Start Planning for Fall Now With This Interactive Foliage Map

While summer doesn't officially end until September 22, it’s never too early to get excited for fall foliage season. To see when the leaves outside your window will be at their most brilliant, check out this map for the 2018 season from SmokyMountains.com.

The tourism website puts together this annual interactive visual by pulling historical weather data and forecasts for the upcoming months from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as historical leaf peak trends. By using the slider at the bottom of the map, you can see when fall foliage is expected to peak across the contiguous United States.

As of September 10, for example, most of the country was rendered in green, which meant the leaves had not started to change yet. Move just a week or two ahead into mid-September, however, and the northern and central states show up with blotches of fall colors, with the lightest shade of yellow indicating minimal leaf change and deep red signaling peak foliage. By early November, most of the U.S. is brown, which means the leaves have passed their peak.

While the leaves of deciduous trees start to change hues at roughly the same time each year, the exact patterns vary based on factors like rain and temperature.

"Although simply entering rainfall, temperature data, elevations, and other data points into a model will never be 100 percent accurate, this combined with our proprietary, historical data drives our model to become more accurate each year," says SmokyMountains.com co-founder and CTO Wes Melton, who created the map.

Now that you know when exactly the trees will hit their peak, you need to make sure you’re around to see them. Here are some of the best spots in the U.S. to take in the seasonal show.

Themed Geography Grab Bag Quiz

The U.S.-Canada Border Runs Directly Through This Library

Though the Haskell Free Library and Opera House might not be as well known as the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty, it's undoubtedly one of America's most unique tourist attractions. Completed in 1904, the building is stationed directly between Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont, with the official U.S.-Canada borderline running right across the library's floor.

Martha Stewart Haskell and her son, Colonel Horace Stewart Haskell, both Canadians, built the building as a tribute to Mrs. Haskell’s late husband, Carlos. The family hoped that citizens from both countries would use it as a “center for learning and cultural enrichment,” according to the official Haskell Free Library website.

The Haskell is divided between the two countries. While the library’s official entrance is on the U.S. side of the building, most of the books are on the Canadian side. The opera house is similarly split, with most of its seats in the U.S. and its stage in Canada. As Atlas Obscura reported, it is often said that the Haskell is the only library in the U.S. with no books, and the only opera house in the country with no stage.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Andrew Mayer speaks to Nancy Rumery as he stands on the Canadian side of a line on the floor of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House that marks the border between the U.S. March 22, 2006 in Derby Line, Vermon
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Passports and other forms of identification aren’t required to cross from country to country in the library, though the Haskell’s website notes that the border inside the "building is real and it is enforced.” Visitors are expected to return to their side of the border after a visit; if they don’t, they risk possible detention and fines.

Even beyond the building's unique position, library director Nancy Rumery told CTV News that Haskell staffers—Canadian and American alike—consider the institution to be like any other library in the world.

"We're just trying to be the best library we can, and our community is made up of people from two different countries," she said. "We don't think of it in that big symbolic way that I think a lot of people do. These are all our neighbors and we do our very best to help them on their life-long learning journey."

This article originally ran in 2016.

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