Best Fall Foliage in the USA: 22 Colorful Places to Go Leaf Peeping!

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If you are considering a leaf-peeping fall getaway, you’ll be spoiled for choice on places to go for the best fall foliage in the USA.

From the picture postcard back roads of New England to the mountain vistas along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and from less traveled but equally stunning places in the Midwest to the Rockies in Colorado and the Eastern Sierra of California, you’ll find fall foliage destinations all across the country.

And along with viewing fall colors, in many places you can go wine tasting or cider tasting, enjoy apple picking, visit pumpkin patches, and sample fall menus at restaurants.

Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan offers some of the best fall colors in the USA!
Waterfalls and fall foliage go so well together! Pictured: Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan

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With mild weather in most places, fall is an excellent time to enjoy the outdoors, and our round-up of the best fall foliage destinations in the USA gives you the scoop on places to go hiking, biking, scenic driving, boating, and more.

While we’ve mentioned the time fall colors generally peak in each location, you’ll want to follow the websites or social media accounts of the parks or regions you plan to visit, to get up-to-date information on fall foliage status.

And while we’ve described a few off-the-beaten track places to go leaf-peeping, plan your fall foliage getaway for during the week if you want to visit a popular location. We’ve been stuck for hours on Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire at peak fall color viewing time more than once, and it’s a tiny stretch of road less than 35 miles long.

Ready to plan your fall foliage viewing trip? Let’s get started discovering the best places to visit for fall colors in the US!

Best Fall Colors in the USA: Where to Go!

1. Route 100, Vermont

One of the most renowned drives for fall foliage in the USA, Vermont’s scenic Route 100 is quintessential New England.

The north-south road stretches for just over 216 miles through the heart of the state, along the eastern edge of the Green Mountains, and includes some of the best places to visit in Vermont, including Wilmington, Dover, Ludlow, and Stowe.

Stowe, VT in the fall
Stowe in the fall

In the fall, the brilliant leaf shades of yellow, orange, red, and rust make the road a riot of color. Plus, the drive offers lots of side roads to explore for even more leaf peeping, beautiful waterfalls, views of the mountains, and great shopping and dining along the way.

You can do a multi-day road trip starting in Wilmington in the south and going all the way up to Newport in the north, or you can drive a stretch of the road over a day or a weekend.

Be sure to stop at Jamaica State Park for gorgeous fall color at peak. Hike or bike the West River Rail Trail, and, if you have the time, hike to lovely Hamilton Falls for great leaf peeping.

Stop to snap photos of Moss Glen Falls in Granville: the viewing area is a very short walk from Route 100. The postcard worthy waterfall is framed by beautiful leaf colors in the fall.

The Waterbury and Stowe area is possibly the most famous stretch of Route 100, and also the most popular. Stop at the Ben & Jerry’s factory for ice cream!

Stowe is a super picturesque town year round, but it is a stunner in the fall. Photographers come from all over to snap photos of Stowe’s famous white church against the backdrop of blazing fall colors.

One of the best things to do in Stowe is riding the gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield. You can also drive up, or hike to the summit. The fall colors are beautiful and expansive.

Along the way, stay at charming New England inns, enjoy local cuisine, and sample craft beers and ciders, for which Vermont is famous!

Peak fall color along Vermont Route 100 generally occurs from the middle to the end of September, but you’ll likely see some color just before and after as well.

Suggested by us

2. White Mountains, New Hampshire

Visiting New England in the fall is a bucket list trip, and one of the best destinations for fall foliage in the region has to be the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. 

Whether you only have a weekend or you can take a full week to bask in all the beauty, focus your trip on the 35-mile Kancamagus Highway — sometimes just called “The Kanc” — which offers countless opportunities for foliage views with scenic overlooks dotted along the way.

You’ll drive through White Mountain National Forest so you should also plan to stop for hikes en route.

Fall colors along the Swift River in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
The White Mountains offer some of the best fall foliage viewing in the USA!

