‘Tis the season for fall foliage across the United States right now. Mesmerizing red, burnt orange and golden hues as far as the eye can see highlight parts of the US at their most beautiful. They almost glow.
With autumn well and truly here, now is your time to reconnect with nature and go check out these 17 stunning states for the most incredible autumnal colours and activities. Don’t forget to grab a hot cider.
Stunning states to see fall foliage across the US
It will come as no surprise that Vermont is our first stop on this list for fall foliage in the US. Visitors from around the world flock to Vermont every fall thanks to their abundant native sugar maple trees that make for the most stunning photos.
They don’t call it ‘Colourful Colorado’ for nothing! From Fort Collins all the way to Aspen, Colorado is the perfect place for fall foliage, hiking and adventures. Visit scenic trails like Lower Cataract, Three Island Lake and Crater Lake which offer sights of mountains, rivers and plains. You’ll be left speechless and reaching for your camera every few minutes.
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During the fall season, Utah’s mountains and canyons explode into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors. Your options for fall foliage viewing are vast in the Beehive State – explore Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, Millcreek Canyon, Nebo Loop or Guardsman’s Pass for peak foliage.
Crisp crimsons, burnt oranges, and vibrant yellows saturate Pennsylvania’s lush landscapes in the fall. See foliage in all its glory from above in a hot air balloon, or on the water along the Delaware River. Also be sure to check out the trails that snake abundantly throughout the Pocono Mountains.
Warm golden and orange hues generally begin to sweep the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia and blend with the region’s gorgeous landscape starting late September and ending the beginning of November. This gives foliage seekers plenty of time to peep some stunning scenes across the Mountain State.
Leaves change colour rapidly in Minnesota. We recommend using the state’s ‘Fall Colour Finder’ to find the most colourful trail for a walk, hike, bike ride or drive in a specific area in real time. One of the most unique ways to see foliage is to visit the beautiful North Shore region, the west shore of Lake Superior. There you’ll find trees towering above the cliffs along the lake – a truly breathtaking sight. Drive the highway that hugs the shoreline for the ultimate, unforgettable scenic route.
11. New Hampshire
Another handy ‘Foliage Tracker’ makes nailing those perfectly vibrant photos, and avoiding dull tree disappointment, that bit easier. New Hampshire is a truly majestic place during autumnal months. We recommend hopping in your car, your minivan or on your motorbike and hitting the highways and byways to make the most of the region. Cut through the White Mountains, hug New England rivers, meander through idyllic villages or even hop out and hike a mountain.
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to autumn scenes in Washington. Choose from Spokane and Northeast Washington (including Leavenworth’s annual Autumn Leaf Festival in late September) or head east to Seattle and explore Discovery Park, Washington Arboretum or Mount Walker.
If you visit beautiful Oregon during late September to mid October and you know where to go – you can witness organic color transitions right before your eyes. Obviously, make sure to check out some eats in Portland, IYKYK.
It can be difficult to predict when leaves will turn in New Mexico. Therefore, fall foliage is cherished that much more due to fleeting vibrant colours that only last about a week in some places. Our recommendation? Keep plans loose and go wherever the color is upon arrival in this beautiful state. Don’t leave without hitting plenty of food trucks.
Any South Dakota local will tell you that Spearfish Canyon is your one stop shop for all things fall foliage. They’re not wrong. The best way to see it is to hop in your car and enjoy the 22-mile winding road of glowing pines, oaks and elms. Not to mention all of the incredible waterfalls along the route. It’s a drive to remember. Make a real trip of it by finding a local inn or lodge and stay awhile.
Go high or go home – we mean it. Enjoy fall foliage in all its glory from elevated spots like Timm’s Hill or Holy Hill. Or go drive along the peaceful coast of Lake Michigan. This helpful ‘Fall Colours Map and Forecast’ will aid your trip planning to ensure maximum leaf peeping!
There’s something truly special about Michigan during autumn months. The skies are crystal clear blue. The cascading, crunching and rustling of leaves as they fall from trees to the ground – and the COLOUR of the leaves is truly remarkable.
Oh, and don’t worry – we’ve got your digs sorted for you: just choose one of these 7 Cozy Cabins in Michigan.
Fall foliage descends over Tennessee slightly later in the year, anywhere from mid October to early November, depending on the elevation and temperature. Expect stunning displays of gold, red, yellow and orange in the Great Smoky Mountains in particular. Use their ‘Fall Foliage Prediction Map’ to ensure maximum colour.
The bugs have finally almost all disappeared, as have most of the summer tourists, and the air is as crisp as can be. It’s the perfect time to camp amongst some stunning fall foliage in charming Massachusetts. Check out Tully Lake Campground, Mohawk Trail State Forest, Mount Washington State Forest or any of these for the perfect camping adventure.
Foliage season in Connecticut is superb. Expect to see some of the most stunning colours you will ever see naturally occuring. The leaves will have you questioning whether they’re even real? Add the following spots to your list: Mattabesett Trail, Mount Misery, Gillette Castle and Macedonia Brook State Park.
1. New York
New Yorkers love all things fall – especially if it means an excuse to escape the city and head north, through the charming Hudson Valley and into Upstate New York. Leaf peeping in the Adirondack Mountains & Catskill Mountains usually peaks in the last two week of September and extends into the first week of October. Meanwhile the Finger Lakes, 1000 Islands and Niagara Falls burst beautifully into colour the second and third weeks of October.
There is nothing like spending time in the great outdoors to freshen you mind, body and soul. Looking for more trips? Check out The 7 Best Vermont Road Trips.