How to Find Good Locations For Fall Color

Photo by Dick Rochester / Used under the CC-Attr license

Photo by Dick Rochester / Used under the CC-Attr license

Now that we’re almost in the middle of October, many of the trees in the US are bursting with color as their leaves fall off for the winter. Unfortunately, those colors don’t last long and sometimes they’re better in one area than they are in another, so it’s important to choose your locations carefully.

Luckily, there’s a great tool that can help you track seasonal changes like fall color: Flickr. Although it’s known for being a great website for sharing your photos, it can also be a great scouting tool. Here’s how:

If you go to the advanced search page, you’ll be able to search with words AND dates. So for example, you can search for photos that are tagged with “leaves wisconsin” AND were shot after October 3rd, 2011.

This is tremendously useful because it allows you to visually see what the colors are like at a certain location, and that can help you decide if it’s worth a visit or not. Of course, not everyone tags their photos with the location’s name, but you can usually find a good daily supply of photos from any semi-popular nature preserve. Or, you can also try searching by county or city.

Flickr is great for tracking other seasonal changes too. I use it very often in the spring to help me decide where to go for wildflowers, and I’ve also used it to track the flow of waterfalls that are fed primarily by snow melt.

How do YOU find good locations for seasonal changes?

If you’ve found another way to track seasonal changes like fall color or spring wildflowers, please tell us about it by leaving a comment below!

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steveb2About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.


  1. I have put together collections of websites and resources for finding fall foliage and wildflowers in California and other areas of the country. Here are the links:
    Fall Foliage

  2. Wow, great tip! I was wondering when the best time to go do the fall color – thanks!

  3. A.C. Merritt says:

    My many photographer Facebook friends are great at keeping up with the color in their areas. When they post a photo I get a first-hand report on how things look that day.

  4. Dick Rabun says:

    Great info. I have needed something like this for years.

  5. This web site put out by the State Of Maine is very good at keeping track of the fall colors. The game wardens around the state update it every Wednesday. Its at

  6. For fall colors, I look for “pumpkin patches”. Our trees don’t really change in Texas, so we have to find other options. Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes and colors, and the good ones will add props, such as bails of hay, scarecrows, sunflowers, etc.
    Many organizations also have “Fall Festivals” and have created fall colors.
    When out in nature, I use my camera’s Picture Styles to increase reds/oranges in any subtle leaf coloration to get more color from my shots.

  7. What a brilliant tip! (I never would have thought of using other people’s photos in this way).
    When Spring started over here in Melbourne, I referred back to the photos I shot last year with my little Canon point & shoot camera in the Botanic Gardens (to indicate my choice of afternoon walk). Except that this year, the gardeners did an enormous ‘clear-out’ & replanted an enormous amount of new seedlings as well as re-landscaping enormous swathes of the garden beds.

    I seem to have missed out on many photo opportunaties with my new, & very first DSLR.

    Never mind, there’s always next year. That’s the most wonderful part about Nature and Wildlife – they keep coming back year after year.
    When Nature doesn’t resume it’s seasonal ‘march’, I predict there will be great sorrow and regret at man’s past interference in the balance of his natural surroundings.

  8. Great tip Steve! That is exactly what I do to check conditions for just about anywhere I’m looking to photograph.

  9. A great tip I will have to keep in my back pocket!

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