Start in Conway, where you can hike the South Moat Mountain Trail for a challenge that yields awesome views as your reward. Once you get to Lincoln (at the other end of the scenic drive), plan to hike the Franconia Ridge Trail Loop for another challenging trail that offers incredible views.

Not into hiking? Then seek out all the iconic covered bridges in the area for photo ops instead. Saco River Covered Bridge is in Conway, and then you can also head to Albany Covered Bridge as you drive along The Kanc. 

You also might want to check out The Hobo Railroad for an 80-minute journey through the White Mountains and along the Pemigewasset River.

There are tons of fun things to do in the White Mountains beyond just admiring the pretty fall colors, including popular shopping destinations, mountainside tramways and railways, and plenty of breweries to explore.

Colors along the Kancamagus Highway usually peak in the first part of October, although each year is different. Expect to see some fall colors in the White Mountains from mid September until the end of October.

Suggested by Amanda of Hey! East Coast USA

3. Acadia National Park, Maine

Considered one of the top national parks to visit in October, Acadia National Park is a favorite destination for leaf peepers that love outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

With spectacular views of the ocean, the picturesque Bass Harbor Head Light, and hiking trails for all skill levels, Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island in northeastern Maine.

Acadia National Park in Maine offers some of the best fall foliage in the USA.
Fall foliage along the Park Loop Drive in Acadia National Park

While the park is one of the best places to visit in Maine year round, fall offers the additional draw of exceptional leaf color along trails, the scenic Park Loop Road, and the many carriage roads.

Drive Park Loop Road not only to enjoy fall foliage, but also to access many of the major sights in Acadia National Park. If the weather is nice, you can hike the Ocean Path Trail to take in the views at Sand Beach and Otter Point and view the magnificent Thunder Hole in action.

The walk around Jordan Pond also offers fall leaf peeping, and you can stop for popovers at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant afterwards.

Rent a bike and ride some of the pretty carriage roads in the park. Or hike a couple of uphill trails in Acadia National Park to get expansive views over the hills covered in fall colors from above.

The charming village of Bar Harbor makes a great base from which to explore Acadia National Park. You’ll see fall colors in town as well, and you can enjoy fresh seafood at a table overlooking the water, or take a boat trip from the harbor.

For some of the best fall foliage in the US, visit Acadia National Park in early to mid-October, when colors usually peak here.

Suggested by us

4. The Eastern Sierra, California

While California Highway 1 gets all the limelight when it comes to California road trips, Highway 395 through the Eastern Sierra in the eastern part of the state is an absolute delight in the fall.

With leaf color from aspen, cottonwood, and willow, Highway 395, and the many side roads leading off it into the mountains, offer some of the best fall foliage viewing in the US.

The Eastern Sierra of California offer some of the best fall foliage in the USA.
Fall colors at Conway Summit along Highway 395 in California

The craggy backdrop of the mighty Sierra Nevada and the many pristine alpine lakes and creeks in the region combine with the yellows, oranges, and reds of leaf colors to create picture postcard scenes all across the region.

The resort town of Mammoth Lakes makes the perfect base from which to explore fall colors in the Eastern Sierra.

Do the scenic June Lake drive, and drive up the mountain passes — Sonora, Tioga, and Monitor are all excellent options! Bishop Creek Canyon is another showy fall foliage area, and you can drive up to three lakes.

Just south of Mammoth Lakes, the small but super picturesque Convict Lake is a great fall destination, with a hiking trail that takes you all around the lake. You can also rent a boat at the marina and take in the colors on the shore from the water.

The town of Mammoth Lakes itself offers many hiking and biking trails that allow you to get up close to the fall colors. The lakes of the Lower Mammoth Lakes Basin are easy to access by car, and you can also opt to hike to lakes in the Upper Basin.

Away from the fall foliage, admire the street art in Bishop, visit the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine, and hike among the gorgeous rock formations in the Alabama Hills.

