Leaf peeping can be a great way to welcome fall if you live in an area with multiple seasons. According to a recent study by Current Directions in Psychological Science, leaf peeping is not only a fun autumn activity, but it also helps reduce stress, improve attention span, and boost cognitive flexibility.
How do you get started? John Seiler is a professor of forest biology at Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. He says, "Well, it's simple." Get in your car and head to the mountains. He says that a mountainous area is the best choice because the changes in elevation and soil types, as well as the changes in aspect (such the direction the slope faces, for example, north or south), result in a greater variety of tree species, and the foliage colors and 'peaknesses' of these tree species will vary. He says that while one species of tree may have reached its peak, another may just be starting.
Seiler suggests that you choose a small state route to get there. This can count as part of your leaf-peeping trip. If you are feeling particularly daring, Seiler also recommends an unpaved road.
Experts recommend the following gear to enjoy this short period of time between mid-September and early November.