There’s perhaps nothing more magical than watching in awe as the leaves start changing colors each fall. As they move from green to yellow to orange to red, the brilliant array of hues seem to dance in the sunlight and take on a whole life of their own.
Foliage starts to change in mid-August and goes strong through November when the leaves swirl off the branches. All across the nation, October tends to serve as peak season, although you have at least three long months to soak in the breathtaking views all around.
Ready to find all the best views of fall foliage? Just use this guide on the top places to see the leaves change in all 50 states to start planning your journey:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Talladega Scenic Drive
The Talladega Scenic Drive takes you on a 20-mile journey from the Shoal Creek Ranger Station to the Pinhoti Trail. As you travel down the beautiful roadway, you’ll get to soak in all the views of maple, hickory, and poplar trees as they change color.
Midway, as you cruise up Cheaha Mountain to over 2,400 feet, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful fall colors all around. If you want to further immerse yourself in all the beauty, you can pull off at the many trails along the route for hiking, fishing, or just to take photos of your journey.
De Soto State Park
With its location right on Lookout Mountain, De Soto State Park provides beautiful views of fall foliage as you hike anywhere on its 30 miles of trails. De Soto Falls right off the main parking area is a must as well, as it offers a picturesque view of its 107-foot waterfall framed by colorful trees.
On each trip down the trails, you can see the trees move from vivid yellows to reds against a backdrop of all the autumn wildflowers. Amongst the dogwoods, maples, and poplar trees, you can find mountain laurel, trout lily, wild azalea, Catesby’s trillium, galax, dwarf iris, and so much more.
Bankhead National Forest
For even more waterfall views, take a stroll through the Bankhead National Forest. Well-known as the land of a thousand waterfalls, this forest has more than 90 miles of trails where you can hike and bike through the fall colors.
You’re even welcome to go on a magical ride through Owl Creek Trail System on horseback. On that trail, you’ll get to see hardwood trees change color against a backdrop of wildflowers, waterfalls, and sandstone cliffs. If you’d like to kick back and stay awhile, settle in at one of the many RV and tent campsites, including the popular Brushy Lake Recreation Area.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
Although rocky outcroppings and evergreen trees dominate much of Alaska, the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve gives you a glimpse at all your favorite fall colors. The gorgeous tundra lights up in bright purples, reds, and oranges as the low-lying plants change with the seasons.
For the best views, you’ll want to venture over to the Serpentine Hot Springs to see the gorgeous hues reflected off the pools. As you travel through the park to the springs, watch for the equally impressive granite intrusions standing tall against the sky. Their dark gray tones and rugged structure pair perfectly with the vivid foliage at their base.
With a long, leisurely float down the Kenai River, the lush autumn hues will set the tone for an incredible trip. As you float along, you’ll get to take in the views of bright yellow cottonwood and birch trees paired with stunning evergreens. As its leaves turn deep red, the fireweed along the base of the trees completes the picture, giving you the view of a lifetime.
You’ll definitely want to capture photo after photo of the scene as it’s reflected in the water by the riverbanks. Just be sure to put your camera or phone in a waterproof pouch before hopping on your raft.
Denali National Park and Preserve
With the mountain range serving as a backdrop for the open tundra, Denali National Park and Preserve offers picturesque views to remember. As the many leaves change color, the hills turn gold while remaining dotted by dark evergreen trees standing tall across the landscape. The dark red and gray mountains beyond perfect the view as they kiss the oft-blue skies at their peaks.
Although the blue skies are a wonder all their own, you’ll want to plan your trip for a drizzly day. The chance of rainbows is rather high when the rain comes down, taking your colorful journey to the next level in an instant.
Located in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Mount Lemmon offers plenty of chances for fun and adventure whether you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, or camping. All through the fall months, the aspens and maples put on a glorious show with their bright yellow and red tones.
While gazing upon the many trees, you’ll get to see the majestic HooDoo rocks, resulting from millions of years of erosion. Along the ground, the many Saguaro cacti and the last of the wildflowers complete the picturesque views. To take your fall experience to the next level, be sure to stop at the general store in Summerhaven for a taste of their amazing fudge.
While it’s best known for its awe-inspiring geological formations, the Grand Canyon definitely doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fall colors as well. You’ll want to go to the North Rim to spot the brilliant foliage set against the red-banded walls of the canyon.
From there, you’ll get to gaze in wonder at all the oaks, aspens, and birch trees as their leaves change from bright green to deep red. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to capture a huge herd of bison roaming across the vivid landscape in your photos. Bring a chair and plan to stay for sunset to experience the landscape in a whole new way.
Before the ski season arrives, the Arizona Snowbowl proudly serves as the place to go for a fall color spectacular. You can enjoy the changing landscape on foot, by car, or both if you want to see it all. Whatever you decide, grab a ride on the chair lift for a breathtaking overhead view.
During your visit, you’re bound to enjoy all the colorful aspen groves as they sit nestled amongst the towering ponderosa pines. The view gets even more magical as the leaves reach the end of their color-changing journey and start to flutter to the ground, so visit early and often to see it all.
Devil’s Den State Park
With its amazing cliffs, caverns, and waterfalls, Devil’s Den State Park serves as an excellent place to enjoy autumn beauty. Even the historic cabins look incredible framed by all the yellow, orange, and red trees covering the landscape.
The trails through the park are perfect for mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Many people find this park is best enjoyed while tent camping or staying in the cabins through the weekend or longer. Whether you visit for a few hours or spend days in the park, you’ll want to hit up Chinnabee Silent Trail to swim in the falls while enjoying the view.
Talimena National Scenic Byway
As reflected by its name, the Talimena National Scenic Byway stretches from Mena, Arkansas all the way to Talihina, Oklahoma. On this winding road, you’ll get to cruise through the Ouachita National Forest along Winding Stair Mountain and Rich Mountain.
All along the way, you’ll see maple, blackgum, sweetgum and dogwood trees change from green to red, lighting up the forest in a rainbow of color. Closer to the ground, you’ll find the dwarf burning bush turning its iconic blazing red tones, while the sweet olive trees offset it all with their deep green hues. For a wide-open view of it all, stop at the many overlooks, including Rich Mountain Tower.
Mount Magazine State Park
When you want to view the fall colors for as far as the eye can see, you cannot go wrong with a trip over to Mount Magazine State Park. The peak of Mount Magazine hits 2,753 feet above sea level, giving you stunning views of all the autumn beauties located across the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.
You can view all the beautiful landscapes by hiking through the 14 miles of trails or go at a faster clip on horseback, an ATV, or mountain bike. You’re even welcome to drive up the mountain and take in the views from the seven parking areas in the loop on Cameron Bluff Overlook Drive.
When you want to bask in all the fall colors across the Mendocino National Forest, Letts Lake is the place to land. The campground sits at the southern end of the lake, putting you just a mile walk from the waterside.
Although you can sit on the fishing pier and take in the views while trying to get the trout to bite, the trees are most beautiful when enjoyed on the water. You can take any non-motorized boat out to see all the big leaf maples and black oaks change from green to yellow while the conifers stay a vivid dark green.
Yosemite National Park
With its huge evergreen trees at every corner of the landscape, Yosemite National Park doesn’t get a lot of attention in the autumn. Despite that, it’s definitely a great place to go if you like to see Pacific dogwoods, black oaks, and big leaf maples in all their glory. As they change from green to brilliant yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds, the forest turns into a vivid rainbow that’ll definitely delight your senses.
The best places in the park to view all the autumn tones include Wawona, Tuolumne, and Glacier Point. Don’t miss the opportunity to head into the valley either to see the sugar maples turn a deep red and beautifully frame the Yosemite Chapel.
With its many apple orchards at every corner and golden black oak trees all around, Julian is the quintessential fall destination. You can start your journey into their annual autumn experience by picking apples, visiting local restaurants for apple pie galore, and simply strolling through the historic downtown area.
To see the fall colors in action, you’ll want to get on over to the William Heise County Park where the black oaks stand tall. Their leaves change slowly, filling the landscape with a mix of deep greens and golden yellows. The pines and cedars remain vivid green year-round, keeping the park awash in color even as the rest of the oak leaves fall to the ground.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
At Golden Gate Canyon State Park, you can view all the best fall colors while having a picnic, walking the trails, or staying in the tent campgrounds, cabins, or yurts. All throughout the park, you’ll find stunning golden aspens surrounded by vivid evergreens. Much of the nearby shrubbery turns bright red as the fall goes on, creating a kaleidoscope of colors wherever you look.
If you’d like panoramic views of the autumn scenery, head up through the aspen groves along the Racoon Trail to Panorama Point. From there, you can view Indian Peaks as it sits framed by the many trees and shrubs growing across the foothills.
San Juan National Forest
When nothing else will do but a long, leisurely trek through your favorite fall colors, jet out to San Juan National Forest to wander along the Hermosa Creek Trail. At 18.4 miles long, this trail takes you on a meandering journey through the oak- and aspen-rich forest. With pine trees in between, the land lights up in green, yellow, and orange tones from the beginning of the season until the leaves start to fall.
When you want to enjoy equally amazing views on a much shorter hike, consider going down Spud Lake Trail to Potato Lake. Or you can take a quick walk down the Piedra Falls Trail to see a beautiful waterfall surrounded by colorful foliage.
White River National Forest
With stunning 2,500 miles of trails, the White River National Forest offers seemingly endless spots to gaze upon gorgeous fall colors. The day hike trails range from 1 to 20 miles, while the backpacking routes leave you immersed in the beauty of the landscape for days at a time.
With so much ground to cover, it just makes sense to take advantage of their horse camping areas found in the Blanco and Dillon Ranger districts. No matter where you end up, you’ll get to see golden foliage and evergreen trees around the foothills of the ten 14ers, including Grays Peak, Maroon Peak, and Mount of the Holy Cross.
Haystack Mountain State Park
For a 360 view of the fall colors in Connecticut and its surrounding states, you simply have to visit Haystack Mountain State Park. To get there, you’ll just need to take the scenic mountain road to the trailhead, and then walk a ½ mile to the historic stone tower. At the top of the tower, you’ll get to see all the gorgeous fall foliage that goes on for miles in every direction.
If you’d like a bit of a longer walk to the tower view, take the Haystack Tower Yellow Loop instead. On this 1.8-mile trail, you’ll get to soak in the sights of brilliant red maples that look incredible against the backdrop of deep green pine trees.
