Fall is just around the corner and along with the pumpkin spice everything comes something truly magical, fall foliage! There’s nothing quite like the fiery autumn colors as the leaves change and, the joy of watching your kids faces as they leap into a heaping pile of them. If you’re planning a special trip to see the spectacular site, you’re definitely going to want to check out this interactive map for the optimal place and time.

courtesy of SmokyMountains.com

SmokyMountains.com has created this fall foliage map, using data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to predict the peak of the leaf season across the country to help you plan the perfect road trip. The data is based on years of information on the peak season and the forecast ahead. Data scientist and map creator, Wes Melton, explained, “The SmokyMountains.com data model continues to improve and become more accurate each year. This is due to our expanding historical database and our ability to analyze past predictions versus historical trends. Our aggregated historical and current database now includes hundreds of thousands of unique data points giving us the ability to predict more accurately than ever before.”

Melton says that this year is on trend for warmer temperatures, an early peak fall and a longer period of color. “Due to the heavier precipitation throughout the summer months, this year’s leaf model is predicting an earlier-than-typical peak fall. However, the NOAA 90-day future precipitation and temperature graphs point to a prolonged color period for much of the country with higher elevations peaking first.”

Check out the interactive map here and use the sliding bar at the bottom to see what changes you can expect across the country from now until the end of October. The site also features scientific explanations of why leaves change color and free coloring pages you can download, as well as local lodging, restaurant and attraction listings.

Are you planning a special trip to check out fall foliage? Share your favorite spots in the comments below.