OK, so maybe you’re not ready for summer to be over quite yet (neither are we). But if you're the planning type—or a fall fanatic—it’s time to turn your attention to the 2022 edition of the Fall Foliage Prediction Map, an interactive guide from Smokymountains.com that shows folks when trees will hit their peak autumn splendor across the U.S. every year.
To make its predictions, the website’s model uses an algorithm that sources millions of data points from governmental and non-governmental sources like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—everything from historical temperatures and precipitation to peak observation trends. Once the data has been inputted, the model creates 50,000 predictive data pieces that are mapped out for users to browse as the season progresses. It’s not a completely fail-safe process, but the end result generates an exciting sneak peek at what's to come for the country’s fall foliage.
Wondering when fall foliage in Chicago will begin to appear this year? According the the guide, local trees will start to show patchy coloring during the week of October 3; by October 24, they'll achieve peak color. As we know, that color is all too fleeting—the city’s trees will be past their peak once we hit the week of October 31, just in time for Halloween.
This story was originally published in 2021 and has been updated with new information for 2022.