Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the USA
Whether fall is your favorite season or you dread the dropping temperatures every year, there is no denying that the changing leaves are gorgeous. The vibrant fall colors can turn a good looking landscape into something truly postcard worthy.
Unfortunately, the yellow and oranges only stay on the trees for a few weeks per year. But the U.S. has enough different climates you can extend the leaf peeping season if you’re willing to travel. Here are some of the best places to see fall foliage before it’s gone!
Hocking Hills State Park - Logan, Ohio
Ohio doesn’t receive enough recognition for its natural beauty. If you are looking for the perfect fall hiking destination, you can’t go wrong with a weekend trip to Hocking Hills!
This park encompasses over 2,000 acres of verdant forests with 60 miles of hiking trails. As most of the trails here are of easy to moderate difficulty and length, it’s the perfect place for hikers of any skill level to enjoy breathtaking views of the leaves changing.
If you plan to make your way to Hocking Hills, mid-October is the best time to go to see the autumn leaves. We recommend choosing an elevated hiking trail. Don’t miss the waterfalls rolling over mossy rocks at Cantwell Cliffs or Conkle's Hollow. If you’re not much of a hiker, you can drive the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway and enjoy all the sights of fall from the comfort of your car!
While Aspen is known for skiing and its luxurious shopping and food scene, the fact that it is one of the best places to see fall foliage makes it an attractive autumn destination.
The Maroon Bells are two peaks of the Elk Mountains near Aspen. The Maroon Bells Scenic Trail is a 1.5 mile hike easy enough for even beginner hikers which provides the best elevated views of the area. You can see miles and miles of vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds before the trees drop their leaves for another winter.
If fall hiking isn’t your thing, you can check out one of the three scenic drives in the area, or kayak at the North Star Nature Preserve. October will be your best bet for seeing all the amazing scenery this area has to offer!
Acadia National Park, Maine
If you are looking for the best place to see fall foliage on the east coast, you can’t go wrong with Acadia National Park!
Situated on Maine’s Mount desert Island, the park includes rocky cliffs and coastlines, lakeside views, and mountain paths. With nearly 160 miles of hiking trails, it’s easy to map out your perfect journey through the fall leaves.
Mid to late October is the best time to see the changing leaves at their most vibrant. In addition to hiking, you can also drive along the historic and scenic roads throughout the park. You might even catch sight of moose, bears or even a whale!
If you plan to camp, be sure to make a reservation in advance!
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Seeing the leaves changing in the tundra is a unique experience that not many get. At Denali National Park, you can see aspens and poplars with leaves burning like fire below the frosty peak of Denali, the tallest mountain in North America.
The park itself has very few hiking trails to encourage visitors to explore the unmarked wilderness. This makes fall hiking at Denali National Park a one of a kind experience.
Visit in mid to late September to catch Denali at its autumnal finest! Once you return home, be sure to add another pin to your National Parks map!
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve - Lansing, West Virginia
With over 100 miles of hiking trails and one of the most breathtaking rivers in the world, New River Gorge is an appealing destination for adventurers of all kinds.
View the stunning leaves from the trails, or go rafting on the rapids of the New River. For a relaxing day of leaf viewing, drive the Midland Trail National Scenic Byway or head to Hawk’s Nest State Park and catch a ride on the aerial tram!
The area is popular for camping, rock climbing, and slacklining. If you’re looking for a side of adventure with your leaf peeping, you won’t find a better place.
Let’s make the most of the fall season! Put on your favorite sweater, grab a glass of apple cider (or a pumpkin spice latte if that’s what you prefer!), and make your way to one of these best places to see fall foliage in the USA!