Fall color in Grand Teton National Park, September 2016.

We’re wrapping up production of our October 2017 Annual Fall Color Special Issue this week, which will be available through digital newsstands in mid-September and in print the first week of October. In it, we showcase a selection of top locations around the country to photograph fall color, with insights from pros who know these locations well, along with tips for capturing and processing fall color images.

Today we came across an interactive fall foliage prediction map at SmokyMountains.com, by way of Mental Floss. The SmokyMountains.com website offers tourism info for Smoky Mountains National Park and the local community, but the interactive map provides fall color timing predictions for the entire continental United States.

fall color map
The interactive Fall Foliage Prediction map at SmokyMountains.com.

The interactive fall color map has seven levels from green, which is “No Change,” through brown, denoting “Past Peak.” The colors in between indicate the various stages of color peaking. As you slide the control on the timeline below the map, you’ll see when and where to expect peak color across the U.S. Very useful! According to the map, we’ll start seeing peak color at higher elevations beginning in the second week of September.

For an article about the map on Mental Floss, writer Michele Debczak notes that, “Because the summer has been especially wet for much of the country, the trees are expected to transition sooner in the year.” Debczak spoke to the map’s creator, Wes Melton, who added that not only will the colors start earlier than usual, they are expected to persist longer. “Other than the Pacific Northwest,” Melton told Mental Floss, “we are expecting warmer-than-average fall temperatures during the September through November time period. These warmer temperatures are expected to prolong the color season.”

I’ll be headed back to Jackson, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park this year for the Summit Nature Photography Workshop. Looking at the prediction map, we may just barely miss peak color. It’s going to be close.

Are you planning a fall color trip? Check out our article “Techniques For Fall Color Photography” for tips to make your best photos of the display.

If you’re undecided about where to go, QT Luong suggests “Ten National Parks For Fall Foliage.” Or, check out these travel guides from our October 2016 Fall Color Special Issue:

California Gold

Colorado Fall Color Pilgrimage

Peak Color In Michigan

Autumn In The Northeast

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