Late season leaf peeping

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of September 17-23, 1998
Late season leaf peeping
Adventure touring in Alaska
Extreme adventures for the holidays

Late season leaf peeping

By Stephanie Gregory

Question: I love the leaf color in New England in the fall and wanted to come over to leaf peep again this year. Sadly, the only time I could manage would be the weekend of October 17-18 which seems to be a little late especially as I have heard that the colors aren't expected to be good this year anyway. Is it worth bothering to come over and, if so, where should I be going? I would normally fly into Logan and head for New Hampshire.

Neil Tallantire
London, England

For best in fall leaf-peeping this year, shoot for Connecticut
Adventure Adviser: Predicting the intensity of any given leaf peeping season is a little like predicting the weather — the forecast is oftentimes maddeningly inaccurate and it only works a few weeks in advance at best. Regarding this year's leaf harvest in particular, I've heard reports that the substantial amount of rain over the summer has set the stage for a healthy abundance of rich fall color. As always, the most remarkable changes begin in the cooler, northern climes and make their way down south until they peter out in the coastal states in late October.

If you don't have to make your plane reservation immediately, I'd suggest waiting a few weeks to determine whether this year's crop is worth the transatlantic flight. Although you mentioned you'd like to go to New Hampshire, I'd recommend you shoot for a destination a little farther south, such as Connecticut, Rhode Island, or even Pennsylvania. Thanks to a new state-of-the-art digital camera system installed throughout Pennsylvania's parks, you can track the state's colors even from London by logging on to the internet at Just click on the site's leaf icon and can see for yourself index card-sized views of the state's foliage, updated every half hour.

Another way to hedge your bets is to call Tauck Tours' foliologist hotline (800-214-5158). One of the premier fall color tour operators in America, Tauck Tours recently installed a toll-free number with a recording from Scotty Johnston, a self-proclaimed "foliologist" who will give you daily updates on which parts of the United States are peaking with fall foliage. Though the number is toll-free and therefore only reachable in the United States, consider calling Tauck's regular line (203-226-6911) and someone there will be able to transfer you to the hotline.

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