As autumn approaches, nature prepares itself for a dazzling display of colors, enchanting countless onlookers. The changing leaves create a breathtaking panorama, attracting leaf-peeping enthusiasts from far and wide. These vibrant displays can be found in various locations across the United States, offering stunning backdrops for unforgettable seasonal experiences.
No. 6: Great Smoky Mountains National Park – North Carolina and Tennessee
Fall at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennesee and North Carolina is a sight to behold. The park’s lush forests burst into an array of vibrant colors, with the leaves turning shades of red, orange, and gold.
Visitors can take a scenic drive along the Newfound Gap Road, which offers stunning views of the fall foliage. Hiking trails like the Alum Cave Trail provide breathtaking views of the park and the surrounding mountains. Cades Cove, a historic valley, is a popular spot for wildlife watching and offers beautiful views of the fall foliage.
Other Destinations on the List of 10 Best Places to See Fall Foliage
No. 1: Keystone State Park – Pennsylvania
Keystone State Park is an expansive natural area in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, offering a range of activities like kayaking, observing wildlife, and hiking. The park’s centerpiece, Keystone Lake, captivates visitors, especially during the fall months.
A popular 2-mile trail, the Lakeside Loop, offers the perfect opportunity to appreciate the pristine forest and stunning lake views while immersing oneself in the vibrant colors of autumn foliage.
No. 2: Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Michigan
Located in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, fall at Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a magical time of year. As the leaves change colors, the park is transformed into a beautiful display of reds, oranges, and yellows.
The Upper and Lower Falls are surrounded by a sea of vibrant colors, making them even more stunning than usual. Visitors can hike along the River Trail, which offers incredible views of the river and the fall foliage. The park is also a great spot for fishing, especially in the fall when the salmon are running.
No. 3: Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio
Southern Ohio’s Hocking Hills State Park is a beautiful time any time of the year, but there’s something about fall that makes it a must-visit destination. A true gem in Ohio’s natural landscapes, Hocking Hills State Park stretches over 2,000 acres in the southern part of the state.
The park’s dense forests and sandstone cliffs are transformed into a stunning display of fall colors, with vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow covering the landscape.
Visitors can hike along the park’s many trails, which offer spectacular views of the fall foliage and the park’s waterfalls. The park is also home to several caves, including Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave, which are especially beautiful in the fall.
No. 4: Ozark National Scenic Riverways – Missouri
In the Ozarks, the Current River and Jacks Fork River offer breathtaking views, making them ideal destinations for outdoor adventures during the fall season. The park’s rolling hills and riverways are transformed into a stunning display of fall colors, with vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow covering the landscape.
Visitors can hike along the park’s many trails, which offer spectacular views of the fall foliage and the riverways. Guests can partake in kayaking, canoeing, or even tubing to experience the magnificent autumn foliage without exertion. The park hosts several fall events, including the Fall Hiking Series, which offers guided hikes through some of the park’s most beautiful spots.
No. 5: White Mountain National Forest – New Hampshire
Every year, during September and October, the White Mountains of New Hampshire showcase a stunning display of fall colors, drawing millions of visitors worldwide. A prime spot to witness this breathtaking spectacle is along the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway, which passes through the White Mountain National Forest.
No. 7: Door County Coastal Byway – Wisconsin
Experience one of Wisconsin’s finest autumn destinations along the Door County Coastal Byway. The stunning fall foliage comes alive between late September and mid-October, attracting visitors to explore its picturesque tree-lined roads and hiking trails. Enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and Green Bay, beautifully framed by the vibrant hues of autumn leaves
No. 8: Mohonk Preserve – New York
Situated in the Hudson Valley, known for its breathtaking fall foliage, Mohonk Preserve is a must-visit destination during autumn. The preserve offers a variety of activities such as rock climbing; however, for a more relaxed experience, travelers can ascend the nearby Sky Top Tower to enjoy stunning views of Ulster County.
No. 9: Watkins Glen State Park – New York
Nestled in the stunning Finger Lakes region, Watkins Glen State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. Open since 1906, this captivating park offers unforgettable outdoor activities and impressive autumn sights. With various scenic hiking trails, such as the South Rim Trail and the Gorge Trail, visitors can experience the breathtaking beauty of upstate New York’s foliage firsthand.
No. 10: White River National Forest – Colorado
White River National Forest is an exceptional location for admiring the beauty of fall colors. The forest’s dense forests and mountain peaks are transformed into a stunning display of fall colors, with vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow covering the landscape.
Visitors can hike along the many trails, which offer spectacular views of the fall foliage and the forest’s many lakes and waterfalls. The forest is also home to several ski resorts, which offer scenic chairlift rides that provide stunning views of the fall foliage. Prime spots to witness the stunning foliage include Maroon Bells and Hanging Lake.