Every year, thousands of onlookers crowd winding mountain roads near where I live in North Carolina to take in the gorgeous autumn foliage. And among locals, the conversation often turns to when the leaves will be at their peak color and whether this year’s show will be impressive.
Seasonal foliage predictions are a mixture of science, history, folklore, and guesswork that range from plausible to downright superstitious. While no one can say for certain when foliage will peak each year, there are some general guidelines that can help. Here are some indicators and tips to allow you plan your next autumn leaf-viewing trip.
What the Locals Say:
It was often suggested to go early rather than late, feeling that it’s better to see leaves that haven’t quite peaked than to arrive after the leaves have fallen. From my many autumns spent playing in the mountain woods, I can tell that some years are definitely better than others and the peak can fluctuate a week or so either way.
But when you get right down to it, every fall is spectacular from beginning to end. If you have a chance to see it anytime – GO!