New England

2017 Foliage Report | Large Swath of Peak Foliage This Weekend in Central New England

Where can you find peak foliage right now? Learn more in our latest New England fall foliage report.

By Jim Salge

Oct 19 2017

Coastal Maine at Peak

A beautiful sunset and peak foliage along the coast of Maine this week!

Photo Credit : Benjamin Williamson
A chilly reality swept into New England on Monday, as a cold front brought with it — gasp! — seasonable weather. Given that temperatures have been six to nine degrees above average for the month of October so far, Monday’s daytime highs in the 50s with a stiff breeze seemed both out of place and wonderfully refreshing. And a little light frost on Tuesday morning made the entire landscape sparkle as the sun rose over a most colorful landscape. After weeks of running up north to view the foliage at higher elevations and latitudes, I’m happy to report that the cool weather has finally brought the wave of peak color south. I spent the weekend viewing the foliage in the White Mountains, which, depending on slope, aspect, and elevation, were either at peak, past peak, or not yet at peak. But upon returning home to southern New Hampshire on Tuesday, I found brilliant colors right outside my living room window. A true “I love New England” moment.
Foliage Through The Window
Peak fall foliage has reached southern New Hampshire.
Photo Credit : Jim Salge
The extreme foliage variation in the White Mountains this weekend was emblematic of the region as a whole this season. There’s been some great fall color this year, but also some brown and dull areas. There’s been some long-lasting color, but also some very quick leaf drop and bare hills.
Long Lived Foliage in Pinkham Notch
Photographer Ryan Knapp shot this tree in New Hampshire’s Pinkham Notch five weeks in a row — talk about long-lasting foliage!
Photo Credit : Ryan Knapp
For foliage photographers and followers, it’s been a tough season to understand and an even harder one to capture. But if you just let yourself enjoy the autumn events, the unseasonably warm weather, and the generally nice fall colors, it’s been downright delightful. Honestly, I can’t remember a year when people were swimming, comfortably, so long into autumn, with a backdrop of peak foliage. So there’s that. Also on the positive side: The lingering heat and humidity has made for an epic year in autumn fog and mist. These condensations floating above lakes, filling river valleys, and drifting below mountain overlooks have provided drama and beauty on many recent mornings. And with the lakes and rivers remaining warm, there should be plenty of opportunities to see these scenes in the coming weeks, too.
Massabesic Mist
A mesmerizing mist swirled above Lake Massabesic in southern New Hampshire this past week.
Photo Credit : Jim Salge


For those heading out to do some leaf-peeping, this weekend will feature the widest geographical swath of peak colors this year. With the season running a bit late, you’ll likely find peak foliage in all the New England states except Rhode Island (though soon it, too, will peak). You can’t go wrong almost anywhere this weekend, outside of the far north and the Long Island Sound area.
Coastal Maine at Peak
A beautiful sunset and peak foliage along the coast of Maine this past week.
Photo Credit : Benjamin Williamson
Peak colors are emerging in Connecticut, central Massachusetts, and coastal Maine. They remain in the valleys of Vermont and, across the region, can be found in pockets further inland, around big lakes and lower valleys. North Conway’s Green Hills were living up to their name last weekend and may not peak for a week or so. Likewise, the shorelines of Champlain, Winnipesaukee, and Sebago will all slowly turn, too, as the lakes gradually lose their abnormal amount of late-season heat. Best bets for this weekend include Acadia National Park in Maine, the Squam Range in New Hampshire, and the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts. Kent, Connecticut, and the Quabbin area in Massachusetts will also provide great opportunities.
Mount Holyoke
The colors in the Connecticut River Valley were a bit green earlier this week but are changing fast.
Photo Credit : John Burk
We must warn, though, that the heat this year — as well as the lingering effects of some caterpillar defoliation this spring and the drought last year — will continue to create significant variation in the quality of the colors you see. Bright fall foliage is out there, but it might take a little exploring to find. Last of all, the leaf-peeping season in the far north is, sadly, drawing to an end. Stick season has returned to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, the Great North Woods of New Hampshire, and the Crown of Maine. And soon the snow will fly!
Stick Season
Pinkham Notch is now past peak, and stick season has reached the upper elevations of the White Mountains.
Photo Credit : Ryan Knapp
As always, be sure to visit 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.

SEE MORE: Prettiest Fall Foliage Villages in Southern New England10 Best Fall Road Trips in New England Best Fall Foliage Train Tours