destinations to see fall color

Top 10 Destinations To See Fall Color

It’s no secret that one of the greatest things about autumn is seeing leaves change color. Sadly, however, many people go their entire lives without getting to witness the most brilliant fall leaves the country has to offer. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel that far to see fantastic fall foliage. This beautiful natural wonder occurs in spots across the country, and here is a countdown of the top 10 destinations to see Fall color that are worth your while.

Top 10 Destinations To See Fall Color

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

10. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

New England is the first region people think of when it comes to fall colors, but there’s plenty to see on the opposite side of the country as well. The scenery in the Columbia River Gorge is naturally breathtaking year-round (waterfalls and majestic views of the river see to that), but it is particularly amazing when the deciduous trees change to bright yellow in the fall. The best time to go is actually in late October, when trees at all elevations will be in full color.

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley, California

9. Napa Valley, California

Another West Coast destination, Napa Valley is traditionally known more for its wine than its fall foliage. However, the usual Indian summer during September and October brings forth some of the most unique, most vivid fall colors around. So, head up to this wine country during harvest season and witness row after row of grapevines in red and gold, surrounded by hills dotted with equally brilliant trees. To see the most fall colors, take the Silverado Trail.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan

8. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan

The Great Lake State’s Upper Peninsula explodes in color during the fall season, and the best place to see it is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (in the counties of Ontonagon and Gogebic). Though the mountains here are small, they are absolutely covered in over 100 different tree species and are very alive in color during autumn. If you travel along Lake Superior, the colors pop even more against the backdrop of rich blue waters. For the best views, go between late September and mid-October.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

7. Portland, Maine

Although it is one of Maine’s largest cities, Portland is also one of those picturesque New England spots that still rings of the wild beauty and nostalgia of colonial days. The autumn colors here are so vivid and diverse that the city regularly offers fall foliage reports and maps (just visit the city website). Drive along the coast or stroll down the city’s tree-lined streets in early October for peak color views.

Green Mountain Byway, Vermont

Green Mountain Byway, Vermont

6. Green Mountain Byway, Vermont

Vermont has some of the prettiest fall foliage in the Northeast, and there’s no better way to see it than the Green Mountain Byway. This 11-mile road snakes through the Green Mountains, between the towns of Waterbury and Stowe. Thanks to the region’s temperate summers and year-round precipitation, the local sumac, maples, oaks, birches and sweet gum trees turn into vivid golds and reds during autumn. These colors reach their peak between the last week of September and the first week of October, although you’ll still be able to see bright colors for the duration of each month.

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado

5. Aspen, Colorado

People don’t necessarily think of Colorado right away when it comes to autumn leaf changes, but the aspen trees that dot the center of the state are truly breathtaking during this season. Colors range from brilliant yellow to orange and bright red, and there’s nowhere better to see them than in the city that derives its name from these trees. And with the Rocky Mountains rising up in the background, you’ll get some of the best photo ops in the country. The season here is short though — the best window of time to see these beautiful trees starts in mid-September and wraps up by the first week in October.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

4. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

This national park is as scenic as it comes, and through the month of October its locust, maple, oak, sumac, and sassafras trees burst into a mix of reds and yellows. While just strolling around on one of the park’s trails will let you see its glory, the best views come with driving through the 105-mile long “Skyline Drive”. With plenty of overlooks and the Appalachian mountains in the background, there’s more than enough to take in.

Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico

Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico

3. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico

The American Southwest is probably the last region anyone would think has gorgeous fall colors, but the Land of Enchantment is full of surprises. Winding through valleys, mesa, and mountains, the 83-mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway offers full display of its forests in color for fall. Its cottonwood trees change to golds and reds, while aspen trees morph into bright, buttery yellows. Come in either September or October for the best views.

The Lakes Region, New Hampshire

The Lakes Region, New Hampshire

2. The Lakes Region, New Hampshire

The trees dotting the shores and surrounding areas of Lake Ossipee, Mirror Lake, Lake Winnisquam, Newfound Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire are renowned for their beauty in autumn. While the red maples are the true standouts here, there are many other kinds of deciduous trees to behold in yellow and orange shades. To get the best views, you can either take a boat out on the lakes or hop a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. For truly vivid colors, head there between late September through the end of October.

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

1. The Berkshires, Massachusetts

This is where fall foliage viewing became a famous American pastime. Many people from Boston and New York have a long tradition of traveling to this Western Massachusetts highland region to see its long tree-lined corridors and rolling hills of fall colors. The most scenic route is along the historic Mohawk Trail, which is actually considered one of the most beautiful drives in the entire state. The most brilliant fall foliage can be seen between late September and mid-October.

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