Autumn is quickly approaching, which means one thing to many travelers: leaf peeping season. In many regions of the U.S., landscapes will soon be full of beautiful red, orange and yellow foliage. If you want to experience every bit of the United States’ fall rainbow, you’ll want to visit these 15 best places to see fall colors in the US. Put them on your bucket list as soon as you can.
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Table of Contents
Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the US
1. Stowe, Vermont
Some of the best views you’ll see all season can be found in Stowe, Vermont. It should be a must-see on the list of any fall photographer. Stowe is even called Fall’s Color Capital due to the complexity and depth of fall colors you’ll see when you visit.
The area has so much to do for every visitor, young or old. If you have a few adventurous people in your group, you can go mountain biking or take guided tours, which can give you natural history or old ghost stories to chill your bones.
2. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
This river canyon is over 80 miles long, providing plenty of opportunities to see every color fall provides. The scenic area has several waterfalls, all of which look ethereal against the contrast of the bright fall colors.
You can even purchase a permit to hike up Dog Mountain, enabling you to see more breathtaking views during your visit.
3. Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee, is home to many attractions. It features the Tennessee River and is part of the Appalachian Mountains, which provide many views on their own. You can follow trails to reach the most incredible sights.
While the leaves are the main attraction in fall, you can also keep an eye out for flowers that bloom in autumn months, such as sunflowers, roses and honeysuckle.
You can also take a riverboat cruise through Chattanooga to see even more of the fascinating colors you traveled for.
4. Eastern Shore, Maryland
Maryland’s Eastern Shore features gorgeous views for local residents and visitors. When you aren’t looking at the leaves, you can learn about the area’s history by visiting one of the many museums along the shore.
As beautiful as the fall scenery is, it’s just one of the many attractions that can bring you to this part of Maryland.
5. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Massachusetts is one of the states known for the gorgeous colors erupting from its trees during fall. Cape Cod is a popular vacation destination, well known for cooler summer temperatures, but it’s equally memorable in the fall. We love that there are so many fun things to do in Cape Cod with kids!
You could take several routes to see the leaves change in Cape Cod, such as Route 6A or the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Walking can be therapeutic for people and doing so through the changing Massachusetts leaves will make you feel like you’ve entered another world.
6. Garner State Park, Texas
This Texas state park is best known for the Frio River, which runs through the park’s many trees. It has several beautiful views, which makes this state park one of the best places to see fall colors in Texas.
Once you’re finished looking at the foliage, you can enjoy the 11 miles’ worth of fun things to do with anyone in your group, such as hiking or mini-golf.
7. Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, Arkansas
If you want a larger area to take in with plenty of activities, the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest is the perfect destination. With over one million acres of scenery, you’ll love visiting in October when most of the leaves have already turned or are changing.
You can take a walk through the protected land and photograph the surroundings to make lasting memories.
8. Cheyenne, Wyoming
Fall in Cheyenne, Wyoming, typically gives life to fresh golden colors more than reds. You’ll see red and orange trees in the more populated areas of the city, but the more rural regions feature aspens and cottonwoods, which create a sea of gold.
Take time to enjoy everything Cheyenne has to offer as you admire the city’s rich palette of fall colors.
9. The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through many parts of Virginia and North Carolina. It’s often closed to visitors in the winter due to inclement weather, but it’s a quintessential part of leaf-viewing if you live in that part of the East Coast.
Some weeks in October result in over two million visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you may find plenty of traffic and few spots to stop along the road.
If you want to beat the massive number of visitors, consider setting out as early as possible in the day or choosing an off-weekend. You can still enjoy the leaves after their peak until they start to fall in preparation for winter.
10. Catskill Mountains, New York
The Catskill Mountains in south eastern New York feature many fun opportunities for you and your loved ones. These mountains offer an amazing opportunity to see layers upon layers of color, which will delight any younger members of your family.
11. Denali National Park, Alaska
Even Alaska gets fine views of the fall foliage, though it might be much colder there than in other states. Denali National Park features a great way to see the leaves without having to worry about driving yourself.
Its buses will take you deep into the park and teach you about nature and history, depending on which tour you take.
12. Tunnel of Trees, Michigan
The Tunnel of Trees is a 20-mile drive through the most scenic parts of the M-119 highway. This route is an attraction simply because of how fiery and brilliant the trees look as you drive through them — like a pathway to another world.
If you’re traveling through the Midwest in the fall, you can stop at the local towns to stretch your legs and look around. They’ll have plenty of fun things for you to take part in throughout the fall season.
13. Aspen, Colorado
The famed trees of Aspen, Colorado, may not explode into reds and oranges, but they do take on a brilliant saffron hue. Aspen has an endless amount of these beautiful trees, making the city one of the best places to see fall color in Colorado.
Many people head here to ski, but there’s plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent golden colors of the aspen trees before people flock to the area for winter.
14. Skyline Drive, Virginia
Skyline Drive runs over 100 miles through Shenandoah National Park. The best part of this area is that it’s open 24 hours a day. This means you can visit to see the leaves glowing during the day or glistening under the moon at night.
The explosion of colors is great to camp under at one of the Skyline Drive campsites. You can make a day of it and drive the entire length in around three hours without pausing or stopping.
15. The Poconos, Pennsylvania
If you enjoy traveling through winding trails and getting lost in autumn colors, the Pocono Mountains should be a must-see. The sights can relax you and the paths may feel a bit more laid-back than many other fall attractions in different areas of the U.S.
Consider a leisurely drive through the Poconos during September and October when you want to prioritize relaxation above all. We love that the east coast has a variety of options when it comes to the best places to see fall colors.
Other Reasons to Travel in Autumn
You won’t have to travel far to visit these best places to see fall colors. There’s something for everyone, the weather is cooler, and it’s a great time to travel after the summer crowds have died down.