Talcott Mountain State Park
At Talcott Mountain State Park, you can visit the historic 165-foot Heublein Tower and take in the panoramic views from its observation room. With windows at every corner of the room, you can get a 360-degree view of the vivid hardwood trees in their autumn splendor. If you can break your gaze away from the landscape, check out the observation room itself, which once served as the ballroom.
Once you’ve got your fill of the scenic views, head over to the picnic area to enjoy your lunch in the crisp mountain air. Then, take the secondary trail to the cliffside for yet another glimpse at the changing fall colors before you leave.
Shenipsit State Forest
With over 7,000 acres to explore, Shenipsit State Forest offers ample opportunities to admire all the colors of the autumn season. For the best views, you’ll want to get to the lookout tower at the summit of Soapstone Mountain.
You can get there by trekking down the moderately difficult Soapstone Lookout Loop trail. At just under three miles, this trail will let you get all your steps in for the day while bathing you in bright yellow, orange, and red fall colors. Red oak dominates the landscape, although you’re also likely to see maple and beech trees galore. As you gaze upon the trees, watch for squirrels tucking their acorns away for winter.
Blackbird State Forest
When you simply want to get away from it all, Blackbird State Forest is the top spot to go in Delaware, especially as the fall colors hit their peak. In this remote forest, you can stroll amongst the trees and view their brilliant canopies from below. The mix of poplar, gum, maple, hickory, and oak trees create a rainbow of hues that shimmer with the breeze.
As you walk the trails, you’ll come across up to four picnic sites perfect for an impromptu lunch. Plus, there are five primitive campgrounds that let you leave the world behind for a weekend or longer.
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
At Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, you can soak in the breathtaking sights while fishing and hunting to your heart’s content. If you prefer to simply view the wildlife in their natural habitats, you can do that, too. The American Oystercatchers, Red Knots, and other migratory birds get the most attention, although there are also 37 mammal species, 51 fish species, and 45 types of reptiles and amphibians.
As for the fall foliage, you’ll see huge willow oaks, big tooth aspens, and white poplar trees. The fields of tall grasses change colors alongside the trees, turning the landscape into a sea of yellow, orange, and red.
Trap Pond State Park
For a unique autumn scene, you absolutely need to visit Trap Pond State Park. As home to an incredible array of bald cypress trees standing in the marshlands, this park treats you to wondrous fall colors that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Unlike many other conifers, these trees turn a fiery cinnamon color before dropping their needles in the fall.
You can immerse yourself in this scene on foot by taking the 4.6-mile Bob Trail through the park. Or hop on the pond itself in a kayak or canoe to see the trees up close. Either way, make sure to visit the Baldcypress Nature Center before you leave, so you can get an in-depth look at the history and culture of the region.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Home to the deepest freshwater springs in the world, Wakulla Springs State Park serves as a wondrous place to look upon the fall colors. Although you can enjoy this park by walking the nine miles of trails, the riverboat tour is where it’s at.
Whether on foot or by boat, your travels will treat you to views of old-growth trees of all kinds, including vibrant yellow American basswood, red and gold sassafras, and orange beech trees. Do your best to break your gaze away from the foliage to catch sight of manatees, alligators, and many other beautiful creatures who call this park home.
Suwannee River State Park
With a trip out to the Suwannee River State Park, you can take in the phenomenal views on foot or in your watercraft of choice. If you’d like to walk along the riverbank, travel down the Balanced Rock Trail, which takes you on a 3.2-mile loop through the red maples. Before turning toward the back end of the loop, hop on the Suwanee River Trail to reach the Little Gem Spring Overlook.
Whether you bring your camera, fishing pole, or both, it’s always a blast to travel down the Suwanee River by canoe, kayak, or raft. Bring a cooler with your picnic lunch, so you can pull up onto the banks and enjoy the views while chowing down.
Flying Eagle Preserve
The Flying Eagle Preserve features protected wetlands that sit within the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes. The colorful maples, cypress, and other trees between the waterways serve as excellent habitats for all the local birds. Many other wildlife live within the park, too, including wild turkeys, gopher tortoises, wild hogs, and American alligators.
While stunning trees never fail to delight, it’s the Virginia creeper that you’re going to want to see during the fall months. This five-leaf vine crawls up the tree trunks and over rocks, anywhere where its tendrils can make contact. Although it starts with bright green tones, its leaves quickly start to shift to vibrant pinks and purples as the season goes on.
Well known as home to Rock City, Lookout Mountain goes big on the fall colors across the gardens and beyond. In fact, if you go up to Lover’s Leap, it’s said that you can see the foliage across seven states, treating you to the full rainbow of hues.
Beyond that, in the gardens proper, you can view more than 400 native plants as they change through the autumn months. The ancient rock formations serve as the perfect backdrop with their rugged structures and dark colors beautifully contrasting the bright autumn hues. Prefer to let the rails do all the fancy footwork? Take a ride on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway to experience all the sights.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park lights up in a brilliant array of green, gold, orange, and red as all the trees around the canyon start to change color. So, it’s no wonder that this park easily brings in the crowds all season long.
If you want to join the party, you’ll want to hike along the rim trails to the many scenic overlooks. The 80-foot tall suspension bridge is another great place to gaze in pure appreciation of the gorgeous trees, including tulip poplar, white oak, sourwood, and dogwood. You can even immerse yourself in the landscape by hiking down into the canyon as long as you get a permit before your trip.
Red Top Mountain State Park
Located on Lake Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park is an excellent spot to enjoy waterside views of tranquil autumn scenes. You’re welcome to bring your own watercraft or rent a boat from the marina on the north side. From out on the water, the vibrant fall trees reflect onto the water, creating views you’ll definitely want to capture with your camera.
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, explore the landscape on the 15 miles of trails through the forest. For the best of both worlds, you can take the Iron Hill Trail to enjoy a four-mile trek along the lakeside.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Although the leaves don’t turn the classic yellow, orange, and red tones, Limahuli Garden and Preserve in North Shore Kauai still offers a look into the fall colors of Hawaii. On the self-guided tour, your trip will take you down a gorgeous path through the native forests where you can learn all about the local trees, shrubs, and flowers.
As you enjoy the scenic views, you’ll want to look for royal poinciana, African tulips, Hawaiian wiliwili, and silk floss trees in bloom. Their colorful flowers more than make up for the lack of changing leaves, especially once you get a whiff of their heavenly scents.
Waimanalo Country Farms
When the autumn season rolls around each year, you cannot miss a trip to the pumpkin patch at Waimanalo Country Farms in East Oahu. Whether you’re getting ready to carve a jack-o’-lantern or just need sugar pumpkins for pie, their farm grows it all. As you travel across the patch in search of your perfect pumpkins, the bright oranges and greens give you all the fall colors you need.
To complete your fall adventures, definitely treat yourself to a glass of ice-cold lemonade and a slice of moist, delicious cornbread. Then, go visit the petting zoo and try your luck in making it through the corn maze.
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
Fall weather might not change the leaves, but it does bring the Humpback Whales sailing past the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site on the Big Island. To catch these whales in action, post up on the beach with your umbrella, chair, and a cooler full of snacks and drinks. Bring your binoculars, too, plus a camera with an excellent zoom.
Once the 45- to 60-foot whales come into view, you won’t want to take your eyes off them, or you could miss out on their acrobatics. They often breach the water with breathtaking leaps and make waves by slapping their powerful tails on the surface. If you listen carefully, you might even hear their haunting song as they swim on by.
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
Whether you want to motor around to see what autumn brings or prefer to trek along the trails, you can get your fill of fall colors at the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. If you want to take the graveled auto tour road, expect to start at the visitor center and travel 4.5 miles to Deep Creek. As you cruise around the Selkirk Mountain foothills, the colorful cottonwood, paper birch, and aspen will undoubtedly delight your senses.
Prefer to travel on foot? You have four trails to choose from, all of which offer ample opportunities to see bald eagles, otters, and everything in between. There are even 220 species of birds flitting across the tree line, ponds, and marshlands.
Salmon River Scenic Byway
The Salmon River Scenic Byway takes you on the same route Lewis and Clark took through the Salmon-Challis National Forest. To recreate that trip in full, you’ll want to start on the Montana state line heading south on US 93 until you hit Challis. Then, the route takes you west on Idaho 75 to Stanley.
As you travel, expect to see mountain peaks, glacial lakes, and rivers surrounded by vivid trees, shrubs, and flowers. Cottonwood and aspen trees dominate, filling the landscape with gold and orange tones. Sweetening the deal, even more, all the ponderosa pines contrast the fall tones perfectly with their dark green needles and red trunks.
Upper Mesa Falls
At Upper Mesa Falls, you get a chance to appreciate how beautiful the fall leaves look while framing a powerful 114-foot-tall, 200-foot-wide waterfall. You’ll need steady footing to get there, however, as the bushwhacking trail takes a steep turn about 500 feet away from the prize.
Once you manage to make it to the falls, you’ll get to see the rough Snake River waters tumbling down over the Mesa Falls Tuff. This volcanic rock formed over 1.3 million years ago and is continually getting shaped as the water flows over its surface. As far as fall colors go, the evergreens wash the landscape in vivid greens while the maples and aspens provide a touch of red and gold.
Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve
With a stunning 1,520 acres to explore, Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve offers much more than a glimpse at all the top fall colors. As you travel down the gravel trails, the tree-lined ravines and bluffs will treat you to rich warm tones from light yellow to deep burgundy.
With their gorgeous cinnamon orange hues, the many huge bur oak trees will undoubtedly grab your attention first. From there, you’ll get to see the beauty of all the cattail marshes and wildflower prairies. The recent restoration efforts allow more sun to reach the forest floors, too, infusing the space with even more color from shrubs growing all around.
Matthiessen State Park
With a trip to Matthiessen State Park, you’ll get to delight in the views as the forest meets the prairies in a clash of colors. The bright vegetation looks phenomenal against all the stunning geological formations like the waterfalls carved out of the sandstone gorges.
When it comes to exploring the 1,938-acre park, you have many options, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding. If you bring your horse, you’re even welcome to stay in the equestrian campground for one night or more. As you explore the landscape, expect to see leaves changing color on the black and white oaks. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot honeysuckle as its leaves move from green to purple tones.
Pere Marquette State Park
Set along the Illinois River, Pere Marquette State Park gives you stunning views of the fall foliage from many different vantage points. You can go to the waterside to see the vibrant colors reflected in the water or travel down the trails to the many bluffs for an overhead view.
The many hiking, biking, and equestrian trails suit all skill levels, each taking you through scenic landscapes of all kinds. No matter which trail you choose, all the bright hues will frame your journey perfectly as the oak, ash, sugar maple, sassafras, and red elm trees change through the season.
