Here’s where you can go to celebrate the changing of the seasons with the best fall scenery in the US. Don’t miss out on the stunning autumn colors!
Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery or a nearby weekend trip, there are loads of places across the country that offer beautiful autumn colors in September and October. Catch a train or grab your loved ones and share a carpool and head to some of these top destinations for fall scenery. You won’t be disappointed!
1. Fall Scenery in Aspen, CO
Aspen, Colorado is named for the aspen trees that become golden yellow in autumn, which make it one of the most colorful places you can visit when leaves start changing color. The fall foliage looks exceptional in contrast with the blue mountains.
The best time to visit is between September and early October. There are loads of options to take in the views, whether you’re hiking, biking, kayaking or driving. Some of the best trails include Woody Creek, Castle Creek Valley and Snowmass. You can also take a canoe or kayak down the Roaring Fork or Colorado River.
If you’re not into outdoor activities, take a scenic drive down Maroon Creek Road or Castle Creek Road. The town itself is beautiful as well so make sure to pop into the local cafés and restaurants.
2. Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
Take a visit down to the Blue Ridge Mountains any time between late September through November for some beautiful mountainous fall scenery. The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches over 450 miles between the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, covering the ground between North Carolina and Virginia.
The drive itself is beautiful, and a perfect option for a car full of loved ones who want an easily accessible way to spot some autumn colors. You can also stop and camp for a few nights in either national park and get some hiking in.
3. Upper Peninsula, MI
Anywhere along Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is worth the visit this fall. Late September to mid-October is one of the best times of year to check out the three Great Lakes bordering the state. There are more than twenty state parks covering millions of acres of forest filled with ash, aspen, beech, maple, oak, birch, tamarack, and sycamore trees which all transform stunningly in the fall.
4. Autumn Colors in White Mountain National Forest, NH
If you’re near New Hampshire, we recommend heading to White Mountain National Forest anytime in September or October. The vibrant red, orange and yellow stretch over 750,000 acres. Activities include kayaking, horseback riding, boating, bike riding, hiking, picnicking and more!
You can also go for a scenic drive down Kancamagus Highway for some beautiful views. For up-to-date information, check out the national park’s fall foliage tracker.
5. Fall Scenery in Ozark National Forest, MO
The Ozark National Forest in Missouri offers mountains, rivers, canyons, and bluffs which are exceptionally beautiful in the fall season. Just as the temperatures are cooling and the tourism numbers are declining, the trees become a beautiful deep red and gold.
For the best views, visit in late October, and be sure to plan enough time for your stay. The forest has 1.2 million acres of hardwood and pine trees so you won’t run out of trails, scenic drives or viewpoints.
6. Columbia River Gorge, OR
Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River. The canyon spans over 80 miles between Washington and Oregon and is surrounded by cottonwood, maple, fir, ash, and pine trees which transform in the fall.
The best time to visit is late September through October. The gorge offers hikes and overlooks to see many waterfalls. You can also go for a scenic drive through Hood River County where there are several orchards to stop at.
Go apple and pear picking and try some delicious treats like pies, scones and pumpkin milkshakes!
7. Green Mountains National Forest, VT
This Vermont national forest is full of maple, birch, and beech trees which the New England region is known for. Head to the Green Mountains in the not-so-green season of September and October for a quick day trip or camping getaway.
Check out the hiking, canoeing, fishing and waterfalls while you’re there. You may spot some beaver, moose, deer, turkey or bears.
8. Autumn Colors in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, one of the largest national parks in the US covering Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, is a stunning sight in the fall. There are loads of activities to do in the park including hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking, fishing and wildlife spotting. You should visit for at least a week to see the main highlights.
Check out the autumn colors in late September and early October for the best views, before it gets too cold. Keep your eyes open for elk, eagles, bison and bears.
9. Bar Harbor, ME
Bar Harbor is a Maine beach town and one of the best places to see some fall scenery and autumn colors on the east coast. The downtown has lots of cute shops, cafes and bars to check out and the surrounding area covers parts of Acadia National Park where you can go hiking, kayaking, fishing and whale watching.
This is a great area to rent a cabin for a nice fall getaway, especially from mid-September to mid-October.
10. Fall Scenery in Catskill Mountains, NY
The Catskill Mountains are known for their autumn colors in early to mid-October. This area makes for a quick day trip or weekend getaway for scenic drives, hiking and camping. Towns outside of the mountains such as Livingston Manor, Woodstock, and New Paltz offer cozy cafes, breweries and cider shops which really hit the spot on a cool fall day.
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