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Fall foliage map 2023: When will Virginia's fall leaves peak?

The first official day of fall is Sept. 23, but the fall foliage will come at different times across Virginia because of the varying landscapes. Here's when.
Credit: Tomasz Zajda - stock.adobe.com

NORFOLK, Va. — The outside temperatures have been hot, but make no mistake: the end of summer is near and the leaves will soon start to change colors.

The first official day of fall is Saturday, Sept. 23, but the fall foliage will come at different times across Virginia because of the varying landscapes, from the higher-elevation Blue Ridge Mountains to the near-sea-level parts of Hampton Roads.

If you're ready to see the leaves, smokymountains.com is ready to help with its 2023 Fall Foliage Prediction Map, which was created to help people plan trips around peak colors.

According to the map, the Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia and parts of northern Virginia will start to see minimal leaf changes on the week of Sept. 18, which will become patchy the following week.

By the week of Oct. 2, all of Virginia is predicted to see some sort of color change, with the most significant being in the mountains. In that region, the leaves will be peaking or near peak during the week of Oct. 16.

Generally speaking, the further east in Virginia you go, the later the color change will take place. In Hampton Roads, the fall foliage won't peak until the week of Oct. 30. By the week of Nov. 6, all of Virginia's fall foliage is predicted to be past peak.

According to smokymountains.com, the map uses a data model utilizing several factors, including historical temperature and precipitation, forecast temperature and precipitation, the type of trees prominent in a geographic region, historical trends and user data. Because leaf predictions aren't 100% accurate, the website invites people to submit real-time photos.

Where to see fall foliage in Virginia

Virginia is home to 22 units of the National Park Service (NPS), including the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Shenandoah National Park, and the Colonial Parkway. Tap or click here to find the nearest NPS unit to you.

There are also 41 state parks that offer a wide variety of scenery, from the mountains to the coastal areas. Tap or click here to find a Virginia state park near you.

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