Make the most of the season by checking out some of these towns and national parks with the best fall scenery in the US. You don’t want to miss out on the 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. Aspen, CO
Aspen, Colorado is actually named for the aspen trees which become golden yellow in autumn. This is one of the most colorful places you can visit this time of year. The fall foliage looks especially exceptional in contrast to the blue mountains. The best time to visit is anywhere between September and early October. There are loads of options to take in the views, whether you want to go hiking, biking, kayaking, or for a drive.
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 carpool 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. 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 colors 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. 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 down and the tourists are fading in numbers, 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 to see.
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 even 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, and even bears while you’re there.
8. 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 even whale watching. This is a great area to rent a cabin for a nice fall getaway, especially from mid-September to mid-October.
10. 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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