Autumn usually means cooler temperatures, cider mills up and running, pumpkin spice everything, leaves turning vivid hues of yellow, orange, and red, and, for many, it’s time to hit the road! Viewing autumn leaves, often referred to as “leaf peeping,” is a Fall fan-favorite pastime. Most often people think of New England when they think of fall foliage, there are other places in the country that have gorgeous fall colors, believe it or not. To ensure your timing is right, use this online tool to help you perfectly time your Fall getaway whether you plan on seeing the maples turn red in Tennessee or the aspens display a golden glow in Colorado.
If you’re planning a fall drive through some of the country’s most scenic regions this season, consider heading to one of my top 5 picks:
1. Blue Ridge Parkway
Often considered “America’s Favorite Drive,” this winding road spans 469 miles from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The park’s website indicates the best time to visit is typically from mid-to-late October, as diversification of tree species kaleidoscope of color throughout the Smokies every fall season.
2. New York’s Finger Lakes
Located near Ithaca in upstate New York, you can stay at the historic Inns of Aurora, visit local wineries, or hike the local trails. Peak color season usually runs the last two weeks of September, but several festivals run almost every weekend through the following month.
3. Multnomah Falls, OR
Those who know me well know I’m from the great state of Washington, and that this area holds a special place in my heart. What’s better than beautiful foliage and incredible waterfalls? Yes, I know it’s Oregon, but close enough! The Columbia River Gorge is home to countless waterfalls and gorgeous natural landscapes that one can appreciate from a guided boat tour. Peak foliage time ranges from late September to mid-October.
4. Great Lakes Region
Few destinations top the Great Lakes for dazzling foliage. If you start at the southern edge of Lake Huron, watching tall ship schooners, then head north along the lake, stopping to hike at Thunder Bay River State Forest, you’re sure to have a memorable trip. Take the ferry from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island, and ride a bike or do a horse and buggy ride around this small, National Historic Landmark (so no cars allowed). If your trip ends in Traverse City, be sure to take in the delectable wineries in the region. The state’s northernmost Copper Harbor has what some call the best views, especially its “Tree Tunnel” highway (US-41). Best time to see this is any time from late September to mid-October to see for yourself.
5. Aspen, Colorado
Most people associate Colorado with evergreens, but this city’s namesake is a shimmery golden tree – yes, the ASPEN! Fall foliage season doesn’t last long here, but it’s worth a trip to this beautiful town. Visit the nearby Maroon Bells (please Google it – trust me, you’ll love it)! The unique mustard golds found in the area are typically most expressive in late September. The best experience them is by hiking one of the area’s trails or taking a mountain drive through the Maroon Bells peaks (Google it, you’ll thank me later).
If this inspires you to hit the open road to discover the best colors of the region, reach out to me ASAP to plan a memorable road trip!
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