Fall colors in the Eastern Sierra generally peak in the first part of October, but you’ll see color before and after as well. Mono County and Inyo County offer fall color updates on their websites.

Suggested by us

5. Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

One of the best destinations in the United States to see fall foliage is along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Skyline Drive follows the Blue Ridge Mountains through Virginia.

A view from Skyline Drive in Virginia in the fall
Skyline Drive is one of the top places to see fall colors in the USA!

While Shenandoah is a popular destination year round, it becomes even more exceptional for a few weeks from late September until the end of October. During this time, the tree-clad mountains come to life in shades of yellow, orange, and red for as far as the eye can see. 

Skyline Drive in the park is particularly intriguing for fall foliage as it follows the ridge of the mountains and has turnouts every so often when there is a break in the forest for views. Since the road follows the ridge, you don’t even have to do any hikes to get these views.

Aside from foliage views, Shenandoah offers numerous hikes that are steeper than you’d expect for little mountains that are more like rolling hills. There are hikes for everyone, from casual walks in the park to strenuous climbs.

Also be advised that Skyline Drive and all the hikes can get extremely crowded in October. It’s the busiest time in the park and being so close to Washington D.C., it’s a popular day trip for the 6 million or so people who live in the D.C. metro region. 

Outside the park boundaries, there are several things to do when you’re looking for a break from leaf peeping.

You can explore one of the many underground cave networks, like Luray Caverns. Or taste some Virginia wines at one of the many wineries east of the park. Or better yet, both!

Peak colors in Shenandoah usually occur around mid-October. But as with anywhere, it depends on the weather each year. For daily updates, be sure to follow Shenandoah National Park on Instagram or Facebook.

Good to know: The Blue Ridge Mountains are known for fantastic fall colors and, if you want a longer trip, you can also consider driving the Blue Ridge Parkway for one of the most epic East Coast road trips!

Suggested by Chris of Around the World with Me

6. The Hudson Valley, New York

The Hudson Valley in New York is one of the best places in the entire USA to see the fall foliage, because so many of the trees here change color. There are thousands of sugar maple trees, oaks, and many others.  

The valley lies on both sides of the Hudson River between New York City to the south and the state capital, Albany, to the north.

There are several state parks and preserves where the fall colors are especially sensational. They include Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Preserve. The nearby Catskill Mountains are also spectacular, and there are multiple hiking trails and scenic drives in these areas. 

Fall in Minnewaska State Park, New York
Fall in Minnewaska State Park PC: Travel Collecting

The valley is also an agritourism hotspot and fall is the best season of all. There are corn mazes and hay rides for kids, and pumpkin patches where you can find your next jack o’lantern just waiting to be carved.

Of course, you’ll also find plenty of u-pick apple orchards. Several places, like Twin Star Orchards and Stone Ridge Orchards, sell freshly-made wood-fire pizza that you can eat in and near the orchards. 

Adults can enjoy sampling cider and wine, as there are several cideries and wineries in the region. Fall is harvest season and prime time to relax next to a vineyard or apple orchard, sampling the local growers’ wares.  

Because the valley is so long, and because there are hilly sections, the foliage season is long.

The fall color starts in the north and the hills as early as late September and stretches into early November near New York City.

The peak weekends in the mid Hudson Valley are typically the two weekends in the middle of October, though this can vary slightly from year to year. 

Suggested by James Ian from Travel Collecting 

7. Asheville, North Carolina

If you are searching for the best places to see fall foliage in the US, look no further than Asheville, North Carolina.

Here visitors can experience one of the longest fall color seasons in the nation! The Blue Ridge Mountains offer an incredible range of elevations creating a stunning display of fall colors that you won’t want to miss.

Fall color at the Rough Ridge Tunnel along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC
Fall foliage viewing along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville

Beginning in late September, the higher elevations just outside of Asheville start to show the first signs of fall. As the season progresses, the colors become more vibrant and trickle down throughout Asheville and the surrounding lower elevations.

