New England

2018 New England Fall Foliage Recap | Still Plenty of Color to Be Found

How did this year’s foliage season stack up? Where can you still find peak color? Read on for our 2018 fall foliage recap, in our final post of the season.

By Jim Salge

Nov 01 2018

Classic New England At Zealand Pond

Classic Autumn Reflections Captured at Peak Over Zealand Pond in Late September

Photo Credit : Jim Salge
In most years, our final New England foliage report is a reflection on the season that was — but this year is different. Sure, the yard definitely needs a good raking, and it’s time to put my deck furniture away. Yet even now, much of New England is retaining leaves and some surprisingly bright fall color. Near my house in southern New Hampshire, the oaks are only just turning, and a great number of maples are still orange and yellow. Looks like I’ll be raking freshly fallen leaves through Thanksgiving…
Halloween Foliage
A surprising amount of fall color remains on the trees across New England this Halloween.
Photo Credit : Jim Salge

Where to Find Peak Foliage

There’s still really strong color in southern New England. Peak foliage hangs on along the coastline of Rhode Island and Connecticut, as well as on the Cape and Islands. And if the oaks along the coast of Maine into Massachusetts are only just now turning, those trees down south have a long way to go!
Kingston, Rhode Island
Peak Conditions Are Holding Across Southern and Coastal New England Into November
Photo Credit : Mark Truman
Boston Common and the Esplanade are usually among the last areas in New England to turn. If you want to catch those trees at their most beautiful, we’d recommend aiming for mid-November. As usual, far northern New England is a different world. Most trees are bare in the northern reaches of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Color now is confined to the young beech trees and the larches. Snow has fallen, even in the valleys, and ski resorts have opened. The window for the fall cleanup there is closing fast.

2018 Fall Foliage Recap

Reflecting on the overall fall color this year, we just can’t describe it in a single, simple summary. How you perceived it was very much a function of where you lived and how much traveling you did during the season. Some areas were epic; others were quite disappointing. And as we mentioned, the verdict is still out in some places.


The areas up north were beautiful but extremely short-lived: The leaves turned late and left early. We heard plenty of people remark that Vermont in particular had one of the most vibrant years in recent memory. The White Mountains were equally bright, but they lacked the bold reds of their neighboring state to the west. Northern and Downeast Maine were spectacular as well.
Four Weeks In Pinkham Notch
Four Wednesdays in October Captured By Ryan Knapp in Pinkham Notch
Photo Credit : Ryan Knapp
In these northern areas, it was a bit drier through the summer, and the humidity was less of a persistent factor. Cooler weather was slow to emerge across the region, but it was at least cool enough up north to kick-start the colors by early October and save the show.


In central New England, heat lingered and clouds were omnipresent — and we honestly failed to consider just how much the summer humidity would spur the growth of late fungus and tar spot in some areas. Early color came in nicely in parts of central New England, and then a storm knocked all of it down. The late color was tremendously gapped and is only now showing again in late maples, beeches, and oaks.
Late Color, CT River
Late autumn color hanging on around the neighborhoods of Greenfield from Poet’s Seat Tower Near the Connecticut River
Photo Credit : John Burk
Southern New England had some of the same problems with fungus, spotting, and caterpillars, but the color seems to have come in better. Maybe it simply held on through the marginal weather in the middle of the season and is responding to the more abundant sunshine of recent days. It’s definitely a situation that foliage prognosticators will analyze thoroughly before next season.

Looking Ahead

Soon, after all this late color falls, we will descend into New England’s longest season, with gray skies, ghostly trees, and bitter winds. Winter’s grasp has been advancing since June, with the passing of the longest day of the year. We barely notice the sun slipping down a bit earlier each day in July and August, only feeling it as the first chill swings in around Labor Day. Now we are switching the clocks back, and darkness surrounds us. How fortunate we are to have this brief season of beauty before winter, where the last moments in the life of a deciduous leaf are their best. We thank you for following along and enjoying it with us this year.
Brunswick Maine Late Color
Late autumn color seen by drone over Brunswick, Maine
Photo Credit : Benjamin Williamson
We especially want to offer a sincere thank-you to all the people who make the autumn experience in New England so grand. When I’m up early to photograph first light on the peak foliage, I’m always struck by the park staff and campground hosts who are also up and working hard to clean and prep for the busy day ahead. At local fairs and festivals, volunteers put in countless hours to create the wonderful community events that we treasure as anchors of family traditions. And we certainly must give a nod to the small businesses, many of which are seasonal, and their employees for providing so much of the great food, shopping, and attractions that define New England in autumn. It’s these places — and the sights and smells and sounds and feelings that accompany them — that we will look forward to all year.
Classic New England At Zealand Pond
Classic Autumn Reflections Captured at Peak Over Zealand Pond in Late September
Photo Credit : Jim Salge
Finally, we want to thank all the photographers who shared their work with us this year. Please take time to visit their websites and see their other beautiful images. These artists include: Benjamin WilliamsonJennifer HannuxChris WhitonRyan KnappKevin TalbotBryan BzdulaJonathan SteeleJohn BurkJeff SinonGarrett EvansSusan GarverChris ShaneJack RobertsCharles CormierMichelle Ettelson Robert Kozlow Phillip Forsyth Neil Lovett Mark Truman Our first foliage forecast will be out in mid-August next year. We’ll see you then!