Brown County State Park
Brown County State Park is the place to go when you want to enjoy scenic views by car, on the trails, or while standing at the vista overlooks. If you’d like to take a deep dive into the autumn scene, you can even stay at the Abe Martin Lodge or set up your tent at the campgrounds.
For the very best views, however, you absolutely must go down Trail 10 and climb up the 90-foot fire tower. From there, you can look over the whole forest, taking in the blanket of red, orange, and gold. Don’t hesitate to go down Trail 5 as well to check out the rare Yellowwood tree as it changes from light green to striking yellow tones.
Turkey Run State Park
With its stellar forests and sandstone ravines, Turkey Run State Park offers a chance to bask in the beauty of autumn one step at a time. While you’re always able to come through for a quick picnic or hike, staying in the campgrounds and cabins immerses you in the fall colors.
As you hike the trails, look for late-blooming flowers, like asters, goldenrods, and witch hazel. As you shift your gaze upward, you’ll get to enjoy the leaves change colors on all the tulip poplars, sugar maples, black walnut, and yew trees in your midst. Don’t miss the chance to cross the suspension bridge at Sugar Creek to see the rainbow of hues reflected in the dazzling waters.
Clifty Falls State Park
As the weather changes across Clifty Falls State Park, so does the waterfall activity, giving you a whole new landscape to explore at every visit. The fall colors take this experience up a notch by treating you to cheery hues as far as the eye can see. To see it all, you’ll need to tackle the 10 trails, which range from easy to very rugged.
If you prefer a more leisurely visit, just spend the day at the outdoor swimming pool, complete with a waterslide. Or enjoy playing tennis on the open courts before having a picnic amongst the many beautiful trees, including the iconic yellow buckeye that definitely lives up to its name each fall.
Pikes Peak State Park
Whether you want to view the Mississippi River, Bridal Veil Falls, or get an overhead view of the nearby towns, you can enjoy it all at Pikes Peak State Park. Although the viewpoints never change, autumn elevates the experience by transforming the greenery into a yellow and orange spectacular.
When it comes time to rest and simply look upon the surrounding landscape in wonder, you can settle in for a picnic at one of the stone shelters or gazebos – or just spread out a blanket on the grass beneath the trees. If you’d like to stay awhile, go ahead, and grab a campsite. There are electric and non-electric sites available, depending on how much you want to be roughing it.
Loess Hills Scenic Byway
For a view of open prairies set against tree-covered bluffs, take a cruise down the Loess Hills Scenic Byway. The route starts up at Akron and takes you south 200 miles all the way to Hamburg. Expect the trip to take seven hours in total if you do the whole thing, although you can hop on and off at your discretion.
Mile after mile, the vivid fall colors will keep you enamored as you view the scenery from the comfort of your car. The tall prairie grasses turn a vibrant gold-red, setting the stage for phenomenal views. Beautifully pairing with the gold and red tones, the asters change into a vivid purple, while the staghorn sumac turns bright red.
At Saylorville Lake, you can explore the stunning autumn landscape on the paved trails or by hitting the water at your leisure. The lake and its surrounding landscape stretches an incredible 26,000 acres, giving you plenty of room to stretch your legs.
If you’d like to explore the paved trails, you can do so while jogging, biking, or even in-line skating. For waterside adventures, hit the fishing pier to see what’s biting or put your boat down the boat launch to cruise across the lake. From every vantage point, you’ll get to see the rainbow of trees, shrubs, and grasses, ranging from elm trees to Virginia creeper.
Lake Scott State Park
Lake Scott State Park spans 1,020 acres along the eastern banks of the lake, offering plenty of fishing and camping fun. With its deep wooded canyons set against craggy bluffs, every section of the park boasts big fall colors you absolutely must see to believe.
Whether you hit the water for the day or settle into your campsite of choice for days at a time, the groves of elm, walnut, willow, ash, elm, and hackberry trees will dazzle you with their rainbow of colors. The hiking trails are well worth trekking, too, as they lead you through the trees to rich cultural sites, like the Native American pueblo, El Cuartelejo.
Glacial Hills Scenic Byway
Stretching from Leavenworth to White Cloud, the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Kansas. On this 63-mile drive, you will cruise through the hills and valleys cut by the glaciers.
On their journey, the glaciers left behind impressive geological formations, including pink Sioux quartzite boulders, creating the perfect backdrop for all the fall colors. The many tree-covered hills around the byway resemble a patchwork quilt with their green, yellow, and red hues. To admire it all from a new perspective, climb up to the overlook in White Cloud to see the stunning landscape across all four nearby states.
Elk City State Park
With its limestone bluffs, open prairies, and tree-lined hills, Elk City State Park serves as a wonderful place to enjoy picturesque views. The fall colors truly shine, however, when you’re out by the shores of Elk City Lake. As you look out across the water, the brilliant leaves on the ash, hickory, and oak trees seemingly sparkle in the wind.
If you want to take a deep dive into the forested lands, try the self-guided Green Thumb Trail or go on a longer trek along the Table Mound Hiking Trail. As you walk amongst the trees, watch for amazing wildlife views ranging from wild turkeys and bobwhite quails to cottontail rabbits and gray foxes.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
The magnificent beech and maple trees across the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest are a true sight to behold. To see them from all the best perspectives, you’ll want to take the Canopy Tree Walk to stand 75 feet above the floor of the forest. Then, when the volunteer naturalists are available to lead the way, don’t hesitate to go up the 961-foot fire tower for a 360 view of it all.
Once you’re back on the ground, you can tour the gardens and walk the trails to see all the fall colors up close. The many works of art across the land will undoubtedly capture your attention as well, especially the three giant sculptures made by Danish artist, Thomas Dambo.
Wilderness Road Heritage Highway
The Wilderness Road Heritage Highway takes you on a 93-mile jaunt from Berea to Middlesboro. As you travel down this highway, you’re sure to see red oaks, maples, and birch trees standing tall next to green hemlocks and pines.
If you simply drive end to end, it’ll take about two hours, although you could spend the full weekend visiting all the attractions. Many country music performances light up Renfro Valley, while the Daniel Boone National Forest and other parklands feature all the best autumn hues. If you have time, it’s well worth visiting Spillway Beach at Laurel River Lake for a quick swim and plenty of photos of the fall colors.
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Across its incredible 170,000 acres, the Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area features some of the most stunning autumn scenes around. With the yellow tulip poplars, orange sweetgums, red maples, and purple Virginia creeper the forest lights up in a fireworks display of color. The black gums, sumacs, sassafras, and hickory trees add to the fall aesthetic, giving you a picturesque view to remember.
You can easily spend the day walking the trails, swimming in the surrounding waterways, or fishing off your boat for bass, bluegill, and catfish. If you’d like to stay much longer than that, grab a cabin at the Eddy Creek Marina or settle in at one of the many tent and RV campgrounds across the park.
Chemin-A-Haut State Park
Set on a bluff overlooking Bayou Bartholomew, Chemin-A-Haut State Park promises to spoil you with amazing fall scenery. You can enjoy the park in a variety of fun ways, including kayaking down the bayou, swimming in Big Slough Lake, and picnicking along the shores.
If you take a walk down the 2.9-mile camp trail, you’ll get to immerse yourself in the colorful forest while making your way to the 100-year-old cypress tree. For a glimpse at an even older relic, paddle about an hour up the creek to reach the lovingly-dubbed, Castle Tree, thought to be at least 800 years old.
North Toledo Bend State Park
As one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the nation, North Toledo Bend State Park lets you soak in the fall views from every angle. As you hike the two trails, you’ll get to see the many deciduous trees between the pines turn from green to orange to red before your very eyes.
Once you’re done hiking, go sit out on the docks to soak in the views – and even cast your line in hopes of catching crappie, catfish, and largemouth bass. Or you can hit the water in your motorboat, kayak, or canoes to explore the waterway at your leisure. Didn’t bring your boat? No problem. Rent a paddleboat or canoe at the store right next to the boat launch.
Kisatchie National Forest
With over 600,000 acres to explore, endless fall adventures await your arrival at Kisatchie National Forest. The old-growth national longleaf pines dominate the land, although there are plenty of yellow-, orange-, and red-leafed beauties in their midst. You can explore the land on foot, bike, or horseback on any of its many 1- to 30-mile trails.
If you make it over to the banks of the Kisatchie Bayou, you’ll get to see all the gorgeous evergreen Southern magnolias standing amongst the white beech trees. The combo of deep green and brilliant orange will make you never want to leave. Fortunately, you can stay as long as you’d like by reserving a tent or RV campsite.
Acadia National Park
Located on the coast just southwest of Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park offers picturesque views of all the best fall colors against the rocky headlands. The golden grasses, vivid evergreens, and brilliant blue waters complement the rainbow of warm hues from the hardwood trees, including maple, beech, and oak.
You can take a four-hour whirlwind trip through it all by driving around Park Loop Road. Or you can go on a deep dive into the beauty by taking advantage of the 150 miles of trails winding along the coastline and through the forests. If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of the autumn scenery, make a reservation for Cadillac Summit Road to look out from the highest peak in the park.
Aroostook State Park
Located right on Echo Lake, Aroostook State Park boasts outstanding views of the fall colors reflected off the water. All you have to do is launch your paddleboat, canoe, or motorized boat to enjoy the view while trying your hand at trout fishing. Even more in-depth explorations of the autumn scenes are possible with a hike up Quaggy Jo Mountain.
On all your adventures, the golden-yellow quaking aspens, hophornbeams, and birch trees will delight your senses at first glance. The vibrant orange and red maples and ash trees kick the view up a notch, while the light green balsam fir completes the rainbow before you.
Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary
At the Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, stellar black-capped chickadees, pine warblers, mourning doves, ruffed grouse, and many other bird species perfectly complete the fall scene. You’ll want to keep your camera at the ready since the bird sightings are oft-brief yet wholly exciting.
As you capture photo after photo of your favorite birds, the colorful trees, shrubs, and grasses will undoubtedly serve as an incredible backdrop. Across this 450 acre sanctuary, all the colors of the rainbow are well represented by the vegetation, creating a blanket of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds. Watch for the many butterfly bushes still in bloom through fall with their white, pink, and purple flowers.
With its incredible combo of woodlands, wetlands, and meadows, Adkins Arboretum is a magical place to explore through autumn and beyond. Across its 400 acres, this garden features more than 600 species of plants, ranging from trees and shrubs to wildflowers and grasses.
