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Fall Foliage in New England: What to Expect in 2023

It has been a rainy summer in New England, characterized by flash flooding in Vermont and the second-wettest July on record in Boston.

What does that mean for the region’s famous fall foliage displays?

In 2022, scientists worried that a drought would result in a brief, less vibrant season of autumn colors. So can we conclude that the wet and muggy conditions of summer 2023 will lead to the opposite—i.e., a fall full of vivid hues?

Sorry, but probably not, say weather and forest experts. 

“Moisture-stressed” trees tend to produce less brightly colorful leaves in autumn, in part due to increased fungal growth, Nicole Keleher of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation told Boston public radio station WBUR

The well-regarded annual foliage forecast from Yankee magazine offers a similar prediction, though the New England publication’s longtime foliage expert, Jim Salge, takes a (literally) rosy view of things, anticipating “leaves that are more pastel than flaming red, but no less beautiful.”

What’s more, fall foliage season could be a lengthy one this year. Due to a combo of 2023’s weather and lingering effects from 2022’s drought, Salge, a former meteorologist at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory, expects fall colors to develop early and last longer than usual. 

He thinks peak color will likely arrive on time or slightly later than historical averages.

So prime time for leaf-peeping will probably be in early October, with much of New England “at or near peak fall color by October 11,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac

Says Salge, “The best 2023 New England fall foliage areas are likely to be northern Maine as well as Down East and toward Acadia, and southern New England could have a good year as well.”

At, Salge provides predictions for other leafy parts of the U.S. as well.

The Mid-Atlantic should get a “long, late, and somewhat muted season” because of weather conditions similar to those in New England, the forecaster says, while the Southeast can expect a “bright and timely season,” thanks to warm and wet conditions. 

Trees should put on a bright show in the Upper Midwest, per Salge, particularly if a cold front moves through early. Farther west, displays are likely to be bright but short-lived, following an exceedingly atypical year for weather in that region. 

Finally, colors could be slow to develop in the Pacific Northwest because of warm and dry conditions. But the leaves should be especially bright when they do change. 

To read Salge’s full forecast and stay up-to-date on all things leaf-related this fall, go to