13 of the Best Spots to Explore this Fall

    By: Erin Newman-Mitchell + Save to a List

    The brisk weather, the beautiful colors, and the fresh, crisp air of autumn make it arguably the greatest season for hiking.

    Fall is a great time to get out and explore different sections of the U.S.! Here's a list of 13 locations to absolutely fall in love with this season. 

    And when you do go...remember to stay safe and stay healthy. Hydration is an important part of staying healthy while doing strenuous activities while exploring. An easy way to cover this essential is by bringing along a RapidPure Intrepid Water Bottle. The Intrepid Water Bottle is an excellent alternative to traditional bottles as it purifies your water (eight times faster than most) and keeps your water tasting great too!

    Northeast

    The East Coast experiences fall like no other. The New England States are renowned for their fall color. Here are a couple absolutely must visit locations found in the northeast:

    1. Smuggler's Notch, Vermont

    Photo by: Chris Mongeau

    A gorgeous spot with endless exploration opportunities and unique history, Smuggler's Notch of Vermont is a great destination to see some beautiful fall foliage. There is an abundance of hiking trails, long and short, and many gorgeous overlooks. It's a spot to definitely add to your list!

    Be sure to check out this adventure to find out details on visiting!

    2. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire


    Photo by: Chris Mongeau

    Not much of a hiker? Kancamagus Highway's scenic byway is a roughly 35 mile long highway stretching east to west located in northern New Hampshire. It is very well-known for its scenic views and overlooks, particularly during the fall foliage season.

    You can find more details on this adventure here.

    Southeast

    Take a trip to the southeast and not just for the beaches, but for the fall foliage! With several mountain ranges, the southeast is home to great exploration opportunities especially during the fall months.

    3. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

    Photo by: Brandon Dewey

    Shenandoah National Park extends through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. This park serves as a highly destined location of the south and for good reason. With stunning overlooks, hiking trails, views, and gorgeous colors, this national park is a must visit for both hikers and photographers alike.

    Here is an amazing adventure for stunning fall views in Shenandoah National Park.

    4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park


    Photo by: Joshua Moore

    From majestic waterfalls to gorgeous expansive landscapes, the Great Smoky Mountains of the Appalachian Mountains are more than a worthwhile experience when in Tennessee. There are miles and miles of different hikes and hundreds of different locations to explore in this 522,500 acre park. Plan your trip and pack your bags, because you're not going to want to miss out on this one!

    Here is a great adventure for hiking found in the Smokies that you may want to check out!

    5. Blue Ridge, Georgia

    Photo by: Eric Sullivan

    Located in northern Georgia, Blue Ridge is a quaint little mountain town. However small, it is famous for its fall foliage. It's definitely worth the visit if you find yourself exploring the south during the autumn months of October or November. The views are worth seeing and you won't have any regrets, guaranteed!

    Check out this adventure for some great tips on hiking this area.

    South

    When most people think of the south, fall foliage is most definitely not the first thing that comes to mind. Here are two incredible locations of the south to make you think otherwise:

    6. Robbers Cave State Park, Oklahoma


    Photo by: Jamie Fleck

    When many people think of Oklahoma, state parks may not immediately come to mind. However, the beauty that the Sooner state holds is hidden knowledge. Robbers Cave State Park, located in Wilburton, OK, is absolutely jaw-dropping especially during the fall season. Home of the Sans Bois Mountains, it's a very scenic location, perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

    Here is some more detailed information on hiking the bluffs of Robbers Cave State Park. Check it out!

    7. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas (Hometown Favorite)

    Photo by: Sarah Vaughn

    I'll share one of my absolute favorite parks for fall foliage near my hometown, Austin, Texas. Located around 2.5 hours from the capitol and in the center of the Texas Hill Country, Lost Maples is well known for its fall colors. Due to the heat of Texas, the state experiences a change in fall colors later in the season than most. Expect to see the change in leaf color in early November!

    Check out more of this central Texas adventure here!

    Mountain West

    It goes as no surprise that the central U.S., is home to beautiful landscapes, an abundance of wildlife, and most importantly, stunning fall colors during the autumn season. Here are a couple must visit National Parks found in the mountain west:

    8. Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado

    Photo by: Kyle Colby

    Some of the greatest fall adventures of the western U.S. can be found in the Colorful state of Colorado. The Rocky Mountain National Park is a highly destined national park located in northern Colorado with beautiful views of protected mountains and forests and an abundance of wildlife. Beautiful aspen trees in shades of yellow and orange span the entire park which make for beautiful landscapes during the autumn season. The views are like no other and most definitely well worth the trip.

    Be sure to check out this adventure for more information regarding visiting this national park.

    9. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

    Photo by: Brynn Schmidt

    Another great destination of the mountain west that's spectacular for autumn hikes is Grand Teton National Park located in northwest Wyoming. With expansive, beautiful, and protected mountain ranges, this 310,000 acre park is superb for a more chilly fall adventure.

    Check out this adventure for more details on visiting this spot!

    West Coast

    Popular for its beaches, perfect weather, and populous cities, California is also home to many great natural landscapes. While the list goes on for miles, here are just a couple:

    10. Yosemite National Park, California

    Photo by: Andy Best

    Yosemite's views are breathtaking regardless of the season. But fall is next level. Imagine massive mountains and rock formations surrounded by the warm colors of cypress and pine trees - yup, that's Yosemite during autumn. This park is undeniably gorgeous and arguably one of the U.S.' best national parks, don't miss it!

    Check out this adventure to find out more information on Yosemite's beautiful views and hikes.

    11. Sequoia National Park, California

    Photo by: Dane

    Sequoia National Park is an absolutely beautiful experience, no doubt named after the abundance of Giant Sequoia trees. While visiting this national park is a treat like no other, visiting during the fall is a whole other experience. With stunning fall colors on these massive trees, you've never seen anything like it.

    Here is an adventure you definitely need to check out when visiting this park.

    Northwest

    Well known for its lush and mossy greens, the pacific northwest experiences a wondrous fall of vibrant colors. Here are just a couple spots you have to visit during the autumn season:

    12. Leavenworth, Washington

    Photo by: Rose Freeman

    Leavenworth, WA is famous for its Christmas festival held every year but it really should be famous for its fall foliage. Following the heat of the summer, the entire town and surrounding mountains begin turning shades of reds, oranges, and yellows starting in September. It's most certainly a sight to behold!

    Here is an adventure favorite if you're ever in the area.

    13. Bend, Oregon

    Photo by: Sara Welge

    The fall foliage of central Oregon is most certainly not something to skip out on. In addition to the magnificent and massive waterfalls, the fall colors take the beauty of this state up a few notches. The state is also more quiet during the crispier season, perfect for wildlife watching, so get to planning your visit!

    Here are some details of a great hike along Tumalo Creek to get you started on your fall adventure in Oregon.


    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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