You can explore all the sights by trekking along the five miles of paths through the grounds of the arboretum. All along the way, you’ll see the mature hardwoods dressed in their fall colors standing amongst the young pines. As you view the fall scene, watch for magnificent birds and wildlife, including beavers, deer, and foxes. Once you’re done, visit the plant sale area to fill your own yard with all your favorite colors.
Turkey Point Lighthouse
Set atop a 100-foot bluff, the Turkey Point Lighthouse puts you way up in the sky where you can get a 360 view of the Chesapeake Bay and all the fall colors across the surrounding landscape. As you take the two-mile trek up to the lighthouse, you’ll get to experience the beauty of Elk Neck State Park while enjoying the breeze from the bay.
Once you reach the lighthouse, take a moment to admire the black walnut tree alongside, which turns a vibrant yellow-orange in the fall months. After you’re done viewing the sights, consider enjoying a picnic lunch under the walnut tree before finishing the hike back to your car.
Patapsco Valley State Park
Stretching 32 miles along the Patapsco River, Patapsco Valley State Park offers some of the best autumn scenery in Maryland. To explore it all, you’ll want to select from their 200 miles of trails rated for beginner to advanced hikers.
The fall colors are in full display along the riverbanks as well if you prefer to fish for trout while enjoying the view. The way the golden colors of the huge tulip poplars reflect off the water will undoubtedly leave you breathless. The amber sycamores, orange beech trees, and red oaks look phenomenal as well, especially as a light breeze sends their rainbow of leaves fluttering.
At over 3,400 feet, Mount Greylock gives you a chance to view the beauty of fall from the highest vantage point in Massachusetts. When the skies are clear, more than 90 miles of autumn scenery stand before you upon reaching the peak, letting you capture beautiful memories and the photos to match. Getting there is quite a hike, however, often taking more than a day.
If you prefer to keep it short, you can hike through the casual trails for an up-close and personal view of the colorful foliage. Expect to see everything from bigtooth aspens to American beech trees plus tall grasses and hardy shrubs in gold to red tones.
For a fall driving tour extravaganza, you definitely want to take a cruise down the Mohawk Trail. This 69-mile byway guides you through the colorful forests that stretch from Williamstown to Greenfield. Throughout the two- to three-hour drive, you’ll catch sight of red and white oaks, sugar maples, and yellow birch trees changing to their autumn hues. Beautifully complementing their warm tones are all the white pine and hemlock trees interspersed between the hardwoods.
Beyond the fall colors, must-see attractions along the byway include the glacial potholes and the Bridge of Flowers at Shelburne Falls. The Elk on the Trail statue on Whitcomb’s Summit is a phenomenal sight as well, making it well worth the extra stop.
Walden Pond State Reservation
Well-known as the setting of choice for Henry David Thoreau’s book, ‘Walden; or, Life in the Woods,’ Walden Pond State Reservation serves as a truly serene place to enjoy the fall colors. The 335-acre park features a replica of Thoreau’s famous cabin plus plenty of spots for swimming, hiking, and picnicking. Boating and fishing are popular pastimes as well, especially when the rainbow trout, bluegill, and bass are in season.
Whether you trek through the trails or spend the day on the water, the oaks and many other hardwoods promise to dazzle you with their bright fall tones. As you gaze upon the beauty of the colorful trees all around, you’ll likely see red-tailed hawks, chickadees, and everything in between flitting amongst the branches.
Well-known by locals as the Porkies, the Porcupine Mountains features a stunning 31,000 acres of northern hardwood forest. So, as you can imagine, the fall colors stretch as far as you can see, going all the way out to the horizon.
Beautifully contrasting the bright leaves are all the dark basalt and conglomerate cliffs that stretch along the shores of Lake Superior. The rushing waterfalls found along the 90 miles of trails offer picturesque views as well, especially when surrounded by the native sugar maples, basswood, and yellow birch trees. The huge stands of hemlock and white pine provide a green kick that looks amazing against the warm fall tones.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
At Tahquamenon Falls State Park, you can enjoy all the best autumn scenes, whether you’re at the waterfalls, near the inland lakes, or exploring the trails. From every vantage point, the tree canopies create a vibrant patchwork of warm and cool tones.
With its 50-foot drop, the Upper Falls offers a truly magical view that’ll leave you singing its praises far and wide. As the root beer-esque water cascades off the 200-foot-wide falls and into Lake Superior, the brilliant green, yellow, and orange trees serve as the perfect frame for your photos. With its five staggered falls, the Lower Falls has an equally attractive aesthetic, making it worth the separate trip down the trails.
In the autumn months, Mackinac Island comes alive with fall colors, cool breezes, and plenty of opportunities for fun and adventure. The scenic views start as you board your ferry of choice to travel to the shores of the island.
Once you reach the island, the choice is yours on how you want to experience the fall color all around. The boreal forest, marshes, and coastline all offer different ways to enjoy the changing vegetation and catch sight of local wildlife. In the forests, you’ll find all the most colorful trees, including elm, birch, and maple, plus tons of migratory birds. Goldenrod, aster, and many other fall-blooming wildflowers complete the picture beautifully.
Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway
If you want to journey down the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway, you’ll start at Big Stone Lake and continue down the route to Belle Plaine. Along that 287-mile route, there are six state parks filled with gorgeous deciduous trees, including flaming sumacs, golden cottonwoods, and cinnamon oaks.
You can admire them from the comfort of your vehicle or get out and explore the trails to see them all up close. If you’d like to go birdwatching while enjoying the autumn scenes, definitely don’t miss the chance to stop at the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. While there, you’re likely to catch sight of bald eagles, yellow-throated warblers, and other magnificent birds.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness features a stunning mix of glacial lakes, streams, and forestlands. Since it sits in a transitional zone, the wooded areas have both boreal and temperate hardwood forests in their confines.
The results are a spectacular array of colors throughout the entire fall season. The static dark green of the spruce, pine, and balsam pairs well with the red maples, orange birch trees, and yellow aspens. The choice is yours in how you want to experience all this beauty. You can go hiking, horseback riding, or bicycling down the trails, spend time on the lakes, or settle in at the campgrounds.
LeDuc Historic Estate
The LeDuc Historic Estate offers a memorable mix of stunning architecture and fantastic nature scenes all around. The fall months are particularly fantastic as the vivid trees highlight the beauty of the Carpenter Gothic-style mansion.
While you’ll definitely want to take a tour of the inside of the house, checking out the grounds lets you bask in the autumn aesthetic. As you look around the carriage house, ice house, and main residence, you’ll instantly notice that the colorful beech trees provide a warm glow all around. For an extra fall touch, you can tour the apple orchard where many different varieties of apples get ready for harvest.
Freedom Hills Overlook
The Freedom Hills Overlook sits at the highest point along the three-state-long Natchez Trace Parkway. At 800 feet above sea level, this overlook gives you stunning views of the autumn scenery across the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
You’ll first have to traverse a short, but steep ¼-mile trail to make it to the benches at the top of the overlook. From there, you can simply gaze in wonder at the wide range of colors on display. The vibrant red dogwoods are the most striking, especially when viewed amongst the evergreens all around. Bring a picnic lunch on your trip to this top spot for fall colors because once you get a glimpse, you won’t want to leave anytime soon.
De Soto National Forest
The De Soto National Forest offers more than 170 miles of trails to explore on foot, horseback, or your bicycle of choice. If you’d like to zoom through the fall foliage at a faster clip, you can take your ATV on the Rattlesnake Bay and Bethel trails instead. Want to skip the trails in favor of a lazy float down the river? Just bring your tube for a trip down the Black Creek River.
All along the way, you’ll get to see ridges covered in vivid oaks plus swamps filled with impressive cypress trees. If you go down to the Buttercup Flats, you can view the incredible savanna filled with pitcher plants and watch them feed on the insects who dare climb inside.
Tishomingo State Park
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Tishomingo State Park lets you practically swim in all the vibrant fall colors. As its main attraction, Bear Creek Canyon lets you soak in the sight of dazzling waters surrounded by brilliant green, yellow, orange, and red foliage. You can experience all that beauty best by taking a canoe down the creek, although you can get nearly as good views from the shores.
For a little bit of a challenge amongst the trees, plan to visit the many 18-hole disc golf courses. As you fling each disc toward the target, you’ll have to work hard to avoid all the gorgeous sweet gum, oak, and dogwood trees.
To take an in-depth look at all the gorgeous native plants in Missouri, you’ll want to stroll through Powell Gardens. During your fall visits, you’ll get to experience all the best hues as you travel through the seven garden spaces.
With its colorful sourwoods, serviceberries, and more, the David T. Beals III Woodland & Stream Garden paints a beautiful autumn scene to remember. You really cannot go wrong with any of the garden spaces, however, as each has a specially curated mix of plants that highlight the beauty of the region. If you’re ever unsure what you’re looking at, you can download the PlantSnap plant identifier app to get the inside scoop.
Tower Grove Park
At Tower Grover Park, bold fall colors line the paths and grassy lawns, treating you to a delightful view from every corner of the green space. As you waltz down each path, the cinnamon-orange maples, maroon sourwoods, and fiery red black gum trees light up the landscape in an amazing way. Want to kick your explorations up a notch? Pick up the pace to enjoy a brisk jog or ride your bike down the paths instead.
When you tire of wandering about, you can catch your breath at one of the 32 shady pavilions, which were originally built in the Victorian era. Before you head out, take a trip over to the lily pond for a chance to see frogs, waterbirds, and many other beautiful wildlife that call this park home.
Lake of the Ozarks
Featuring over 1,100 miles of shoreline, the Lake of the Ozarks offers many incredible ways to enjoy the fall scenery. If you’d like to check out the views on the water, just use one of the three boat ramps to launch your watercraft of choice. While out on the water, you can enjoy waterskiing, tubing, or fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass galore.
Inland, you have many excellent trails to explore on foot, bike, or horseback, including the Hidden Springs Trail that takes you to the scenic bluff above the lake. During your explorations, you’ll come across all the most colorful fall foliage in the Ozarks, including the sassafras, dogwood, and osage orange trees.
Glacier National Park
No matter where you land in Glacier National Park, you’re bound to see some of the most vivid fall colors backed by incredible geological features. Across its one million acres, you can explore 200 lakes, 50 glaciers, and waterfalls galore.
If you’d like to simply look across the vast landscape from the comfort of your vehicle, travel along the 50-mile long Going-To-The-Sun Road. On this two-hour trip, the winding mountain road will take you past the Trail of the Cedars, Bird Woman Falls, and many other amazing sights. If nothing else, stop and have a picnic at Avalanche Creek to gaze upon the changing leaves while you chow down.
