The Best Places In The US To Experience The Changing Colors Of Fall
Though it’s no secret that the Northeast and Eastern coast of the United States like to show off their fall colors in the autumn months, they’re not the only places that you’re able to experience the changing seasons.
Whether you’re from a place that doesn’t really change that much from summer to winter, or you’re just looking to experience the colors of fall in a state outside of your own, we’ve got some top choices for you.
Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a state you might overlook when considering where to head on your next family vacation, but they’ve got lots to offer in terms of fall colors. Stop in Hershey to grab yourself plenty of chocolate for the trip, then make your way to the Poconos to see the leaves, plus there’s a number of wineries, breweries, and other things to do there.
The Enchanted Circle, New Mexico
You might have written it off as a mostly warmer weather state, or you think it’s all deserts, but New Mexico has some changing leaves of its own to offer every autumn. The Enchanted Circle is an 83-mile stretch that connects Toas, Eagle Nest, Red River, and Questa, where you’ll see the changing leaves in places like the Rio Grande Gorge.
Linn Cove Viaduct, North Carolina
Maybe you don’t specifically feel like driving the 1200-foot long bridge in North Carolina known as the Linn Cove Viaduct, but North Carolina in general is a great place to check out the changing leaves. The Viaduct is part of the larger Blue Ridge Parkway that links Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, both of which offer their own amazing views of fall foliage.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Okay, it might seem like a bit of a trek to visit Alaska just to see some beautiful fall colors, but it’s worth factoring in if you’re debating what time of year you want to plan for your Alaskan adventure.
Adirondack Park, New York
The last two weeks of September are prime season for fall foliage in the Adirondacks, but if you’re not able to make it there during that time, there are also festivals that run in the region practically every weekend through until November.
Bar Harbor, Maine
If you’re looking for the perfect fall destination wedding spot in the Northeast, Bar Habor, Maine, should be at the top of your list. Mid-October in Maine is a sea of gorgeous autumn colors you can appreciate in Acadia National Park as well as the surrounding area.
Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
For those who don’t know, the Ozarks are a mountainous region that spans across swaths of Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Arkansas’ Ozark National Forest in particular is a beautiful place to visit to appreciate the fall colors. This photo was taken from the view of Whitaker Point, within the park.
Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style town located on the Eastern slopes of Washington’s Cascade Mountains. A number of fall foliage routes start in the Washington town, with the colors starting to change as early as late September, though the first two weeks of October are considered the peak time.
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Surprise, surprise, the Rocky Mountains look as spectacular in the fall as they do through every other month of the year. The San Juan Mountains are located near Ridgway, but you can also get impressive views in Aspen or other Colorado destinations.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Columbia River Gorge is a stretch between Washington and Oregon that has over 50 waterfalls, all of which are arguably best appreciated during October and November, when they’re surrounded by the fall colors of the forests.
White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
New Hampshire is an obvious choice for anyone going in search of impressive displays of fall foliage, and it lives up to the hype. The reds and golds of autumn typically start to appear in late September, turning full by the end of October.
Stowe, Vermont, is nicknamed the “Fall’s Color Capital,” so naturally it has to be included on a list of the best places to see fall foliage. You’ll find every fall shade you could want from September through mid-October, plus there are great hiking trails, or you could take a ride up the gondola at Stowe Mountain to appreciate the foliage.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennesee
If you’re a fall foliage enthusiast, Gatlinburg sits in the middle of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains and is the place for leaf lovers. The autumn colors start in the higher elevation areas in early October, working their way down through the weeks. Newfound Gap Road is open to visitors who want to see the colors from 1,400 feet above sea level, or you could try the 11-mile loop around Cades Cove.
Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
Amicalola Falls State Park is home to Georgia’s tallest waterfall, which reaches 720 feet and can be seen from a number of different trails within the park. The bottom of the falls gives visitors and hikers an amazing view of Georgia’s plant life, especially in the autumn months.
McKenzie Pass–Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, Oregon
There’s a reason that the McKenzie Pass–Santiam Pass Scenic Byway in Oregon is one of the National Scenic Byways. The 82-mile-long loop features volcanic and glacial landscapes surrounded by yellow and red vine maples on the east side of the Cascade Mountains.
Catskill Mountains, New York
A few hours south of the Adirondacks, you’ll find the New York Catskills. Within the Catskill Mountains region, you can visit the “Five State Lookout” in East Windham which will have you scoping out fall colors in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut—all from one spot.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Michigan is host to the largest forest system in the eastern United States, with nearly 4 million acres for visitors to explore and witness the changing colors during the fall. The best time to visit the Upper Peninsula area is mid-September to mid-October.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Considering that Montana’s Glacier National Park is stunning at every other time of the year, it should come as no surprise that the park does not disappoint when it comes to showing off its fall colors.
Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
The Litchfield Hills area is recommended as one of the best areas in Connecticut to see fall foliage. Early-to-mid-October is the best time to see the red, yellow, and orange leaves blooming on the trees, plus there’s a number of other attractions in the Litchfield area.
Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota
The Black Hills region of South Dakota in general is a great place to see bright fall colors, and Spearfish Canyon is a particularly good choice. You’ll get to see a variety of colors and trees, plus you get limestone cliffs and waterfalls.