Autumn is a colorful time of year, and there is much to see and enjoy outdoors. Whether you are traveling, taking pictures, studying the science of leaf change, or just enjoying the vivid array of color, this page offers prime resources for all of these activities. This season has had a slow start, but the leaves are changing so take a look and see where to go to find the color.
Selected websites below allow you to study and explore fall foliage treasures, whether you stay close to home, or travel across the country. If you are expecting visitors and would like to take them on a local tour of fall foliage sights go to 'Round the Bend's fall foliage site for the Greater Niagara region. Or visit the up-to-date report on color changes in New York State (click also on their Leaf Identifier for more).
This list is divided into several sections: Where to Go, Why Do Leaves Change Color? (the Science of Autumn), Leaf and Tree Identification, and How to Preserve the Memory of Autumn (in photos, leaf pressing, etc.). There are also Links for Kids.
2016 Feature sites: New England Fall Foliage Outlook; Fall Foliage Viewing Coast to Coast. Find out what the leaves might be doing this year.
Nature Photographer Carl Heilman II has a number of Fall Foliage screensaver and wallpaper designs for FREE downloading.
If you want to take better fall foliage photos, or are interested in learning to improve your photography, visit the Best Online Photography & Art Degrees, helping students of all ages find a photography degree program for developing or advancing their career as a photographer. Contact the site author Sandy Rothaman for more info.
Can't get away? View the leaves live or in photogaphs. See our new Autumn Photography and Art section below. It includes great autumn foliage web cams.
Chlorophyll gives most plants their verdant hues. Sunny days and crisp nights trigger the breakdown of cells at the base of the leafs stem causing chlorophyll to decompose. Other pigments -- carotenoids and anthocyanins -- surface in the plantís leaves. The result is our autumnal display of colors in the canopies of city streets, rural woodlots, and forested hillsides.
Trees with higher concentrations of carotenoids (beech, birch, and willow) display colors of yellow and gold. Anthocyanins predominate in leaves of maples and sumac providing vivid red and orange colors. Factors such as soil nutrients, rainfall, temperature, and disease cause variations in colors within a species or geographic region. You can call the NY Fall Foliage Hotline 1-800-225-5697 for up-to-the minute highlights of New York's fall foliage progression.
Fall Foliage, Fall Colours or Autumn Colors? What is the difference between fall foliage and fall colours or colors? How about Americans vs Canadians and the spelling of colour vs color. Another important distinction is the notion of the “Leaf Peeper”, a term describing the tourists that flock to the North East New England area of the U.S. during the fall foliage season. Peepers tend to get arrested in Canada. See Fall in Ontario.
Where The Leaves Are Turning
New York State
- New York Fall Foliage Report (I love NY).
- Fall Foliage Update: Autumn in the Adirondack Park
- RoundTheBend's Fall Foliage in Upstate New York (includes Greater Niagara Region and the Chautauqua/Allegany Region)
- New York Fall Foliage: A Guide to Autumn in New York State.
- New York Fall Foliage Tours: Leaf Peeping. Arranged by region.
- Top 10 Fall Hikes to View Spectacular Autumn Foliage in New York--New Jersey
- Wild Center. When traveling in the Adirondacks there are several places providing interpretive trails with relatively easy and handicapped access: The Wild Center (The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks) and their terrestrial trails and overlooks as well as their indoor theater presentations, panoramas, freshwater aquariums, and high-definition multi-media screens and kiosks (all available for price of museum admission).
- Visitor Interpretive Center (Paul Smith's College). Explore nature up close! The Paul Smith's College VIC (Visitor Interpretive Center) in Paul Smiths, New York, offers a variety of free and fee-based art, music, sports, and educational programs throughout the year, including bird walks and nature walks, trail runs, children's educational programs, art exhibits, concerts, lectures, workshops, and naturalist-led paddles.
- Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) offers outstanding learning opportunities in the heart of the Adirondack Park—New York's unique natural, cultural and recreational resource. Managed by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).
New England States
- New England Foliage Central. About everything you need to know about NE fall foliage.
- New England Fall Foliage (Discover New England). Find places to go, things to do during autumn in NE.
- New Hampshire Foliage Report. Official NH site for best times, etc.
- New Hampshire Foliage Guide. Tourist site with regional maps and descriptions. Also has links to Fall leaves science and foliage guides for other New England states.
- Fall Color in the Eastern United States including New England. Also has a variety of fall color resources.
- Fall Foliage Map (Boston Globe). Beautiful animated, interactive map showing New England's hotspots for color by time period. The map shows the advance of color changes through the season. Map includes GPS data for high-tech leaf touring.