For peak leaf-peeping season in Asheville, plan to visit in October and early November.

One of the best places to see the fall colors in Asheville is at the iconic Biltmore Estate, where the grounds are filled to the brim with colorful trees, shrubs, and flowers in deep oranges, golds, dark reds and bright yellows.

You can hike the nearly 22 miles of trails on the grounds, or take a guided bike ride to see the fall colors at the estate. Wine lovers will want to enjoy the complimentary wine tastings.

Or plan to attend the annual Art and Crafts Fair at Biltmore Village, where talented artists create, display, and sell unique artisan crafts perfect for gifting during the holiday season. The fair is usually held in September.

Take a drive out to Graveyard Fields for early-in-the-season fall color. Hike to see beautiful waterfalls against a colorful backdrop of fall leaf colors. Grandfather Mountain is another popular place from which to take in the colors.

Or visit Mount Mitchell State Park, where you can see fall colors along the lower slopes and take in the fantastic view from the summit.

Fall is the season for delicious apple cider, and the Local Urban Orchard Cider Co. in Asheville produces more than 50 types of hard cider. Crafted with apples grown in Hendersonville, N.C., these crisp ciders are the perfect beverage for the autumn season.

And the cidery produces tasty seasonal options during the fall months including ciders infused with fruits, herbs, and spices. It’s like fall in a cup and is definitely worth a taste!

Suggested by Erin of The Simple Salty Life

8. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen fall colors are glorious! As the shimmering yellow leaves from the quaking aspens light up the mountains here, leaf peepers rejoice at the transformation of this upscale mountain community into an autumn paradise.

It’s one of the most scenic times of year to hike dozens of mountain trails here and enjoy the vibrant downtown foodie scene.

Plus, Insta-famous Maroon Bells—with its two bell-shaped mountain peaks—is just 10 miles outside of Aspen. It’s a popular destination for both  bicyclists and photographers this time of year and is one of the most photographed peaks in America.

Fall in Maroon Bells, Colorado, near Aspen
Come fall, Maroon Bells is one of the most stunning photo spots in Colorado!

If you’d rather skip the cycling, just make a shuttle reservation ahead of time.

While you’re in town, be sure to take a scenic drive up Castle Creek Road with plenty of stops for gobsmacking panoramic views and fall colors.

Leave time to wander through Ashcroft, too. It’s a historic silver mining ghost town that was once home to 13 saloons and 2,000 residents.

Film fanatics should time a fall visit for the Aspen Film Festival in September. The popular Snowmass Balloon Festival is held this month, too.

The best time for leaf peeping? Expect the quaking aspens to turn gold in September at higher elevations and then work their way down the mountains. Peak foliage tends to be late September, although some years it lasts into October, too.

Suggested by Chris of Explore Now or Never

9. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

If you’re looking for a gorgeous place to go leaf-peeping in the fall, look no farther than Michigan. Well, okay, look a little farther north, to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula – or UP – of Michigan flies under the radar as a destination for fall color, possibly because it’s so far north that a lot of non-Midwesterners forget that it’s not part of Canada!

Fall at Pictured Rocks National Seashore in Michigan
Fall at Pictured Rocks PC: A Dangerous Business

Bordering three different Great Lakes, the Upper Peninsula is a great destination to add to any Michigan fall color road trip.

And the cool thing about leaf-peeping in the UP is that you can do and see a lot of other things at the same time.

For example, you can see excellent displays of fall color on a boat tour on Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, or go for a hike around the Lake of the Clouds in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Or do the Brockway Mountain Drive from Copper Harbor to Eagle Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula, and see the impressive waterfalls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park surrounded by brilliant yellows and oranges.

The best time to visit the Upper Peninsula for fall color is usually the last few days of September into the first few days of October. But keep in mind that areas immediately along the lakeshore (like Pictured Rocks and Copper Harbor) have a slower color change, and usually peak closer to mid-October.

