5 Top Places to See Vibrant Fall Foliage

5 Top Places to See Vibrant Fall Foliage

Fall Is The Season of Change


Fall is the season of change, and if spending these last few seasons indoors has left you pining for a change of scenery, the best remedy may be a hike or drive through a forest decked out in all its autumn splendor. So grab a pumpkin spice latte and read on to discover some of America’s best destinations for leaf-peeping.

Virginia to North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

Nothing feels more like a fairytale than watching mountain mists part to reveal coppery maples, yellow sassafras, and dusky purple dogwoods. This byway runs from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It rewards travelers with scenic overlooks, roadside shops, waterfall hikes, and chances to savor traditional fall brews—from freshly pressed apple cider at local orchards to a pint at one of Asheville’s microbreweries.

Peak color: Early October.

Vermont: Green Mountain Byway

This scenic New England drive travels from Route 100 in Waterbury to Stowe, then circles the Green Mountains and Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield, before sending drivers through the narrow cliffs of Smugglers’ Notch. The round trip showcases stunning orange sugar maples, red maples, yellow birches, and gold beech trees and offers hiking and camping at three state parks. Visitors looking for a bird’s-eye view of the foliage can take the Stowe Gondola Skyride or test their mettle on a zipline tour.

Peak color: Late September through early October.

New York: The Catskills

This wild and mountainous region of southeastern New York offers plenty of ways to take in the fall finery by foot, bike, road—or rail. Take the Catskill Mountain Railroad or Delaware & Ulster Railroad for a rustic ride through the autumn countryside, or climb the fire tower at Mount Utsayantha to see the hills alight with reds and oranges from sugar maple, beech, black cherry, and elm. Fall is a big deal in the Catskills, and villagers celebrate with pumpkin festivals, craft fairs, and sweet hard cider. So make sure you set aside time to take in the local and fall colors.

Peak color: Late September through mid-October.

New Mexico: Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

When desert nights turn crisp, so do the colors of the aspen trees, whose leaves warm from amber to gold and shimmer in the autumn wind


This round trip starts in Taos and winds through mountains, canyons, and ghost towns before returning through aspen, orange cottonwood, and scarlet scrub oak tunnels. Celebrate Oktoberfest in Red River or enjoy a scenic chairlift ride at Angel Fire Resort near Taos, and see why the Southwest easily rivals the Northeast for fall color.

Peak color: Late September to early October.

Michigan: Upper Peninsula State Parks

Five State Parks OF Vibrant Splender

To experience the full tapestry of fall, look no further than the five state parks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Ash, aspen, oak, beech, birch, tamarack, maple, and sycamore trees put on a fiery display from russet and copper to vibrant yellow, scarlet, and plum. Take in the leaves on a leisurely carriage ride through historic Mackinac Island State Park, or finish a waterfall hike with an ale at Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub in Tahquamenon Falls State Park—Michigan’s only brewery in a state park. Cheers!

Peak color: Late September through mid-October.


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