Lonely Planet Writer

Get prepared; spectacular fall foliage is expected in New England this year

There are few places on earth as beautiful as New England in autumn and 2017 has all the signs of being a landmark year for fall foliage. If you love walking beneath the vibrant reds and oranges of the changing trees, it may time to prepare yourself for a road trip.

Golden leaves and valley fog in central New England on autumn day.
Leaf-peepers are in for a real treat in New England this year if the forecast is correct. Image by Larry Gloth

The prediction comes from Yankee Magazine, a New England-based publication which tracks the fall foliage across the region every year. Jim Salge, a foliage photographer and former meteorologist, is considered an expert in the subject and says all the weather signs so far point to a fantastic year for leaf-peepers.

In order to get the picture-perfect fall foliage, the weather needs to be the perfect autumnal mix of sunny days and colder nights with just the right amount of summer rainfall beforehand. While it’s too early to confidently predict this season’s weather in the region, by examining the weather pattern over the last year, Salge called it “the most optimistic forecast I’ve had in a couple of years.”

Rural Vermont in full fall colours. Image by Denis Tangney Jr

The last couple of years have seen a below-average range of colour, due to a combination of drought and an infestation of caterpillars who ate away many of the leaves before they could reach their full potential. While some of these lingering factors may mean it won’t be the most beautiful on record, Salge believes there’ll be plenty of opportunity to enjoy spectacular seasonal hues.

You can also follow the most up-to-date predictions and algorithms for autumnal colours all over the USA with an online predictive map. By their calculations, much of the country is expected to enjoy a longer-than-average fall season.