Watch CBS News

When is foliage season starting in New England? Maps and forecast for fall leaf peepers

Vermont town closing roads near farm after influx of social media leaf peepers
Vermont town closing roads near farm after influx of social media leaf peepers 00:39

When you think of September in New England, what comes to mind? For me it is deep, blue sky, comfy days, cool nights and everything pumpkin. It is also the best time of year (outside of ski season) to head north and see the bursting colors of fall foliage that make New England famous.

Thus far, September 2023 has featured exactly none of the above, outside of the pumpkin beverages.

It has been warm or, in some cases, hot. It has been muggy. And of course, it has been wet. Rain has fallen on seven of the last 10 days in Boston. And when it rains, it pours.

Where is the fall foliage?

All this unusual weather has had a major impact on the foliage season. As of now, there is no season.

Drive north and you will find green, green and more green.

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

You literally can drive all the way to the Canadian border and only run into a few, isolated splashes of yellow in the northernmost areas.

This is 1-2 weeks behind average. Typically by this date, the foliage season is well underway up north, even nearing peak color in the higher elevations.

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

When will fall foliage arrive in New Hampshire, Massachusetts?

So, will this season be a dud? Not so fast.

This weather over the next several days is just what the leaf doctor ordered. Sunny, mild days and cool, crisp nights. The season is going to get a jump-start in the next 3-5 days. By this weekend we should see lots of fresh color in the higher peaks of the Greens and Whites and even some spotty color locally in the swamps and bogs.

This was our foliage forecast back in early September and I think there is still a chance it holds.

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

A lot is riding on the weather over the next few weeks. If we can keep the "typical" fall weather going, then I think we could still be in for a very nice season, albeit a bit delayed.

More fall foliage delays for New England?

If we fall back into the same old pattern we have been in since June. . . warm, muggy and wet - then all bets are off. We will get a hint of what's to come as early as this weekend. Currently the forecast is a bit iffy. We are watching a disturbance off the southeast coastline for possible tropical development. Whether it becomes something tropical or not, there will be a bunch of rain trying to push northward this weekend up the East Coast. Some models are portraying a miserably wet 2-3 day stretch while other keep high pressure in control over New England.

Another muggy and wet stretch would likely mean more foliage delays and less chances of having a fairly "regular" season.

In the meantime, if you are headed north, we would love to hear from you! Send us your observations and pics, now and throughout the rest of the season!

You can email our team at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.