It shows you how the leaves will change across the US this fall so you can plan your shoot and get the most out of each location you visit.

How does the fall foliage map work?

To predict the foliage transformations, Smoky Mountains NP uses a refined data model and takes a combination of factors into account:

  • NOAA historical temperatures
  • NOAA historical precipitation
  • NOAA forecast temperatures
  • NOAA forecast precipitation
  • Historical leaf peak trends
  • Peak observation trends
  • User Reports

Of course, the predictions aren’t 100% accurate, but then again – which forecast is? I think it’s still super helpful for planning a shoot. After all, you can get involved and report the fall foliage situation in your area to make the map even better.

How to use the map?

The fall foliage map is user-friendly, intuitive, and pretty straightforward. Just drag the slider underneath the map and you’ll see as the leaves change throughout the fall. Green represents regions where trees have yet to go from green to fall colors, while brown signifies areas where leaves have moved past their prime. Naturally, other hues in between illustrate the unfolding transformations. You can find the map on this link, or play with it underneath this paragraph:

Unfortunately for us in other parts of the world, the map still only covers the area of the United States. Still, the founders may expand it to other continents in the future. And while I’m still enjoying high temperatures, ice cream, and cold beer, I can’t deny it – fall is definitely creeping in.


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