One of the most amazing natural phenomena of the year, the burst of colour as green leaves change gold, blood-red, chartreuse, deep purple, pumpkin orange, and other magnificent fall hues, can be appreciated in a variety of landscapes thanks to the geographic diversity of the United States.
This list of some of the top locations to visit to take in America’s breathtaking fall foliage while it lasts was created after consulting with travel professionals, tour operators, and leaf-peeping guides.
Beautiful golden aspens are the source of the majority of the autumn hues in the West. With its scarlet-hued oaks and maples arranged against the striking backdrop of the towering burnt orange rock formations that are typical of this region of the country, Sedona offers something a little different. The 3-mile walk along Oak Creek is one of Arizona’s most popular treks for a reason. Visit Oak Creek Canyon, 3 miles north of Sedona, to take in the scenery by car or on foot. Open-air trains on the Verde Canyon Railroad excursion are also great for watching the leaves change.
9.Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
One of the most picturesque places in the nation to view the autumn foliage is along this well-traveled route through the Berkshires. It travels via a number of quaint tiny towns that are surrounded by red oak and maple trees that turn gold and scarlet in the autumn. The 25-mile Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway in the southern Berkshires provides an alternate route for tourists who would rather follow a less-traveled path.
8.Belleplain State Forest, New Jersey
Belleplain has a long autumn season, offering leaf-peepers plenty of time to take in the colours because Belleplain is close to the seaside and experiences mild temperatures. The 21,000 acres of forest are vibrant with the hues of Atlantic white cedar, oak, red maple, cranberry, and sweet gum. A 26-acre lake that was formerly a cranberry bog, Lake Nummy, reflects the changing leaves. The country’s oldest beach resort town, Cape May, which is also a lovely place to see autumn colours, sits right close to the forest.
7.Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan
Almost everywhere in Michigan’s rugged and lonely Upper Peninsula delivers breathtaking autumn colours thanks to its 7 million acres of lush forest. There are more than a hundred different types of deciduous trees, such as tamarack, sycamore, oak, ash, aspen, beech, maple, and birch, whose beautiful hues are reflected in Lake Superior’s huge waters. Typically, colour bursts begin in mid-September and peak in October. The U.P. as a whole won’t let you down when it comes to fall foliage, but Michigan’s northernmost tip, the Keweenaw Peninsula, has lengthy lengths of Lake Superior coastline that are lined with old lighthouses.
6.Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
The best autumn foliage in the Southeast may be found over this 105-mile stretch on the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A fun road trip can be had by travelling via Shenandoah National Park, passing Luray Caverns, and a number of Virginia vineyards. However, the trees are what really draw attention: crimson Virginia creeper, purple dogwoods, yellow and orange hickory, sumac, locust, sassafras, and more. The second or third week of October typically sees the height of the colours, making it a quick weekend getaway from Washington, D.C.
5.Central Park, New York City
You don’t have to go on a wilderness walk to witness the leaves change. While the Adirondacks and the Catskills in upstate New York have stunning foliage, Central Park in New York City has the same hues in full bloom. Walk along the Mall, which is surrounded on either side by stands of American elms. It’s one of the biggest and last remaining stands of American elms in the nation. One of Central Park’s most iconic elements, the promenade, is covered in a yellow canopy created by their branches. Take a trip around the reservoir and stop by Strawberry Fields for additional opportunity to observe the changing leaves.
4.Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico
Although New Mexico might not immediately come to mind when considering autumnal hues, the Southwest’s mesas and mountain panoramas add a distinctive twist to leaf-peeping. This 83-mile round crosses Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest peak at 13,161 feet, and begins and concludes in Taos, a worthwhile destination in and of itself. Most of the trees are golden aspens, but there are also cottonwoods in a variety of colours, purple cinquefoils, and an opportunity to see elk, eagles, and black bears. The ideal time to go is in late September or early October.
Aspen, known for its opulent ski resorts, is much more laid back and less crowded in the autumn than it is in the winter. Aspen trees interspersed with evergreen pines cover the mountain sides in hues of gold and yellow. There is a tonne of hiking to be done, including hikes to the most famous mountains in America, Maroon Bells and Cathedral Lake. If you’re in a car, take Castle Creek Road up to see the golden aspens. If you go in the second half of September, the show will almost certainly be over by mid-October.
The hamlet of Whitefish serves as the entrance to Glacier National Park, and both the park and the town are fantastic locations to view stunning autumn foliage. For views of Big Mountain and the surrounding forests, drive down Highway 35 on the east side of Flathead Lake, or kayak or canoe on the lake, the largest natural body of freshwater in the West.
As well as common trees like maple, aspen, birch, cottonwood, huckleberry and evergreens, this area is home to rare larch trees, which are deciduous conifers that turn a bright yellow in the autumn and lose their needles in the middle of October. In September, the majority of other trees display their most vibrant hues. The most well-known driving route through the park is Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan’s Pass.
1.Lake Placid, New York
The autumn foliage in the Adirondack Mountains is among the most varied in the nation thanks to the abundance of color-changing trees there, including sugar maple, birch, oak, aspen and beech. A great place to enjoy the autumn rainbow reflected in Lake Placid’s waters is there. Other vistas can be seen along Route 86, which travels northeast along the Au Sable River bluffs, and the 170-mile Olympic Trail byway, which passes through the village of Lake Placid. Early to mid-October is when the colour change will be at its peak.