New Jersey Fall Foliage

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NJ Fall Foliage

New Jersey Fall Foliage Reports, maps and resources to help plan fall foliage hikes and scenic drives.

Check out the New Jersey and the Northeast Foliage Resources below.

For our fall hike recommendations see Best Fall Foliage Hikes in New Jersey.

Need even more hike ideas? Try our Hike Finder map. Also check out the book Best Easy Day Hikes New Jersey for a nice selection of easy day hikes.

Peak Foliage in NJ for 2021

*Average New Jersey peak fall color is October 19 through 29*

While there are average times for color change, it really depends on several variables like temperature and rainfall.

Trees at higher elevations turn color before ones at lower elevations. Leaves change first along water so head to areas with lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Leaves usually change color starting from Maine and higher elevations of New England and then work their way south.

New Jersey fall foliage generally starts in the northwest corner at High Point and in the Highlands region in north central, progresses to the central part of the state, and finally to the south and the coastal regions.

This means that leaves could be past peak in North Jersey but still barely changed in South Jersey.

Use the info here to get in as much color as you can, it doesn’t last long!


NJ Fall Foliage 2021

*Reports are in reverse order with foliage resources below them*

10/15/21…

This weekend and into next week Color can be found across New Jersey with the most in the northern third of the state, especially north west and north central. High Point / Stokes is likely near peak. 

High color found also along the northwest edge of NJ around Mohican Outdoor Center (Appalachian Trail – Catfish Tower). Overall expect the usual Jersey foliage mix of green with color (a little muted right now) with some trees that have dropped leaves.

Potentials for color (we make no guarantees!):

Check out: “Fall foliage ‘could be a banner year’ in South Jersey”.

Further out… New York: The Adirondacks region in NY is a mix: Whiteface Mountain is peak, Lake George is near peak, while some areas are moving past (Lake Placid, Saranac Lake).

Most areas of the Catskills are at peak, with some still at midpoint. Hudson Valley/Hudson Highlands/Bear Mtn. area is mostly low color with a lot of green on the mountainsides though some areas are approaching midpoint.

Pennsylvania: Northern Poconos are at peak with color, central is at 50% (portion that borders New Jersey, from Rt 80 north).

Even Further out… Central Maine is seeing peak with high color on the coast; north is past. Northern New Hampshire is at peak with high color elsewhere. Most of Vermont is at peak. Great Smoky Mountains color should kick up next week after a cold front moves in this weekend.


10/11/21…

Currently… Lots of yellow tones with brighter colors appearing at the edge of water and on lower vegetation. More color can be experienced on a trail; viewpoints are still looking over a decent amount of green. The change is lagging a little as temperatures need to get chillier (but not freezing) at night.

Central Jersey is seeing more color change now, but still look to the northern third of New Jersey for the most amount of color: High Point S.P.Stokes S.F.Kittatinny Valley S.P.Wawayanda S.P, Terrace Pond, Ramapo Mountains, Pyramid Mountain.

Fall foliage at Glasmere Pond

10/9/21 – Ringwood S.P. Skylands Manor – Ilgenstein Rock/Erskine Lookout – Passaic County
The viewpoints overlooked mostly green trees but lots of nice color happening ON the trail. High color around Glasmere Pond.

Ilgenstein Rock viewpoint

Color change on the trails at about 40%, lots of yellow and some reds. A good amount of leaf drop covering the trails with color.

Yellow fall foliage on a group of trees

Bonus: Also check out the beautiful New Jersey Botanical Gardens at Skylands Manor, same parking lot as this hike.

Row of colorful mums

10/8/21…

This weekend and into next week… More color change is spreading across the state with the most found in the north west and north central part of the state. The leaves need chilly nights to show their colors, and recent warm temperatures are slowing the change a bit. Look to the edges of lakes or swampy areas for the most color.

Best bets for fall color in New Jersey would be the northwest to north central part of the state: High Point S.P.Stokes S.F.Kittatinny Valley S.P.Wawayanda S.P, Terrace Pond, Ramapo Mountains, Pyramid Mountain.

A bit of a road trip is required to see full peak fall color right now:

Further out… New York: Peak color at Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Lake Placid in the Adirondacks region in NY, with near peak at many upper elevations. Southern portions of ADK such as Lake George are only at 25%.

Catskills region is seeing near peak and peak at upper elevations. Hudson Valley/Hudson Highlands/Bear Mtn. area is low color, around 25%.

Pennsylvania: Northern Poconos are at 50-75% with 30-40% color elsewhere on the eastern portion nearest to New Jersey.

Even Further out… Northern and western Maine is seeing peak color at 50-70% while the rest of the state has moderate change. Higher elevations in north and central Vermont are near peak or peak (Smugglers Notch; Route 100). Northern New Hampshire is peak, while the White Mountains are near peak.