The good news is, your chance of seeing fall colors is excellent as long as you plan your trip around early October!

Suggested by Amanda of A Dangerous Business Travel Blog

10. The Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania

The Laurel Highlands area, located in Western Pennsylvania, has some of the best fall foliage in the USA.

From hiking to exploring the cutest small town of Ligonier, PA, there’s so much to do here on a fall getaway.

To experience the best fall foliage in the scenic Laurel Highlands, hiking in Laurel Hill State Park or Ohiopyle is a must. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is also located here, and it’s beautiful when it’s surrounded by the changing leaves.

Fall at Laurel Hill State Park in Pennsylvania
Go hiking in Laurel Hill State Park! PC: Toddling Traveler

You can also find several fall festivals in the area, including Autumnfest at Seven Springs, Fort Ligonier Days, and Apple Fest in Delmont. 

The best place to stay in Laurel Highlands in the fall is Ligonier, PA, with several options from cute cottages to bed & breakfasts.

It’s a quaint small town that’s right out of a Hallmark movie, and you can experience the fall foliage all throughout Ligonier including the historic Fort Ligonier.

The town also holds an annual scarecrow contest, and it’s fun to take a stroll to see the different scarecrows sponsored by locally owned businesses. The nearby Compass Inn also offers special tours around Halloween. 

To experience peak fall colors in Laurel Highlands, be sure to visit in early to mid October. The weather is usually very mild this time of year, and you’ll catch the changing leaves before they start to fall.

Suggested by Amanda of Toddling Traveler

11. The Berkshires, Massachusetts

One of the best places for leaf peeping in the United States is the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.

What makes the Berkshires in Massachusetts one of the best autumn destinations in the country are its charming villages, farms, cozy inns and restaurants, wineries, cideries, and hiking trails.

The Berkshires also boast many rural areas that make the autumn colors stand out.

A rural road in the Berkshires in Massachusetts in the fall
Drive the rural roads in the Berkshires for brilliant fall foliage!

The best place to stay during fall in the Berkshires is the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. It’s a historic luxury inn based in the heart of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, near many great shops, art galleries, and hiking trails. They also decorate for Halloween!

Located in Stockbridge is the Hickey and Peeskawsko Peak Loop Trail on the Berkshires’ Monument Mountain. This 2.4-mile, moderate loop trail is the perfect place to surround yourself with beautiful foliage! There are also waterfalls and scenic overlooks on this hike.

Another excellent spot to enjoy autumn colors in the Berkshires is at Balderdash Cellars. It’s a fun spot to enjoy wine tasting, live music, and breathtaking views.

You cannot visit the Berkshires and miss out on seeing Ice Glen in Stockbridge! It’s a jaw-dropping hike consisting of rock piles covered in moss.

Other charming towns to visit in the Berkshires during fall are Lenox, Pittsfield, Great Barrington, North Adams, and Lee.

The best time to visit this underrated mountain region to see fall foliage is the month of October! Peak foliage usually happens in the middle of the month.

Suggested by Taylor of Brown Eyed Flower Child

12. Independence Pass, Colorado

One of the most scenic fall color drives in Colorado is Independence Pass. This steep, narrow, winding road high in the Rocky Mountains climbs to over 12,000 feet!

Along the way, you will see sweeping views of mountainsides blanketed in giant stands of golden aspen trees and red and orange ground cover.

Driving Highway 82 to Independence Pass Colorado
Driving to Independence Pass in Colorado

It takes just under three hours to drive straight from Denver to the top of Independence Pass. 

But you will want to make a whole day of the experience. Take time to stop and eat at one of the many restaurants along the way, explore old mining towns and hip ski villages, and fit in a few of the many fall color hikes.

Two must-stop fall color viewing points are Twin Lakes and La Plata Gulch.

