As the crisp fall air sweeps across the USA, so too does football season, pumpkin spice lattes, adorable boots, and autumn color ablaze with red, orange and yellow hues. You don’t have to travel far to take in the phenomenon of fall foliage. All across the U.S., from New England to the Pacific Northwest, deciduous trees put on their dazzling display of color. Check out my picks for the ten best places to see fall foliage. Or get out there and discover your own!
When a world-famous town is named after a tree, you know it’s an extraordinary specimen. Not too far from home for me, Aspen is certainly favorite of mine. Aspen season is short though. It kicks in during mid-September and peaks at the end of the month.
Estes Park, Colorado
While the swanky ski town of Aspen is a great place to view fall foliage, Colorado also offers Estes Park. Not far from Denver, Estes is the perfect place to view not only fall foliage, but also elk and other area wildlife this time of year. For a spookier fall experience, try one of the Ghost & History Tours at the Historic Stanley Hotel.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
This is a true fall foliage state, but if you want guaranteed great fall colors, go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. for good reason. There are more than 100 species of native trees One of the most popular places to see the leaves and wildlife is Cades Cove.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
The essential escape for urbanites in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia, the Berkshires provide world-class foliage viewing alongside notable art and culture.
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Michigan’s state forest system is the largest in the eastern U.S., encompassing nearly 4 million acres. Take your pick of the Upper Peninsula’s twenty-plus forested state parks.
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid is famous for two things: the 1980 Olympics and the longest fall foliage season on the East Coast. The rolling hills and major elevation changes mean that the Lake Placid region and nearby Adirondack Park give visitors a chance to see the changing leaves in one of the most pristine and protected landscapes in the country.
Glacier National Park, Montana
For the especially rugged adventurer, Glacier National Park is a dream fall foliage destination. By the end of September, all the park’s concessions have closed for the season, guests have gone home, and you pretty much have the entire park to yourself.
Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon
Located in Portland’s west hills above the Rose Garden in Washington Park, Portland Japanese Garden exhibits the ultimate color contrast between deep green colors and fall foliage highlights.
Napa Valley, California
In Wine Country, Fall means harvest season. In turn, some of the best vineyards in the world host crush parties. Journey along the famed Silverado Trail, where you’ll pass winery after winery with rows of grapevines shining in bold crimson and golden hues.
Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas
Located about an hour and 45 minutes outside of San Antonio near the town of Vanderpool is Lost Maples State Natural Area, one of best spots for fall foliage in all of the Lone Star State. In this part of the country, the leaves tend to change color closer to early-to-mid-November, so there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action.