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This foliage map predicts the best time to plan your fall leaf-peeping adventure


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Photo: Stocksy/Luke and Mallory Leasure

Summer might be beloved for its status as a time to relax, recharge, and road-trip—but its hot, humid days and sleepless, sticky nights do leave some room for seasonal improvement. Enter fall: The final season’s crisp air and colorful palette begs for its own epic adventure, and now there’s a science-backed way to time your confidence-boosting hike up a mountain in accordance with optimal leaf-peeping.

By the end of October, nearly every state will have reached its peak for changing leaves, so plan accordingly.

Smoky Mountains just released its yearly foliage map that details exactly when, by state, it’s peak time for checking out the changing leaves. By using a special algorithm that factors in more than 50,000 data points, it predicts that some changes happen in September, but the real magic starts toward the end of the month and continues through mid-October. By the beginning of November, nearly every state will have reached its peak, so plan accordingly.

Let’s be honest, we could all use a little time away from it all, so claim this opportunity to unleash your inner outdoors(wo)man under the yellow, orange, and red leaves. There’s no better—or more colorful—excuse to pack your bags (and ready your Instagram).

Originally published on August 29, 2017; updated on August 27, 2018.

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