At Twin Lakes, the valley opens up and provides panoramic views of the rugged mountain peaks to the west, covered with golden aspen trees. Views from La Plata Gulch can be accessed along an easy mile-long stroll.  

While the drive up Independence Pass can be done in one day, it can also be a great overnight trip with lodging options in the nearby towns of Aspen, Silverthorne, and Glenwood Springs.

The best time to see fall colors on Independence Pass is the last two weeks in September.  If you want to avoid the crowds, plan your drive mid-week and not over the weekend.

Suggested by Diane of Travels with Eli

13. The Adirondacks, New York

Head to the Adirondacks in northern New York for some of the best fall foliage the East Coast (and the US!) has to offer.

A few hours north of Manhattan, you’ll be blown away by the beauty of this area. If you’re looking for amazing leaf peeping with mountain top views of lakes and waterfalls sprinkled in, the Adirondacks is the place for you. 

Waterfall in the Adirondacks in New York in the fall
An Adirondack waterfall framed by fall foliage

Two of the best fall hikes in the Adirondacks are to Indian Head and Mount Jo.

The hike to Indian Head requires a permit and is about 11 miles roundtrip. Mount Jo is a fantastic short hike that is best at sunset to enjoy all the beautiful colors of the sky along with the changing leaves.

Or head to Connery Pond for a beautiful walk-up view of a large lake. Or switch it up and go kayaking on Lake George to experience the leaves from a different perspective.

Each year there are plenty of fall events to keep you entertained, such as the annual Lake George Jazz Fest or the Whiteface Oktoberfest.

The Whiteface Oktoberfest is a traditional German festival with authentic music, dancing, food, and beer!

Visit Rulfs Orchard to do some apple picking and visit a corn maze, petting zoo, and pumpkin patch. 

The best time to visit the Adirondacks for peak fall foliage is late September through early October. 

Suggested by Kate of Kate Roams the World

14. North Shore of Lake Superior, Minnesota

One of the best things about chasing the fall colors in northeastern Minnesota is that you have two windows to see the brilliant northern trees.  

Grand Portage, Minnesota
Fall at Grand Portage State Park in Minnesota PC: MN Trips

The Lake Superior North Shore area has two distinct seasons of fall colors: the inland maple trees found on the Sawtooth Mountains’ high ridges, and later, the aspens and birches directly along the shoreline.

The highland fall colors peak starting in mid-September, and can continue through early October, while the later shoreline peak begins in late September and runs through mid-October.

The Superior National Forest Byway begins at Silver Bay, 55 miles up Highway 61 from Duluth. Head inland, where you’ll be treated to the flame red of the native highland maples.

Alternatively, you can go another 55 miles up Highway 61 to Grand Marais, where you’ll enter the Gunflint Trail, which goes all the way to the Canadian border and rewards you with similar early fall season colors.

Cold air blowing off Lake Superior means peak fall colors come to the North Shore Scenic Byway (Hwy 61) about two weeks after the inland peak has begun.

The 175-mile byway closely follows the shore of the lake and leads to eight Minnesota state parks, where you can usually take short hikes to grab photos at the many spectacular waterfalls on the North Shore.

The many small towns along the North Shore route provide many opportunities for stopping for lunch. In Lutsen, you can take a ski lift gondola up the mountains for a birds-eye view of the colors.

Suggested by Tom of MN Trips

15. Brown County, Indiana

For leaf-peeping in the Midwest, not many spots are more stunning than Brown County, Indiana’s rolling hills and abundant forests.

Located just an hour south of Indianapolis, this lovely section of the state is well-known for its blazing fall colors. 

The easiest way to enjoy the foliage is with a hike or two at Brown County State Park. There are numerous trails ranging from easy to advanced that will showcase the fall colors to their best advantage.

Brown County State Park, Indiana
Blazing fall colors at Brown County State Park

In addition to the park, the nearby village of Nashville, Indiana is a delightful place to visit, with streets lined with unique shops, artisans, and local boutiques. A visit to the Village in the fall is a fantastic way to get started on holiday shopping.

