NEW JERSEY — Fall foliage is nearing peak brilliance in New Jersey. The 2023 Fall Foliage Prediction Map indicates leaves will peak during the weeks of Oct. 16 and Oct. 23.
The predictive map, from the travel site Smokymountains.com, uses a refined data model based on historical and forecast temperatures and precipitation, the types of trees prominent in specific geographic areas, and real-time user reports.
The map is easy to use. The slider at the bottom resets weekly to include the latest data. To see when leaves are expected to peak, move the slider to the right. Leaves haven’t started changing yet in green areas, and the brown color means foliage has passed its peak.
As with any meteorological forecast dependent upon weather variables, leaf predictions aren’t always 100 percent accurate, but the map does give New Jersey leaf-peepers a pretty good shot at seeing autumn leaves when they turn their most blazing reds, vibrant orange and sunny yellows.
Here are five New Jersey fall leaf-peeping road trips:
1. Delaware River Scenic Byway
Travel along the Delaware River from Trenton north to Frenchtown on one of New Jersey’s two National Scenic Byways, the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism suggests. On the way, take in the beautiful fall foliage as you pass historic sites, recreational areas and one of the largest flea markets on the East Coast.
2. Palisades Scenic Byway
While the New Jersey portion is only 13 miles long, park your car and take in some of the amazing views from The Palisades cliffs, according to New Jersey Digest. Boasting more than 30 miles of hiking trails and lookout spots, take in the fall foliage from the stunning vantage point of nearly 500 feet in the air.
3. Millstone Valley Scenic Byway
Looping the Millstone River from Kingston to Millstone borough, you’ll see another part of the Delaware and Raritan Canal system that crosses through the center of the state and is ideal for walking, biking, kayaking and birding, according to state tourism officials. Take detours to Colonial Park & Garden or Duke Farms to take in the fall foliage.
4. New Jersey Route 519
Spanning more than 88 miles from Delaware Township to the New York state line is New Jersey’s longest county road, New Jersey Digest suggests. A great choice for a casual cruise in the fall, you’ll pass through wooded areas and farmland that showcase nature at its finest. Get out and stretch your legs as you pass vineyards, farms, hot dog stands and more.
5. New Jersey Route 9
The Jersey Shore also offers spectacular views of the changing leaves, according to JerseysBest.com. Take Route 9 from Cape May and head north to Toms River. Along the way, enjoy more than 21,000 acres of Belleplain State Forest and Cape May County Park. Head north to check out the beautiful Allaire State Park.
What’s your favorite road trip for fall leaf-peeping in Pennsylvania? Share it in the comments.