Sluice Boxes State Park
The spectacular cliffs across Sluice Boxes State Park serve as a fantastic backdrop for the vibrant fall colors. From the vivid yellow, orange, and red prairie grasses to the rainbow of trees, the fall sets the landscape alight in a wash of color. To experience all the best sights, you’ll have to hike between Belt Creek and the walls of the limestone canyon.
To take a quicker trip through the landscape, you can float down the creek instead. You’ll need to be ready for the challenging sections, however, as the water turns into rapids at times. If you prefer to hang out on the water’s edge, cast out your line to see if you can catch rainbow and brown trout.
Recreational activities abound across Hyalite Canyon, and it all gets even better as the fall season comes along. With the chilly autumn weather comes colorful leaves that brighten up the landscape, plus an increase in wildlife activity.
Whether you spend time by the 8,000-acre reservoir, hike the trails to the waterfalls, or simply set up camp in one of the three campgrounds, you’re sure to get your fill of amazing autumn scenery. The many evergreens provide a backdrop of cool tones, while the vivid gold, orange, and red hardwoods make everywhere you turn, look like a painting. The mountain peaks in the background complete the picture of perfection, so bring your camera to avoid missing out.
The Heritage Highway takes you on a wonderful four-hour trip through 10 counties, starting in Edison and ending in Brownville. As you travel along the 238-mile route, you’ll get to see forests and prairies dressed in their autumn tones in between all the historic towns, including Rock Creek Station.
Work some time into your trip for a stop at the Superior Estates Winery for vineyard views and take home their fall selections, like their blackberry- and cherry-infused Tornado Alley Twilight. Upon reaching Brownville, head over to the Indian Cave State Park to soak in the views of all the vibrant oak, hickory, and basswood trees.
Smith Falls State Park
At Smith Falls State Park, you can view the tallest waterfall in the state while getting your fill of all the amazing autumn scenery. The vivid yellow hackberry, box elder, cottonwood, and black walnut will undoubtedly compete for your attention as the water cascades down the 70-foot falls.
If you’d like to spend the weekend or longer bathed in the beauty of the fall colors, you can take a canoe camping trip along the Niobrara River. On that excursion, you can float down the river by day, and then pull your canoe ashore to settle down in the campground for the evening hours.
A beloved urban oasis in the heart of Omaha, Lauritzen Gardens takes you on a journey through all the native plant species as they change through the fall months. Although the garden started modestly as a place to grow roses, hostas, and herbs, it has expanded to include all seven types of plants grown in Nebraska.
To see all the fall colors in the garden, you’ll want to start by exploring the oak, hickory, and maple forests. Then, stroll through the chrysanthemum gardens to see how the fall brings color in another way. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. Mums have a heavenly scent to match the beauty of their bright, bold blooms.
Walker River State Recreation Area
Walker River State Recreation Area features tons of autumn color all along the beautiful riverbanks. To enjoy the prairie grasses, serviceberry trees, and other fall foliage to the fullest, you’ll want to bring along your kayaks and paddle to your heart’s content. Just watch out for the fly fisherman trying to get a bite at the Elbow and Rosaschi Ranch areas.
If you’d like to kick back and stay awhile, you can grab a campsite, each of which comes with a covered picnic table and a fire ring. Need RV hookups instead? Go to the Quail Run Campground at the Pitchfork Ranch. You’re welcome to bring along your UTVs and OHVs as long as you keep them on the designated trails.
Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway
For an unforgettable trip around the Ruby Dome, you’ll want to motor down the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway. Although it’s just 12 miles, this paved road features fantastic photo opportunities of the trees in their fall colors and the geological formations. If you’d like to stretch your legs, there are numerous spots to pull off the byway for a bit of a hike through the mountainside.
Upon reaching the top of the 8,800-foot canyon, you’ll get a phenomenal view of wildflowers, including vivid yellow sagebrush flowers, plus tons of fiery orange aspen trees. Keep your eyes peeled for the ginormous elk walking across the landscape as you capture the view in all your photos.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
When you want to see tons of wildlife frolicking about in the autumn colors, the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is the place to go. Across these protected lands, you can see all kinds of creatures, from snails and pupfish to bighorn sheep and mourning doves.
To catch the vivid display of orange and gold foliage, get on over to the Crystal Reservoir area of the park. Fed by the nearby spring, this wetland area lets you observe the shorebirds and waterfowl as the ash trees beyond change color through the season. While at this park, make sure to visit Devil’s Hole, a seemingly bottomless cavern that exceeds 500-feet deep and is home to the pupfish.
Kancamagus Scenic Byway
For the absolute best views of all the fall foliage in New Hampshire, you absolutely must take a drive along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. To start this 34.5-mile journey, you’ll need to start at Lincoln and head west to Conway.
Plan to stop at the scenic overlooks along the way to gaze upon the beauty of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Osceola Range, and Sugar Hill. The rugged terrain looks spectacular when lit up by all the autumn tones, including the red maples, cinnamon beech, and golden birch trees. If you’d rather not end this journey in the hour or two it takes to traverse the byway, consider grabbing a campsite in the forest to soak it all in over the weekend.
Mt. Washington Cog Railway
If you’d like to take a truly magical trip through all the fall colors on the mountainside, just sign up for a seat on the Mt. Washington Cog Railway. Led by their historic steam engine, this trail will take you from the Marshfield Base Station all the way up to the summit of Mount Washington.
In the fall, expect amazing views of red oaks, birch trees, and sugar maples surrounded by fragrant white pine. You’ll want to capture photos as the train steadily climbs the 25% grade and then snap even more at the summit and on the way back down. Upon heading home on Base Station Road, stop to check out the view of the Upper Ammonoosuc Falls as well.
Franconia Notch State Park
The Franconia Notch State Park lies within the White Mountain National Forest, stretching from the Flume Gorge to Echo Lake. Across its huge expanse, this mountain pass offers tons of recreational opportunities plus amazing sights along the way.
Although you cannot go wrong with trips down the trails and dips in the lake, the aerial tram is the best way to see all the fall foliage. On its eight-minute ride, you’ll go up to the summit of Cannon Mountain while enjoying views of the sugar maples and birch trees amongst the old-growth spruce, fir, and hemlock. Once you reach the top, soak in the panoramic views from 4,080 feet to complete your fall color journey.
Cross Estate Gardens
With its early 20th-century landscape, the Cross Estate Gardens are a phenomenal place to take in all your favorite fall scenery. On the self-guided tour, you can stroll beneath the wisteria-laden pergola and into the many gardens beyond full of perennials and native plants. The huge silver maples go from light green to a deep yellow in the fall, transforming into a true sight to behold.
If you prefer to have a knowledgeable guide lead you through the gardens, you can usually sign up for a guided tour. There are many other events held onsite as well, like teatime, plant sales, and more.
Parvin State Park
All through autumn, fall colors dominate the landscape all across Parvin State Park, giving you plenty of amazing views while you enjoy your outdoor activities. At this lakeside greenspace, you can spend time on the water, lounge around the shores, or explore 15 miles of trails. You’re even able to rent a cabin or reserve a campsite for an extended stay, so you can take in the gorgeous fall colors for days at a time.
As you explore the park, check out the swamp hardwood forest to see a wide variety of trees with colorful foliage. You may see vibrant birches, red maples, black willows, tupelos, oaks, and cottonwood trees, depending on how far you venture down the trails.
Wharton State Forest
As the largest forest in New Jersey, Wharton State Forest offers tons of room to explore and enjoy the colorful fall foliage. In fact, it has a stunning 122,880 acres of land filled with hiking trails, campgrounds, and waterways, including lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.
To enjoy the views, you might want to launch your boat on the Mullica River and gaze upon the fall colors reflecting off the water. Or if you’re up for a challenge, hike the full 53.5-mile Batona Trail, the longest trail in the state. Prefer to just sit back and soak in the autumn scenery? Rent a cabin or reserve a campsite for your tent or RV.
Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway
When you’re in the mood to cruise through beautiful forests alight in fall colors, you definitely need to hop on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. This 83-mile loop takes you on a tour of all the best sights in New Mexico, including mesas, mountains, and valleys, plus through tons of forestland.
For a classic tour experience, start at Taos and then drive through Shady Brook, Eagle Nest, Red River, Questa, and Arroyo Hondo to complete the loop. Mile after mile, you’ll get to enjoy seeing the sunlight shine through the rainbow of leaves on the aspen, cottonwood, and other majestic hardwoods. At the end of your trip, hike through Taos Canyon to see all the trees up close before heading home.
Gila National Forest
With a breathtaking 3.3-miles of forested land to explore, Gila National Forest offers stunning autumn scenery at every corner. To experience all the sights, you can hike through the many trails, stopping whenever you want to see the changing leaves up close. Or you can cover more land by taking your horse or OHV out onto the designated trails instead.
No matter how you choose to travel across these protected lands, plan to stop at the hot springs you come across along the way. Middle Fork, Jordan, and Turkey Creek hot springs allow you to soak away the soreness in the naturally warm waters before continuing on your way.
With a trip to the Sandia Mountains, you’ll get to see all the bright fall colors set against the pink Sandia granite mountain slopes. The tall grasses cover the landscape in vivid greens and yellows, while the cottonwood trees get a golden hue. Many of the local flowers stay in bloom through early- to mid-fall as well, adding to the beauty of the landscape.
To get the very best views, take the aerial tramway up 2.7 miles to the peak of the Sandia Mountains. From there, you’ll get to enjoy a panoramic view from 10,378 feet up, setting you up for extraordinary photos from every angle.
Greenbelt Nature Center
With over 2,800 acres of lush forests across its expanse, the Greenbelt Nature Center lets you appreciate the fall foliage up close. Located right in the heart of Staten Island, this well-preserved greenbelt features some of the most noteworthy trees, shrubs, and flowers in New York. You can explore the red maple and sweetgum swamp forests for brilliant shades of orange and red or go to the upland oak woods for gold and copper.
For a one-on-one guided tour of the lands, reserve your spot on a Greenbelt naturalist’s schedule. There are also lectures, workshops, and other amazing classes held year-round to help you get in touch with nature.
Letchworth State Park
At Letchworth State Park, versatility is the name of the game as there are activities for practically everyone to enjoy. From hiking and picnicking to whitewater rafting and camping, the sky is the limit in how you want to spend your time in the park. In fact, you could even go up in the sky by booking a hot air balloon ride with Balloons Over Letchworth.
