It's that time of year again, when the verdant hills of upstate New York, New England, and beyond shimmer in hues of vibrant reds and golds, when walking down the sidewalk means tromping on the fallen leaves of countless trees, which burst underfoot with the sound of, well, potato chips, really, and when denizens of these colorful towns grumble in the wake of these autumn-chasing hordes. It's leaf-peeping season, people. And to help you make the most of it (let the locals grumble), we've assembled some technology which should make it easier for you to find, identify, and share the leaves this season.
Foliage Leaf Peepr
To help make the most of your time, try using the Foliage Leaf Peepr app by Yankee Publishing, Inc. (free on iPhone and Android). While not perfect (some users have reported buggy operating) this app does offer a useful color-coded map which shows you where in the country the leaves are turning and at what stage they're in (Turning, Moderate, Peak, Fading, etc.) The information is crowd-sourced, so once you get to your leaves, you can update the map yourself, snapping photos, adding notes, etc. Power to the peepers!
Oh, Ranger! Parkfinder
If national and state parks are your bag, a number of apps are available to help you navigate the great outdoors. Some state and national parks have their own apps (take a gander at their government websites), but if you're looking for something more general, try Oh, Ranger! Parkfinder (free on iPhone and Android), which lets you search for parks near you with parameters around activities available (they've got some top peeping destinations listed, but if you're interested in taking a hike while you peep, this is tops for helping you identify things like parks with trail systems). Once you've found a park, peruse the extensive information included; the app will even direct you to activities in the area and lets you upload your own photos and reviews. A new feature allows you to find local parks as well.
Once you've found the leaves, it would help to know what you're looking at, right? Well for the crème de la crème of peeping apps, take a look at the Audubon Trees—A Field Guide to North American Trees app ($4.99 on iPhone, iPad, and Android). This immense digital tome lets you browse and identify trees and leaves by shape, family, and name, and comes with what might be the geekiest thing I've ever written – a whopper of an advanced search option. Once you've identified the shape, drill down to find your leaf, then read all about it, share your finding on Facebook, and even report your sighting in the app. If you need more, check out its reference section, "All About Trees," which is...exactly what it says it is. A journal function allows you track your found leaves, for example, those you found from that "Bastard White Oak (Quercus austrina)." Yes, apparently there's a white oak out there somewhere, and it's a real jerk.
Want to know which leaves we'll be peeping this fall? Check out our list of great fall foliage trips across the country.
Want to know what other apps we're downloading? We're excited about the new Apple PassBook app, we love these apps that force (er, help) us to have a healthier layover, and we're getting snap-happy with these great photography apps.
Photo credits: Screenshots courtesy of Oh, Ranger Parkfinder and Foliage Leaf Peepr; Blue Ridge Mountains via Shutterstock