Hard Truth Hills, which is a distillery/brewery/restaurant, is also located close to the state park, and every weekend in the fall is filled with concerts, special events, tastings, and classes.

Another fun option for the adult crowd is a tasting at Bear Wallows Distillery or Brown County Winery. 

The fall colors here start in late September and peak by mid-October, so these are the prime weeks to visit.

There are several local inns as well as lodging at the Brown County State Park, and with all there is to do, it’s well worth spending a few days enjoying a fall getaway.

Suggested by Pam of Our Adventure is Everywhere

16. Door County, Wisconsin

Get away this autumn and unwind and relax as you enjoy the calm atmosphere that takes over the peninsula and Washington Island, known as Door County.

You will find some of the most vibrant fall colors in all of Wisconsin in Door County.

Fall is a wonderful time not only to view fall foliage but also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, apple picking, and scenic boat tours.

Door County is a popular tourist destination in Wisconsin known for its small-town charm, natural landscapes, and beautiful fall scenic views with vibrant shades of red, gold, and orange in every direction.

Fall colors in Door County, Wisconsin
Driving a back road in Door County in the fall

Visitors will enjoy a scenic drive on their way to Peninsula State Park or Newport State Park, which are the ideal locations to immerse yourself in the beauty of fall as you can enjoy a variety of hiking trails.

If you want a different perspective, then consider viewing the panoramic views of fall leaves from the water with Fish Creek Scenic Boat tours. Enjoy the foliage along the shoreline of Peninsula State Park, learn about the historic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, and get an up-close view of Eagle Cave.

Door County has some of the best fall scenes in the Midwest, and there is nothing better than enjoying a day at a local orchard such as Seaquist Orchards, which has over 30 different varieties of apples.

Another great option for family fall fun is visiting Wood Orchard Market, which has pedal carts, a playground, and apple picking. 

The peak time to see the leaves change color in the area is late September or early October when you will be able to enjoy the best autumn scenes. If you are in town for a fall weekend, you will want to check out some of the best restaurants in Door County!

Suggested by Adam & Hannah of Getting Stamped

17. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is a scenic place to visit any time of year, but the contrast of fall colors against the iconic red rock canyons is what really makes Sedona a must-visit location for leaf viewing.

Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona
Cathedral Rock in Sedona in the fall

As you drive along the Red Rock Scenic Byway, the autumn colors of the Coconino National Forest greet you. Each turn offers a new, stunning view.

Sedona is also home to wildlife like mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, and even javelinas (wild pigs) that can sometimes be spotted in the forest from the highway.

Beyond the foliage, Sedona offers a variety of fall activities.

At the Sedona Heritage Museum’s Apple Harvest Festival, you can enjoy fresh apple pies and even learn about apple canning.

The Sedona Fall Arts Festival provides an opportunity to admire local art, and if you’re up for a little thrill, try Jerome’s Ghost Walk in the neighboring town. Then head back to town for a cold drink at one of the best breweries in Sedona!

For a different perspective on the changing leaves, consider a hot-air balloon ride. It offers a unique view of the landscape’s fall colors.

If you prefer keeping your feet on the ground, you can hike or bike along the West Fork Oak Creek trail, a path beautifully lined with changing maple and boxelder trees during fall.

Plan your visit for the last weeks of October to early November to catch the peak fall colors. Visit during the week to avoid weekend crowds. 

Suggested by Tiana of Where Tiana Travels

18. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

If you’re looking for one of the most unique places to see fall foliage in the United States, head to Washington State’s Mount Rainier National Park.

While most people think of fall foliage on deciduous trees, Mount Rainier offers something a bit different—the shrubs and wildflowers blanketing its mountain slopes turn blazing colors of scarlet, gold, and burnt orange, come fall. 