For views of the bright fall foliage against beautiful waterfalls, you’ll want to take the trails to the falls on the Genesee River. At 106 feet tall, Middle Falls offers the biggest drop, which is just as beautiful during the day as when the nearby lights illuminate it at night.
Hudson Highlands State Park
Boasting over 8,000 acres of largely untouched land, there’s no end to the amazing autumn scenery across Hudson Highlands State Park. Although you really cannot go wrong no matter where you land in this park, the views are particularly fantastic along the Hudson River. While along the shoreline, you can enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing to your heart’s content.
If you prefer to hike through the trails and see the fall foliage all around, you have dozens of trails to choose from. Built for beginner to advanced hikers, these trails range from a ¼ mile to well over eight miles. Across all your travels, expect to see towering oaks, heath trees, and tons of other colorful vegetation brightening up the forest.
Although the Gilded Age mansion always proves interesting to explore, it’s the grounds across Biltmore Estate that should get your attention in the fall months. You can start at the walled garden full of colorful chrysanthemums before enjoying the autumn scenes reflected in the bass pond. Then, you can get an overhead view by climbing up the spiral staircase of the Observatory for a view off the rooftop.
If you still need to satisfy your cravings for fall colors, hike through the 22 miles of trails across the grounds to see native maple, dogwood, and sourwood trees in all their glory. The ferns and woody shrubs add to the drama, as do all the fall grasses and perennials showing off their vivid hues.
Hanging Rock State Park
Whether you like paddling on the river, hiking through the trails, or camping under the fall foliage, you’re going to enjoy a trip to Hanging Rock State Park. Set along the Sauratown Mountain range, this stellar greenspace offers phenomenal views of the monadnocks surrounded by lovely autumn hues.
For hiking enthusiasts, there are more than 20 miles of trails, many of which lead to the five large waterfalls. You’re also welcome to use the 8.3 miles of mountain biking trails to zoom through the scenery and quickly reach all the best viewpoints. If you’d like to explore by kayak or canoe, you can paddle down the Dan River or hit the lake. Plus, there are 73 campground sites available when you simply cannot pull yourself away from it all.
Goose Creek State Park
With its stunning cypress swamp and Spanish-moss-covered live oaks, Goose Creek State Park has an otherworldly aesthetic that comes alive with color in the fall. Amongst the cypress, you’re sure to find ash, red maple, black gum, and tupelo proudly wearing their autumn tones. Black willows and live oaks dot the landscape as well, looking especially gorgeous set against the dark green pines.
Although this park is best enjoyed on foot, you can hit the Pamlico River on your motorboat, sailboat, or raft. The shallow river waters are also fantastic for swimming, while the creek is perfect for kayaking. Don’t forget your picnic lunch, so fuel up for more adventures in the picnic area by the riverfront.
Turtle River State Park
Set along the riverside, Turtle River State Park lets you explore the woodlands and waterways at your leisure. Unlike much of North Dakota, this 784-acre park features trees galore, including brilliant red sumacs and maples.
To learn about all the fall colors in the park, you’ll want to check out the interpretive trails that give you a self-guided tour through the vegetation. You also have your choice of more than a dozen hiking and mountain biking trails if you prefer to simply enjoy the view. You can also leisurely take in the sights by fishing the river for trout and northern pike.
Pembina Gorge serves as a phenomenal place to enjoy fun adventures while enjoying scenic views of all the best autumn colors. Across its 2,800 acres, this park features gorgeous wetlands, prairies, and virtually undisturbed forests. The many trails allow you to explore while hiking, biking, horseback riding, or driving your OHV. Or you can take your kayak down the Pembina River to see the beautiful waters reflect the colorful views.
On all your explorations, you can admire the golden yellow prairie grasses and the leaves on their way from green to red. Plus, with over 480 plants across the park, the various shades of green and more promise to beautifully complete the rainbow before you.
When you simply must see all the autumn scenery from the water, jet on over to Lake Sakakawea. As the third-largest man-made reservoir in the US, this lake boasts a stunning 368,000 acres to explore. You can take to the water on your motorboat, sailboat, or any other watercraft that suits your fancy. Fishing is a popular pastime with many people going for chinook salmon, walleye, and northern pike.
All around the lake and out on the trails, you can see the fall colors shining bright as the elms, oaks, and cottonwood trees change with the season. The grasses on the nearby hills turn a golden hue as well, perfectly completing the beautiful scene before you.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
If you want to ride in style through gorgeous broadleaf forests displaying all their fall colors, let the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad show you the sights. With tracks running north and south through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this railway puts you right in the middle of the action all season long.
While riding their rails, you can go from Independence to Akron and back or stop anywhere in between. You’re even given the option to hike, run, kayak, or bike through the forest to your heart’s content, and then catch a ride back to the starting point once you’re all tuckered out.
Hocking Hills Scenic Byway
With a trip down the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, you’ll get to soak in the autumn scenery while moving between six Hocking Hills State Park stops. At each stop, you can immerse yourself in the beauty by getting out of the car to enjoy the waterfalls, wildflowers, and everything in between.
You’ll start this 26.4-mile journey at Rockbridge, and then continue on State Route 374 until you reach the Old Man’s Cave hiking trail. With its stunning geological formations surrounded by all the best fall colors, this trail is a must. As you travel back down the byway, make additional stops as your energy allows to enjoy the rich red, orange, and yellow leaves all around.
Hueston Woods State Park
When you simply want to experience the magic of fall for days at a time, just reserve a cottage at Hueston Woods State Park. With their wooded setting and quaint design, the cottages feel like a magical home away from home. As you wake up each morning, you’ll get to see how the leaves on the sugar maples and beech trees have changed, watching in awe as their colors get ever warmer.
While here, enjoy a round of golf, try your hand at disc golf, or play paintball on their field. If you prefer to simply enjoy the forest, you have more than 12 miles of trails to explore, plus a chance to find fossils in the creek beds.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Located in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area serves as a truly serene place to soak in the fall hues. The 30 miles of trails allow you to enjoy the oak, hickory, and sycamore trees on foot, on a bicycle, or on horseback. Not sure which trails to pick? Stop at the Travertine Nature Center for key insights.
With its 36 miles of shoreline, Lake of the Arbuckles never fails to impress either. To enjoy its beauty, you can simply swim along the shore or take your watercraft out for a spin. If you end up never wanting to leave, grab a campsite at one of the six campgrounds and stay awhile.
Oologah Lake offers tons of opportunities to enjoy the fall foliage from the water and along the trails. With more than 11 parks around its shores, you have plenty of choices on where to land for all your adventures. You can even grab a camping spot for your tent or RV, and then settle in for a weekend or more of swimming, boating, and exploring fun.
When it comes to hiking, biking, and horseback riding, you’ll definitely want to travel along the Will Rogers Country Centennial Trail and Skull Hollow Nature Trail. Beyond that, stop by the Dog Iron Ranch to see where Will Rogers was born and stroll the gorgeous grounds at your leisure.
Roman Nose Park
Roman Nose State Park sits inside a beautiful tree-lined canyon and offers phenomenal views everywhere you look. With its gypsum rock cliffs and numerous natural springs, this park serves as the perfect backdrop for the fall foliage. You can explore the trails on your mountain bike, on horseback, or just by hiking through at a leisurely pace.
As you come across the Talking Trees Area, you’ll likely notice that as the leaves change color and drop to the ground, the bare branches seemingly chat together overhead. To enjoy the chatter, settle down for a picnic lunch and fuel up for even more adventures in the forest, by the lakes, or at the golf course.
Silver Falls State Park
Well-known as the crown jewel of all the parks in Oregon, Silver Falls State Park offers endless autumn beauty across its 9,000 acres of land. All 10 waterfalls are well worth exploring, especially since four feature trails that pass beneath the flow of water. Thankfully, that’s easy to do by simply trekking along the Trail of Ten Falls.
If you only want to see the tallest waterfall in the park, take the 1.1-mile loop to South Falls to see the water cascade 177 feet to the pool below. The Oregon myrtle, alder, and maple trees add a burst of color to the scene, while the moss-colored boulders provide a pop of green.
Located at 7,140 feet in the Elkhorn Mountains, Anthony Lake is the perfect place to get away from it all while enjoying the colors of fall. The tent and RV campsites put you right at the lakeside where you can soak in the views between all your swimming and boating fun. If you’d like a little more protection from the elements, you can stay in a yurt instead.
When you’re not enjoying the pristine lake waters, take some time to explore the forest with a hike down the Elkhorn Crest Trail. While much of the wooded land features pine and fir trees, you can find many deciduous species showing off their autumn hues.
Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway
Lovingly known as the ‘Highway of Waterfalls,’ the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway takes you on a seven- to eight-hour trip from Roseburg to Gold Hill. On the first leg of your journey, plan to stop at the Colliding Rivers to see the North Umpqua River and Little River duke it out. Then, pay close attention to the scenery as you’ll pass at least six waterfalls before reaching Diamond Lake.
For the rest of the trip, you’ll travel along the Rogue River where you can see beautiful trees dressed for autumn, like Oregon ash, black cottonwood, red and white alder, and willow trees galore. Beyond that, the many evergreen trees, including stunning manzanita and madrone, add even more color to the mix.
Big Pocono State Park
At over 1,305 acres, there’s no shortage of fall scenery to explore across Big Pocono State Park. Hiking the rugged terrain offers a fun challenge while letting you see all the pretty quaking aspen, oak, maple, hickory, and gray birch trees up close.
For the best views, you’ll want to go straight to the summit of Camelback Mountain. From that vantage point, you can take in the quilt of color across eastern Pennsylvania while looking as far as New Jersey and New York. Don’t miss the chance to dine in style at the Summit House, which goes big on classic comfort food while offering phenomenal views.
If you’d like to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Kinzua Bridge State Park, gear yourself up for a jaunt down the Kinzua Skywalk. This incredible walkway puts you 225 feet above the gorge where you can see all the fall colors from overhead.
You’ll need nerves of steel to walk the entire 623 feet to the octagon-shaped overlook. Once you reach that section, take a deep breath, and then look down to see the autumn scenery through the glass floor. Then, take your time admiring all the colorful foliage of the black cherry, white ash, sugar maple, and American beech trees.
Gateway to the Endless Mountains Scenic Byway
Short, but sweet, the Gateway to the Endless Mountains Scenic Byway takes you along the mountainside and the Susquehanna River. You’ll start your trip at Dushore and travel down US Route 6 to Tunkhannock.
