Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the USA

The colors of fall are more than beautiful, and once you add the nice crisp and cool air, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to get outside to have some fun. While the fall season arrives every year on September 23rd, that doesn’t mean that the fall foliage is at its peak just at that time.

In fact, depending on where you are looking for that amazing fall foliage, you can see it anytime from the middle of September all the way through the end of October or later. Therefore, you can definitely travel the country to see more fall foliage than you could ever have imagined!

Read also: 90 Fun Fall Activities for Families [Fall Bucket List Ideas]


The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the US

1. The Adirondacks in New York State

The Adirondacks are comprised of dozens of mountains and forty-six of them are considered part of the High Peaks, which are mountains that are close to four thousand feet or higher. The higher up you go in these mountains, the better your views of the fall foliage will be. The best spot to enjoy the fall season is Prospect Mountain, whether you hike to the top or make the drive up the long winding road.

Adirondacks in New York State


2. The Berkshires in Massachusetts

As with most of the northeast, the gorgeous fall foliage colors start to pop later in September and normally peak around Columbus Day in the Berkshires. There are numerous mountains to explore, but you can also see the trees while you are spending your days venturing between the galleries and antique shops in this cultural area.

Read also: 8 Off-Beat Places In The USA

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3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be found in both North Carolina and Tennessee, and while the area is beautiful in both, we prefer Tennessee. It is there that you can see the leaves on more than one hundred different species of native trees.

As you wander around approximately eight hundred miles of trails from early October until early November, you will find yourself mesmerized by all the crimson, orange, purple, and gold that you see. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee


4. Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

A visit to Columbia River Gorge is always best during the fall, because that is when the waterfalls are flowing, and the leaves are changing. As you wander along the trails, during the months of October and November, make sure that you take the time to stop and see the waterfalls.

Snap some pictures too, because the trees that surround the falls make a stunning sight. It is best to check with the Forest Service before heading out, as this area is prone to wildfires during the summer months and some areas are closed off for safety reasons. 


5. Bar Harbor in Maine

Towards the middle of October, you may want to be one of the thousands of people who decide to visit Bar Harbor, Maine. It is at this time of the year when the trees turn colorful and make the entire area look postcard perfect.

Don’t keep your eyes on the trees the entire time though, especially when you are in Acadia National Park, because you may have the opportunity to see a few whales during your visit too. 

Bar Harbor in Maine


6. Taos in New Mexico

If you have always wanted to explore New Mexico, the fall season will be the best time for your visit. Your best option is to drive along The Enchanted Circle, which is eighty-three miles long. As you take in the spectacular fall colors, you will see not only the town of Taos, but also Red River, Questa, and Eagle Nest. 


7. Aspen in Colorado

This town was named after the Aspen tree and when the leaves turn their signature yellow, you will see them shimmer and shine under the sun. The sparkling color instantly changes this part of the world, because it adds something unique to the green that is everywhere from the base to the top of the mountains.

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You must time your visit right in Aspen though, as their season is quite short, and these leaves will only sparkle from the middle of September until the end of the same month. 

Aspen in Colorado


8. Traverse City in Michigan

There are many different places to enjoy the fall foliage throughout the state of Michigan, but Traverse City is one of the best. You can choose to look at the trees from a distance at any of the sandy beaches, but we truly love the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. When you go there, you must tackle at least part of the twenty-seven-mile Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, as it is the best way to see as many colorful leaves as possible in one day. 



On a final note…

These may be the best places to see fall foliage in the US, but there are many others that you can choose for your next fall outing. So, choose one and venture out now to see some of the best colors of the year. 



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Author's Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the company in question before planning your trip.

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18 thoughts on “Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the USA”

  1. Yes! These places are so beautiful and I would love to see them all. My hubs and I need to just do a fall color road trip. One place not mentioned, however, and a place that photographers travel from the world to shoot is Bishop, CA and the areas around mono lake. Check it out.

  2. Fall is such a beautiful ? time of year. Is there a trip, I wonder, where folks could hit all of these destinations during the peak of foilage colorage maybe within a week or two. That would be a neat package.

  3. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is perfect for an early morning walk. The different colors of leaves are lovely to behold.

  4. I love fall scenery so much! I’m fortunate to be your neighbour, living in Canada and we have so many beautiful places to see fall foliage as well!

  5. Thanks for this. I haven’t been to the USA but I will save this for future reference. Fall is my favorite season and I love all your photos. I also like the way you write ?


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