- YankeeFoliage. New England Fall resources from Yankee Magazine.
- Best Fall Foliage Sites in America. Covers regional and out-of-state travel info on leaf-change.
- Fall Foliage Viewing Coast to Coast 2016. Covers the entire county.
- Fall Color in the Eastern United States. Covers New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Appalachian states. Links include Fall Color Finder, for identifying tree names form leaf colors and shapes of Southern Appalachian tree species.
- Fall Foliage Map (Weather Channel). Select leaf times by region. Covers the United States.
- STORMFAX Guide to Fall Foliage. Each state listed with official state foliage links.
- Fall Color in California. Includes tips for photographing the colors.
Canada (especially Ontario)
- Fall Foliage Spots in Canada. Find the best fall foliage in Canada. Includes photos.
- Fall in Ontario. Find out when and where to go. View a search page for more.
- Ontario Parks: Fall Colour Report.
- Fall Foliage, Fall Colours or Autumn Colors? What is the difference between fall foliage and fall colours or colors? Semantics and "terms" between Americans and Canadians (e.g., colour vs color) and other phrases, such as “Leaf Peepers.”
- Autumn Is Show Time In Ontario's Provincial Parks. Autumn camping offers a great opportunity to experience the foliage up close.
Why Do the Leaves Change Color? the Science of Autumn
- Why Leaves Change Color (USDA Forest Service).
- Fall Color Science. Articles on tree types, folklore, and science of autumn.
- About.com: Fall Tree Colors and Photosynthesis Gateway site with links to resources on the changing colors of leaves and fall foliage, including web cams, hotlines, photography tips, and more
- Science of Color in Autumn Leaves (United States National Arboretum).
- Chemical of the Week: The Chemistry of Autumn Colors
- Chem-Is-Tree (J. Chem. Educ. 1997,Vol. 74, No. 10, p. 1175, also in paper: SEL Per QD1 .J93).
- Fall Color Report (Georgia Forestry Commission). Includes science pages and more. Reports are from previous year.
- Fall Color in South Carolina (South Carolina State Parks). Variety of articles on fall foliage science, reports, where to go.
- Why Leaves Change Color (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse).
- Plant Zone Map for North America (U.S. National Arboretum). Identify tree species in North America, by region or by state.
- Fall Foliage: Why Leaves Change Color (LiveScience).
- North America & Canadian Provinces Plant Zone Map (Virginia Tech). Interactive with "clickable" species.
Leaf and Tree Identification and More Leaf Science
- The Miracle of Fall a comprehensive gateway site from the University of Illinois Extension Service with links to national and state foliage sites, resources for teachers and students, web cams, photographs, leaf and tree identification, and much more.
- Complete Fall Color and Autumn Leaf Guide
- Fall Color Finder: Visual Reference Guide To Fall Colors.
- Guide to the identification of Vermont Foliage Leaves. Foliage refers to leaves collectively. Single leaves are individuals within this collection.
- Autumn Leaves: Projects and Puzzles for Kids. Includes:
- Why do leaves change color in Fall? Science made simple.
- Find the Hidden Colors of Autumn Leaves: a Chemistry Challenge (Scientific American: Science Buddies). Great do-it-yourself experiments.
- A Tree's True Color (EEK! Environmental Education for Kids). Great site; answers questions and leads to more.
- Fall Colours in the Classroom (Nature North Zine, Manitoba, Nature North). Projects to help you learn and enjoy Autumn.
How to Remember Autumn's Radiance (Photography, Preserving Leaves, etc.)
Autumn Photography and Art
- Best Fall Foliage and Autumn Color Web Cams.
- Forest Trees Autumn Colors Ontario Provincial Parks.
- Carl Heilman II Photography. Nature photographer specializing in the Adirondacks. Covers all seasons; the vibrance of Autumn is rendered well.
- NEW! Fall Foliage screensaver and wallpaper designs for FREE downloading.
- Essence of Autumn Ontario: The Canadian Nature Photographer. Beautiful photographs.
- Autumn Scenes From Years Past. Beautiful autumn photographs at the Boston Globe.
- How to Preserve a Fall Leaf (eHow.com). Provides a variety of preservation methods.
- Preserving Leaves (Weirs Beach Park, NH). More tips on ways to preserve leaves.
- Pressing Fall Leaves: How to Preserve the Beauty of Fall Foliage.
- Preserving Flowers and Leaves (Univ. of Md. Coop Extension). Document on best methods.
Video How To
- Preserving Leaves with Wax (YouTube).
The materials selected above do not necessarily reflect the opinions and practices of the State University of New York at Buffalo.