With trees upon trees along both sides of the road, you’ll get a spectacular view of autumn in full swing. Even the brush gets in on the action, turning vivid yellow, orange, and red beneath the tree canopies. Once you cross the river, you’ll get to enjoy glimpses of the rushing water between the trunks of the maples, oaks, and other beautiful hardwoods. Stop at Grovedale Winery & Vineyards for small bite plates and a nice bottle of wine for later.
Roger Williams Park
A true urban wonderland and local favorite, Roger Williams Park gives you 427 acres of green space to explore in the heart of Providence. As you travel across the park, you can visit its seven lakes, check out the botanical center, or take a jaunt through the Victorian Rose and Japanese gardens.
With over 5,000 trees growing across the park, the fall colors remain on full display throughout the entire season. The most colorful of the lot include purple beech, sophora, amur cork tree, tulip tree, ginkgo, kwanzan cherry, and the hardy rubber tree. Even more, colors are awaiting your arrival in all the garden spaces and even in the zoo.
Newport Cliff Walk
Surrounded by wooded lands and open wildflower prairies, the Newport Cliff Walk offers tremendous opportunities to enjoy your favorite autumn hues. All the fall colors are on private property, so you’ll have to make do with admiring them from afar.
On this 3.5-mile trail, you’ll travel along the Newport shoreline where the water laps at the rocky cliffsides. To walk the entire length of the trail, start at Memorial Boulevard and work your way around to Bellevue Avenue. You can expect the entire journey to take about three hours if you walk at a decent clip. Plan for it to take much longer if you want to stop often to capture the sights on film.
Goddard Memorial State Park
With over 60 types of deciduous trees and 19 evergreens across its landscape, Goddard Memorial State Park gets awash in color each autumn season. The red oaks, maples, and beech trees, in particular, light up the landscape with their beautiful red, gold, and orange tones. To enjoy all the fall colors to the fullest, settle in at one of the many picnic tables to grub on your meal while soaking in the sights.
With over 18 miles of bridle trails, this park lends well to a magical ride through the forest on horseback. If you don’t have a horse of your own, you can enjoy these magnificent creatures by catching a show at the equestrian area.
Devils Fork State Park
Between the 7,565-acre Lake Jocassee and its amazing gorges, Devils Fork State Park serves as a top spot in South Carolina for fall foliage. While on the lake, you can swim along the shores or hit the water in your canoe, motorboat, or other watercraft.
Although the lakeside offers tons of recreation opportunities, be sure to break away from it at least once to explore the Oconee Bells Trail. On this path, you can spot the telltale waxy deep green leaves of the ultra-rare Oconee bells, although you’ll have to come back in April for its blooms. You’ll also get to enjoy all the fall colors displayed by the tulip poplar, dogwood, sourwood, mountain magnolia, maple, scarlet oak, and sassafras trees.
Poinsett State Park
The amazingly diverse flora across Poinsett State Park lets you enjoy an impressive kaleidoscope of colors through the autumn months. Mountain laurels wearing capes of Spanish moss dominate the landscape, although there’s still plenty of room for vegetation from the Blue Ridge Mountains, coastal plain, and everywhere in between.
On your explorations, you’ll see flowering dogwood in brilliant burgundy, water tupelo in dazzling gold, and bald cypress in rich cinnamon tones. The white, black, turkey, and water oaks shimmer in yellow and orange, while the longleaf pine keeps the green alive. You’re more than welcome to see it all on the 25.6 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking.
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
For a dose of history with your fall foliage adventures, you’ll want to visit the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. At this beautiful property along the Enoree River, you’ll get to explore where a battle during the American Revolutionary War took place.
While brushing up on history, you can get your steps in while viewing all the spectacular fall colors. To get the best views, take the trails down to the riverside and Shoal Creek, which are about one mile each. On your way back, follow the signs for Horseshoe Falls to capture the beautiful waterfall in your autumn scenery photos.
Sica Hollow State Park
At Sica Hollow State Park, the thickly forested ravines and hills offer stupendous views of the bright fall foliage. To take your colorful journey to the next level, however, you’ll want to travel down the Trail of the Spirits to see the reddish bogs gurgle and sputter. Once you’re done with that half-mile hike, go further into the forest on the Sica Hollow Horse Trail.
Whether you bring along your equine friend or hoof it on your own, you can stay overnight at the campground to enjoy the autumn splendor through the evening hours. The yellow, orange and red leaves look absolutely magical as the sun shafts peek through in the morning and evening hours, making it well worth the stay.
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
If you’d like to take a spectacular trip through the Black Hills, the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is definitely calling your name. The 19-mile route takes you through stunning fall scenes from Spearfish to Cheyenne Crossing. Although the drive itself won’t take long, you’ll want to stop and appreciate all the stops along the way.
Split Rock, Bridal Veil Falls, and Victoria’s Tower are just a few of the main attractions on this route. Toward the end, you’ll reach Little Spearfish Canyon where you can view the waterfall surrounded by all the best colors of autumn. Plus, you’ll find the Latchstring Inn Restaurant, where you can fuel up for a tour of the Dances with Wolves film site.
Union Grove State Park
At the Union Grove State Park, you’re given the opportunity to explore all the forestlands set along the creek and enjoy even more waterside activities at Union Grove Lake. In total, the trails go on for 4.3 miles and are open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Follow the path clearly marked ‘Waterfall,’ to soak in the beauty of the cascading waters framed by vibrant red, yellow, and orange foliage.
If you’d like to just stay for the day, you can use the open picnic shelters and shaded areas to enjoy a meal before hitting the trails once again. Prefer to stay overnight instead? Just rent a cabin or reserve a spot in their campground.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
All the blooming flowers and colorful fall foliage ensure that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will always exceed your expectations for memorable autumn adventures. With over 520,000 acres to explore, there are endless ways to enjoy these parklands. You can hike, mountain bike, or ride your horse along the miles of trails. Or just let your car do all the work by taking a trip around the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
With each trip into the park, you’ll get to see showy trees displaying their fall hues, including flowering dogwood, Fraser magnolia, silverbell, redbud, sourwood, witch hazel, and maples. Beneath the colorful canopies, look for fall blooms from the sunflowers, mountain gentian, goldenrod, asters, and coneflowers.
Reelfoot Lake State Park
With a visit to Reelfoot Lake State Park, you can take in the view of magnificent bald cypress trees jutting out of the lake while enjoying most of your favorite waterside activities. Swimming is not permitted, however, since the lake is actually a submerged forest formed when the Mississippi River flowed backward after an earthquake.
You can hit the water in your canoe, pontoon boat, or paddleboat to check out the sights from afar. While floating about, you’ll delight in the views of the bald cypress trees changing from cinnamon to burnt orange before they drop their needs. Also, watch for all the pelicans that briefly stop here as they migrate to warmer areas for the winter.
At Ruby Falls, you can go deep underground, and then high in the sky to see the fall landscape in a whole new way. You’ll want to first take the elevator down 260 feet to see the caverns and waterfalls deep inside Lookout Mountain. As you gaze upon the spectacular geological formations all around, your guide will share the history of the region before directing you back up to the surface.
After that, you can climb the 70-foot Lookout Mountain Tower to admire the fall foliage all along the Tennessee River and Chattanooga cityscape. If you’re brave enough, you can even hop on the High Point ZIP Adventure to soar past the colorful trees at up to 50 miles per hour on the 700 feet of ziplines.
Eisenhower State Park
Located along the southern shores of Lake Texoma, Eisenhower State Park boasts gorgeous views all around – and it just gets better and better through the fall months. All along the shores, the vivid red oaks, winged sumacs, and elm trees perfectly accent the brilliant blue waters. The bois d’arc and ash trees further add to the beauty with their golden yellow hues.
While the lake has the biggest pull, the four miles of trails let you immerse yourself in the forest scene. Many Texas wildflowers continue to bloom strong through autumn, adding to the kaleidoscope of colors at every corner of the park.
Lost Maples State Natural Area
Set along the Sabinal River, the Lost Maples State Natural Area puts on a brilliant display every fall season. The sumacs, bigtooth maples, and Texas red oaks are particularly vivid, keeping the color going well into the winter.
You can see all these trees in their full glory by hiking through the 10 miles of trails in the park. For a bird’s eye view of the nearby trails and riverside, plan to travel down the Scenic Overlook trail. As you explore, listen for the distinctive call of the golden-cheeked warbler, black-capped vireo, and many other incredible birds that live in the forestlands.
Daingerfield State Park
Well known for its towering trees, Daingerfield State Park promises to satisfy your every craving for fall colors. The lake at the center of the park is the main attraction, although the trails also offer memorable views.
If you spend the day fishing on the lake, watching the colorful trees will keep you well-entertained while you wait for the bass, catfish, and perch to bite. Don’t have a boat? No worries. Just rent one at the park store. While hiking the trails, you can simply enjoy identifying all the oaks, dogwoods, and other amazing trees all around. If you’d like to sleep under the vivid canopies, reserve a tent or RV site to enjoy.
Mirror Lake Highway Scenic Drive
Stretching from Kamas to the Wyoming Border, Mirror Lake Highway Scenic Drive treats you to incredible views for 42 miles. On this one- to two-hour trip, you’ll get a chance to stop at the ever pristine Mirror Lake, travel over Bald Mountain Pass, and enjoy the overlook at Provo River Falls.
Whether gazing out your car window or admiring the panoramic views from the overlook, all the best autumn hues will warmly greet you. Amongst the dark green pines, you can catch sight of willow, cottonwood, dogwood, and many other gold-, red-, and orange-leafed trees. If you’d like to stretch your legs, don’t miss the chance to hike the Mirror Lake Loop, which leads you through the colorful forest.
Bridal Veil Falls
At over 600-feet-tall, Bridal Veil Falls is a true sight to behold all on its own but bring in the fall hues and its pure magic. Located right along the Provo River, this gigantic waterfall is well worth the moderate amount of effort it takes to traverse the slippery path.
To reach the base of the falls, you have to walk down the 1.4-mile paved and dirt trail. The last ½ mile is often rather slick and steep with loose gravel at various points. Once you arrive at the falls, you can gaze ever upward to watch the water cascade down the rockface. The autumn leaves add splashes of gold, red, and orange to the mix, creating a picture-perfect view to remember.
Piute State Park
A true oasis in the middle of the desert, Piute State Park offers phenomenal fall views unlike anywhere else. To enjoy it to the fullest, you’ll want to load up the all-terrain vehicle and take it to the famous Paiute ATV Trail.
