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 sassafras 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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Sassafras Tree

Sassafras Tree

The sassafras tree is highly prized for its aromatic foliage. It grows well in Hardiness Zones 4 through 9 throughout most Eastern United States. It is very hardy and easy to grow. Sassafras Tree Is Stunning In The Fall It can be planted in dense thickets to produce brilliant foliage displays in fall or planted alone as a shade or ornamental type. When used in landscaping, seedlings and very young ones are preferred for transplanting, as older ones are generally challenging to transplant successfully. The seeds are also suitable for germination. Seeds are collected in the autumn and planted the following spring. Sassafras trees are medium-fast growers, with most types adding 13 to 24 inches to their height each year. At maturity, they reach 30 to 60 feet high and have a canopy that reaches 25 to 40 feet wide. The Sassafras Tree Likes Shade And Sun They thrive in areas with at least four hours of direct sunlight daily but also tolerate partial shade. This plant prefers soil with a low pH but can live in various soil types, including wet, acidic, and loamy soils. It is tallest when grown in well-drained, loamy soil or well-drained sandy soil. It is moderately drought-tolerant and can withstand some exposure to salt. Sassafras Trees Foliage Turns Bright Orange In The Fall Sassafras Tree has three types of leaves on its branches: a mitten-shaped leaf, a three-lobed leaf, and a simple oval-shaped leaf. In autumn, the leaves transform into brilliant orange, purple, red, and yellow foliage. The fruit is a 1/2-inch purple berry that appears in autumn, and both male and female flowers produce fragrant yellow blooms. The bark is reddish brown and furrowed, and at maturity, the tree has a rounded shape with thin branches.

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