2022 MD fall foliage peak map: when leaf colors are best to see

MARYLAND – Fall won’t officially begin until September 22 with the autumnal equinox and the leaves won’t change color significantly in Maryland – or most places – until later in the season, but the 2022 Fall Foliage Forecast Map is a great tool to start planning leaf viewing tours.

David Angotti, a statistics expert who lives in Tennessee, was in the property management business in 2013 when he created the first fall foliage prediction map for SmokyMountains.com to help visitors plan their vacations. when the autumn leaves are at their brightest.

No predictive tool is 100% accurate, but using the interactive map released on Tuesday can give you a pretty good idea of ​​seeing the fall leaves as they take on their most striking colors.

In Maryland, the week of October 24 bodes well for a fall leaf-viewing trip.

The Department of Natural Resources launched its fall foliage report this week. Sugar maples are just beginning to yellow and red maples are showing color in Garrett and Allegany counties in far western Maryland.

Little color change is reported elsewhere in the state.

Tens of millions of people use the map every year to plan vacations, weddings and photography trips, but the most common use is for people who want to check the sheets closer to home.

“What started as a fun side project quickly became the most respected national fall leaf map and one of the nation’s top fall resources,” Angotti said in a press release.

This year, data scientists will incorporate reports from map users to update the map in late September. The backbone of the map is weather – temperature, humidity, sunlight and precipitation – but it incorporates historical and forecast data, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration precipitation forecasts, elevation, temperatures actuals, temperature forecasts and average daylight exposure to develop each county’s fall baseline. Date.

New cards are created every year.

For the second year, the map’s creators have included the best places to see fall leaves in Maryland to help you plan leaf-viewing trips. Among them:

  • Patapsco Valley State Park spans 32 miles along the Patapsco River in Baltimore and Howard counties and offers some of Maryland’s best fall scenery
  • Elk Neck State Park located on a peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and the Elk River combines colorful forests with sandy beaches for magnificent views.
  • Oregon Ridge Park near Cockeysville, there are hiking trails that feature a tree-lined landscape of yellow, orange, and red.
  • Other neighborhoods to visit near the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area: Gwynnbrook Wildlife Management Area in Owings Mills, Baltimore County; Sugar Loaf Mountain Natural Resource Area in southern Frederick County; Seneca Creek State Park just southwest of Gaithersburg; and the Dierssen Wildlife Management Area located between the C&O Canal and the Potomac River in Montgomery County, providing prime opportunities for waterfowl viewing and quiet interludes for walkers along the path of canal tow.

Once Angotti created the map for visitors to the Smokies, they then wanted to know the peak leaf viewing times in other parts of Tennessee. He therefore decided to collect data for the whole country.

Map courtesy of SmokyMountains.com


To use the map, simply swipe the scale to the right to see when the leaves will peak in your state. Focus on your county and you can decide if it’s best to plan a north, south, east or west route.

Green shaded areas have not started to change color. As the season progresses, the map shows a progression of colors. When the areas are shaded brown, the leaves are past their peak.

It’s not just shorter days, longer nights and falling temperatures that signal to trees that it’s time to prepare for winter. The predictive map uses a complex algorithm that analyzes several million data points and generates approximately 50,000 predictive data.

This allows for a county-by-county forecast of the exact day the peak is expected to occur. This year, the formula will receive a mid-season update at the end of September that will pull the latest data to increase the accuracy and usefulness of the tool.

What are the causes of the different colors

You probably remember from science class that color change starts with photosynthesis. Leaves constantly produce chlorophyll – a key component of a plant’s ability to turn sunlight into the glucose it needs to thrive – from spring to early fall. These cells saturate the leaves, making them appear green to the human eye.

But the leaves are not green at all. Autumn is the time for the great revelation of leaves: their true color, unveiled as chlorophyll production stops. The breathtaking tapestry colors of fall are influenced by other compounds, according to the national park’s website.

Beta-carotene, the same pigment that turns carrots orange, reflects yellow and red sunlight and gives the leaves an orange hue.

Production of anthocyanin, which gives leaves their bright red color, increases in the fall, protecting and extending leaf life on a tree throughout the fall.

And those yellows that give the impression of walking in a ray of sunshine?

They are produced by flavonol, which is part of the flavonoid protein family. It is still present in the leaves but only shows up when chlorophyll production starts to slow down.

Carol N. Valencia