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Watch the Leaves Change Color

If you’re planning a long trip—or even a short local trip—to see fall colors, check out the U.S. Forest Service’s Fall Colors 2012.

You can view webcams that show scenic views in a few states; call the hotline to get predictions about fall colors; get ideas about activities for kids; learn about the science behind fall colors; and more.

Why Do Leaves Change Colors in the Fall?

Image description: Leaves change color along a bike path in White Mountain National Forest in Maine.

The colors of leaves change every year, and according to the U.S. Forest Service, the biggest factor that affects the change is the increasing length of night time. Biochemical processes change in leaves as the days get shorter, which eventually causes the leaves to change their colors into the autumn shades we recognize.

Temperature, rainfall and food supply can all affect color change too. Multiple warm, sunny days with cool, crisp evenings produce some of the most vivid colors.

Because temperatures drop so severely in the winter, trees’ leaves must be tough enough to withstand the cold or the trees must dispose of their leaves.

You can see autumn colors throughout the United States. New England is especially known for their spectacular changing colors in the mountains and countryside.

Learn more about why leaves change color and find out where you can see some of the most vivid leaves.