10/3/21…

Currently… Color is appearing across the state. Mostly yellow tones spreading across green trees with brighter color popping up here and there. Areas near water and lower vegetation have more color. Still plenty of green trees.

As usual this early in the season, the largest amount of color change will be found across the northwestern portion of the state, generally Sussex County into Passaic. While New Jersey is a ways away from “peak” there is plenty of fall color to enjoy right now and then all the way into early November.

Potential higher color spots to explore this week: High Point S.P. , Stokes S.F., Kittatinny Valley, Wawayanda S.P.

10/2/21 – Great Valley Rail Trail Loop, Paulinskill Valley, Sussex BranchSussex County:
Encountered even more color than expected! There was a nice yellow glow on many trees and some reds popping up on lower shrubs and near water.

Yellow foliage arching over the Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail
Fall foliage reflected in the Paulins Skill stream

10/1/21…

This weekend and into next week… The season is getting underway. Expect low color appearing across the state, a blush of yellow on many leaves and some muted tones, with pops of color here and there but still a lot of green.

Best bets for early fall color in New Jersey would be the northwest to north part of the state such High Point S.P. (Sawmill and the park road, and swampy areas), Stokes S.F., Kittatinny Valley [possibly Wawayanda S.P.- there’s a race being held Oct 2-3; may want to avoid].

Jersey should be sunny with nice temps this weekend – take advantage of it! Check out “Fall foliage could be ‘best in years’ in many areas of N.J. and Pa., expert says“.

A road trip is required to see a higher amount color change – such as the Adirondacks in NY, Vermont, Maine:

Further out… New York: Best bet for color now is the Adirondacks region in NY with peak color at Lake Placid and Tupper Lake (“Tupper Lake Triad” – Mount Arab, Goodman Mountain, and Coney Mountain – “relatively easy climbs with incredible foliage vistas”). 

Catskills region is showing 50% at higher elevations with a 15-30% change elsewhere. Hudson Valley/Hudson Highlands/Bear Mtn. area is just changing and around 10-15%.

Pennsylvania: Northern Poconos are at 25-40% with low color on elsewhere on the eastern portion nearest to New Jersey.

Even Further out… Northern Maine is seeing high color at 50-70% while south remains low. Northern parts of Vermont and New Hampshire have more color than southern areas.


9/28/21…

The season is just starting. There are yellow tones appearing on green leaves and reds on early turning maples across New Jersey – but most of the trees in the state remain green.

Overall outlook for NJ Foliage 2021: Color change timing looks to be on average right now, with NJ seeing peak color from October 19 to 29th.

Trees are heading into Fall not stressed from drought like in 2020 (which leads to early leaf drop), but northern and central NJ received so much extra rain that it could lead to slightly muted colors in those areas. Conditions in southern New Jersey could lead to a more vibrant color than usual.

And if you spot groups of brown leaves at the of ends of branches this is caused by 17-year periodical cicadas (“Brood X” in 2021). This “flagging” is only cosmetic and will not harm a mature tree.


Resources for tracking fall color in and near New Jersey

Sites that contain forecasts or foliage maps for NJ and the surrounding region such as the Adirondacks or the Catskills in New York or the Poconos in Pennsylvania.

New Jersey Div. of Parks and ForestryFacebook updates for NJ during the season
NJ Parks and ForestryMap showing usual times for change across NJ.
New York State Fall FoliageFoliage report and map
PA – Pocono Mountains
Foliage maps and reports for the Poconos, plus webcams.
PA – DCNR Fall Foliage ReportsWeekly Fall Foliage Map and Reports.
PA – Fall in PennsylvaniaDriving tours and average peak times.

Resources for tracking fall color in the Northeast

These can be used to help plan trips to the New England region that change well before New Jersey, such as Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Savvy planners can hit foliage in several spots as it works it’s way down.

MaineFoliage.comWeekly report and map.
Vermont.comCurrent conditions map.
VisitNH.comFoliage reports.
ctvisit.comConnecticut’s Foliage Finder
Fall Foliage Prediction MapInteractive U.S. map, slide date for color prediction. **Note** This popular map is often used in news articles but tends to predict the color moving along much earlier than reality for New Jersey.
The Weather ChannelRegional color report maps
New England TodayNortheast usual color map

General info about fall foliage in New Jersey

The best fall foliage displays start with healthy green trees. Then September needs warm sunny days and cold but not freezing nights.

If it remains too warm it can delay the change and dull the colors. A cloudy fall also can mute the colors.

Rainfall is also a big factor. Too much before the season is bad for color, while drought conditions can bring on an early change and leaf drop.

Overall it can be very hard to predict the quality of fall foliage every year because it’s a delicate balance between many variables.

Colorful Fall Species ChartIdentify the yellows, reds, and oranges of Autumn in NJ.
Touring New Jersey’s Fall FoliageSuggested routes to explore NJ in the fall.
Previous years foliage report archiveSee how the color usually progresses through various hiking areas in New Jersey. Archive of njHiking.com reports.