At 275 miles, this trail lets you cruise through the colorful trees at a fast clip, stopping whenever the sights leave you breathless. Bring along your picnic lunch, fishing gear, and raft, so you can skip on over to the Piute Reservoir. While out on the water, you can try your hand at reeling in smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and many other tasty fish.
Smugglers’ Notch Pass Scenic Highway
With its vivid yellow, coppery orange, and fiery red trees all around, Smugglers’ Notch Pass is a true fall wonderland. The sheer number of trees along this mountain pass promise to leave you completely submerged in the best autumn hues.
To enjoy this road trip, start at Jeffersonville and drive down Route 108 until you reach Stowe. Along that route, you’ll travel over the shoulder of Mount Mansfield, through Smugglers’ Notch State Park, and also through Mt. Mansfield State Forest. If you only work one stop into the trip, make it the Barnes Camp Loop. On that trail, you can enjoy scenic views of the cliffs and wetlands from the raised boardwalk.
At Shelburne Farms, you can experience all the best fall colors while learning all about how their sustainable working farm operates. You’re welcome to walk the farm yourself or wait for the tractor to take you around. Either way, you’ll get to see the livestock, crops, and all the hard work that goes into growing everything to its full potential.
Although it’s hard to break yourself away from the wonders of the farm itself, be sure to take a moment to walk the trails around the property. Once you’re all worn out, you can return for delicious farm-to-table fare from the resident food truck near the barn.
Quechee State Park
Home to the deepest gorge in Vermont, Quechee State Park serves as a phenomenal place to view the fall foliage. The many colorful trees line either side of the 165-foot gorge, perfectly framing the gorgeous Ottauquechee River. While pine trees dominate the landscape, there are plenty of red, yellow, and orange deciduous trees in between all the green.
With its serene forest complemented by the sound of rushing waters nearby, this park is best enjoyed while camping. You can grab a lean-to, set up your tent, or bring your RV to leave the world behind and simply enjoy the autumn scenery.
Shenandoah National Park
Set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park features exquisitely beautiful fall scenery across its entire landscape. Bold autumn hues await your arrival in the wooded hollows, fields of wildflowers, and all around the scenic vistas. For the best fall views, visit Old Rag Mountain to see the tree canopies create a quilt of color. Don’t miss the Big Meadows either to find fall blooms and watch the tall grasses change their hues.
With over 516 miles of trails crisscrossing the land, this park offers endless adventure. Although you’re welcome to hike to your heart’s content, mountain biking and horseback riding will let you enjoy even more sights each trip.
With a trip up to the summit of Whitetop Mountain, you can gaze in wonder at the colorful grasses, shrubs, and trees. If you go early in the season, you can also enjoy the wondrous calls of songbirds, including black-throated green warbler and dark-eyed junco.
All it takes to get there is a leisurely drive up the gravel road right off State Route 600. Once you reach the top, there’s nothing between you and the patchwork of reds, oranges, and golds as far as the eye can see. If you want to walk through the hardwood forests, take the short trail by the parking lot.
Potomac Heritage Trail
A true choose your own adventure experience, the Potomac Heritage Trail lets you meander along the riverside at your leisure. Whether you choose to hike or ride your bike, you can stay on the main trail to follow the Potomac River’s journey through the limestone cliffs. Or you can opt for the side trails to loop through the vivid forests full of tulip poplars, sycamores, and oak trees.
The views are perhaps even more impressive right on the Potomac River, so don’t hesitate to bring down your canoe or kayak. As you paddle down the various branches of the river, you’ll get a double dose of autumn scenery as it reflects from the banks into the water.
Whidbey Island Scenic Isleway
With its mellow vibe and spectacular views from every direction, exploring the Whidbey Island Scenic Isleway is an absolute must throughout the fall season. Expect to see bigleaf maples, Garry oaks, and other deciduous trees displaying the full array of autumn hues plus stunning evergreens alongside, like the Pacific madrone.
To kickstart your travels, you’ll need to take the ferry from Mukilteo to the gateway to Whidbey Island, or Clinton as it’s formally known. From there, you’ll take a trip up to Langley before traveling Highway 525 up to Fort Casey State Park. Then, you’ll continue your island drive up to Deception Pass on State Route 20.
Mount Rainier National Park
At Mount Rainer National Park, the landscape transforms into a fireworks display of reds, yellows, and greens as far as the eye can see. Much of the beautiful color comes from the vine maples, larch, and plentiful huckleberry bushes, although there’s also plenty of willow, aspen, and cottonwood trees.
With over 260 miles of trails to explore, you definitely need at least a weekend to even start to see all the best autumn scenery. Fortunately, the White River Campground serves as a fantastic place to camp out along the riverside. Plus, it gives you quick access to the gorgeous Wonderland Trail, which takes you up to Summerland.
Known as one of the absolute biggest temperate rainforests in the nation, the Hoh Rainforest is always well worth exploring, but its stellar scenery only gets better through the fall months. As the weather cools down, the leaves on the vine and bigleaf maples start to change colors, beautifully complementing their lush green moss coats.
Although all the trails are just as delightful as the next, you’ll want to travel down the Spruce Nature Trail to learn how to identify the local trees and other plants. After that, you’ll be ready to travel down any portion of the 17.4-mile Hoh River Trail and see the fall colors set against the brilliant blue waters.
Coopers Rock State Forest
Offering incredible views of the Cheat River Gorge, Coopers Rock State Park is a top spot in West Virginia to enjoy all the best autumn scenery. You can bask in the beauty across this park by taking a hike, riding your mountain bike, going fishing in the river, or staying in the campgrounds.
For a bird’s eye view of the blanket of color at either side of the river, you just have to go to Coopers Rock Overlook. From there, you can view the red, orange, and gold canopies of leaves from the maple, birch, oak, and hickory trees. Definitely bring your camera to capture the unbelievable views, which go on as far as the eye can see.
As the autumn tones reach a fever pitch, Blackwater Falls offers a picture-perfect view of the fall scenery. The water cascading down the 62-foot falls looks phenomenal when surrounded by the changing leaves on the nearby black cherry, American beech, yellow birch, and red maple trees. The needles from the eastern hemlock and red spruce add to the beauty all around as they drop into the water and tint it to a near black.
If you want to stick around to view the falls, again and again, you can rent a cabin, reserve a campsite, or even stay at the lodge in the state park surrounding the falls. The lodge even features a full-service restaurant that’ll help keep your energy up for all your waterfall adventures.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
If you’re in the mood to kick back and relax while watching the fall scenery pass you by, you’ll love to spend your time at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. At this park, you can ride the steam-driven train on a 4.5-hour round trip through the forest to the summit of Bald Knob. As the highest point on Back Allegheny Mountain, this viewpoint gives you a clear view of the beech, maple, birch, oak, and hickory trees changing with the season.
To kickstart your adventure or wind down once you get back, visit the Last Run Restaurant. Operated by the Bodkin Sisters, this quaint eatery goes big on the friendly service while making your meal to eat there or take on your mountain excursion.
Potawatomi State Park
Along the eastern edge of Sturgeon Bay lies the gorgeous Potawatomi State Park. Across this 1,200-acre park, you can waltz amongst the colorful beech, sugar maple, and basswood trees while exploring its 20 miles of trails. You’re welcome to hike at your own pace or zip through the trails on your mountain bike.
If you want to enjoy the sights while on the water, you’ll need to bring your canoe, kayak, or other watercraft. Or you can rent a boat for the day at the park store where they also sell bait and fishing gear. When it comes time for fish, you’re bound to pull up the northern pike, walleye, and rainbow trout more often than not.
Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive
With a trip down Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, you can enjoy more than 115 miles of spectacular fall colors absolutely everywhere you look. You’ll start this three- to four-hour trip up north by Elkhart Lake, and then head south until you reach the Whitewater Lake area.
All along the route, you’ll drive through countless natural areas filled with aspen, oak, and maple galore. You can stop at any of the parklands for a picnic, although Pike Lake is an excellent halfway point. Before hitting the road, head over to the swimming beach for a quick dip while enjoying the gorgeous scenery.
Plum Loco Animal Farm
Plum Loco Animal Farm is an awesome place to kickstart your fall festivities while getting a glimpse of the leaves changing colors. Although they’re only open on the weekends, this farm packs a ton of fun into every day.
The farm experience starts with them letting you pick your own pumpkins and then providing the supplies, so you can jazz them up with paint. After that, you can pet and feed the ponies, horses, goats, donkeys, and many other farm animals. The hardwood forest areas all around the farm light up the sky in red, orange, and yellow, while their fall décor gets you in the mood for even more autumn adventures.
Grand Teton National Park
With its magnificent stands of deciduous trees, Grand Teton National Park offers the fall scenery you crave. The vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues come from the cottonwood, balsam poplar, and quaking aspen trees. The blue spruce and fir trees provide a pop of cool tones that perfectly complement the warm autumn hues. All the blooming sagebrush is quite a sight as well.
With over 200 miles of trails to explore, it can take quite a while to experience the beautiful sights all across the landscape. Fortunately, you can camp out at the many RV and tent campsites, including the Jenny Lake Campground that puts you right along the lakeside.
The scenic Beartooth Highway takes you on a 68-mile journey from Red Lodge, Montana, to the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. For the majority of the drive, however, you’ll travel through Wyoming where you can appreciate the view of the Beartooth Mountains. All along the way, the aspens and cottonwoods paint the landscape gold, while the conifers add a touch of green.
Although you can start and end your trip without leaving the state, it’s well worth going the extra mile to see a bit of Montana and explore Yellowstone. As you explore the park, you’ll get to move through the full range of fall colors, including yellow prairie grasses, fiery red shrubs, and trees in all the autumn hues.
Edness Kimball Wilkins Park
Previously a rock quarry, Edness Kimball Wilkins Park offers beautiful fall views that help elevate all your adventures. While visiting this 361-acre park, you can go hiking on the loop trail, spend the day swimming in the pond, enjoy the sports courts or fish on the North Platte River. Many beginners to advanced fishermen come here in hopes trophy trout will bite with each cast of their fly fishing line.
No matter how decide to spend the day, the brilliant cottonwood trees light up the sky, while serving as a place for the migratory birds to hang out. Bring a picnic lunch and dinner, so you can stay until sunset to see the landscape in a whole new light.
If you start in September and continue your fall foliage adventures through November, you’ll end up with memories to last a lifetime – and plenty of beautiful photos to match. You can then make your journey an annual affair and even bring along friends and family for the ride. Just be sure to keep track of where you’ve visited and when, so you know just where to experience your absolute favorite sights all over again.