Where can you find peak foliage right now? Learn more in our latest New England fall foliage report.
By Jim Salge
Oct 12 2017
Hikers enjoying the great weather and peak colors along Zealand Road this weekend.Photo Credit : Jim Salge
We always say that New England’s fall foliage rarely disappoints. However, as we headed into Columbus Day weekend this year, after the record heat, we were worried that the brightest colors would arrive after the crowds had left. So we ended last week’s report with a general hope for the best.
Happily, luck was on the side of the throngs of visitors to northern New England this past holiday weekend. In the most popular areas for tourism in northern Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, bright colors appeared seemingly overnight and were prime for the big weekend.
That said, every foliage season is different, and this one has already had a little of everything. A great setup with bright early color. A midseason browning stretch with early leaf fall. A late arrival of the real wave of color. A bright resurgence in northern New England. And, right as everyone was packing up and heading home from the holiday weekend, the remnants of a tropical storm, just for good measure.
One picture I captured last week really captures the challenges of this season. At the edge of a waterfall pool near Hanover, New Hampshire, the collected leaves showed a timeline of the season so far. We were so glad — and so lucky to see the colors pressed against the initial brown leaves.
With Columbus Day now past, themes in the New England culture flip from the harvest and fairs to the gourds and ghouls of Halloween. But leaf-peeping is really just ramping up, as the wave of color moves out of the far north, down in elevation and toward the coast.
More midweek frosts should accelerate the changing of any northern areas that were still green last week, and these will be the best places to view peak foliage this week. In Vermont, the spine of the Green Mountains is still holding great color, while the Northeast Kingdom is moving past peak. In New Hampshire, the eastern White Mountains as well as the Monadnock region are set to have great color, while the Great North Woods move past. And in Maine, Baxter State Park and perhaps Acadia are brightening, while the western mountains begin to fade.
New areas of color to visit this coming weekend include the Berkshires in western Massachusetts and perhaps even the hills of northwest Connecticut, though likely they will need a few more days to a week.
As peak hits farther south, it’s moving into areas that had more inconsistent foliage conditions leading up to autumn. Caterpillar damage, tar spot, and lingering drought effects from last year may mean leaf-peepers will have to do a bit of exploration to find the best colors.
As always, be sure to visit NewEnglandFoliage.com for our weekly 2017 foliage forecasts and reports, as well as our live peak foliage map and everything else you need to plan your foliage trip in the region. And when you do find some color, please share it with us. Tag your Instagram photos with #MyNewEngland for a chance to be featured on our feed.
We’re thankful that the season, while a bit late, is shaping up well. Hope you get out to enjoy it!