Fall colors at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State.
Bright fall colors at Mount Rainier

You’ll find plenty of hikes in Mount Rainier to see this spectacular display.

For example, one of the most popular trails in the park is the Skyline Loop, where you’ll climb through fields of wildflowers, like Indian paintbrush and blueberries, to get up close and personal with Rainier’s massive glaciers.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, try snagging a backpacking permit to the seriously underrated Summerland Trail, where you’ll hike through autumnal wildflowers and camp in the shadow of Washington’s tallest mountain. 

If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, consider a scenic drive along Chinook Scenic Byway, which winds through the national park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Along the 107 mile route, you’ll pass stunning waterfalls, glaciated mountains, and, of course, plenty of vibrant fall foliage.

Fall is also an excellent time to spot wildlife in the park, like elk, black bear, and marmots, as they frantically scurry around and prepare for Rainier’s famously harsh and snowy winters. 

The best time to visit Mount Rainier to enjoy the fall foliage is between mid-September through early October—after that you risk encountering ice, snow, and even road closures in the park.

Suggested by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler

19. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

One of the best places to see fall foliage in the USA is Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. 

This incredible oasis of natural beauty sits in between Cleveland and Akron. It is a great spot to do a bit of leaf peeping since there are large swaths of wooded areas to explore, giving you plenty of chances to see vibrantly colored leaves.

Plus, this park is one of the lesser-known national parks in the country. Therefore, crowds will be less intense than in more famous parks, making for a more relaxed fall foliage viewing experience.

To see the best fall foliage in the area, visit the Ledges Overlook, Blue Hen Falls, Brandywine Falls, the Old Carriage Trail, and Kendall Lake.

Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley NP, Ohio, in the fall
Brandywine Falls in autumn!

And don’t leave without taking some amazing pictures at Everett Covered Bridge, since it is one of the most picturesque spots here. 

You can also take a walk along the famous Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath before taking a ride on the famous Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to enjoy the best fall foliage in Ohio

And to enjoy peak colors in the area, time your visit for the third week of October. The timing doesn’t vary too much from year to year since daylight patterns and weather conditions rarely change here.

Suggested by Linda of Midwest Explored

20. Portland, Oregon

While Portland is known for being a rainy destination in the Pacific Northwest, that rain supports a beautiful ecosystem that blossoms in spring and fall.

Specifically, in the fall, you’ll see some incredible fall foliage with bright reds, oranges, and yellows around the city.

One of the best things to do in fall is visit the Japanese Garden. Not only are the colors beautiful, but the garden is a must visit on every Portland itinerary. They have an impressive castle wall, waterfalls, and tranquil pathways that you’ll love.

Japanese maple in Portland, Oregon in the fall
The Japanese Garden in Portland is a must-visit in the fall!

Other amazing gardens in Portland include Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Lan Su Chinese Garden, and the Hoyt Arboretum.

Beyond gardens, in the fall, you can watch an NBA Trailblazers game, visit the Oaks Park Scaregrounds for haunted walkthroughs, and attend the Killer Pumpkin Festival.

If you have more time in Portland, don’t miss a day trip to Columbia River Gorge where the fall colors really turn the area aglow. Top sights in this area include Multnomah Falls (you’ll want to go first thing in the morning to avoid crowds), Rowena Crest viewpoint, and Horsetail Falls. You’ll find numerous hikes along the scenic drive.

Fall colors usually peak in Portland in mid-October but depending on the year, they can start showing up in late September and can continue into mid-November.

Suggested by Alanna of Periodic Adventures

21. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

One of the most beautiful national parks to visit in the fall is Grand Teton National Park. This park is gorgeous year-round, but in the fall, it takes on a whole new level of impressive.

The stunning colors of fall can be found scattered throughout the park, against the backdrop of the towering mountain peaks and reflecting in the crystal-clear lakes. You can enjoy them on scenic drives and lovely hiking trails in the park. 

Grand Teton National Park in the fall
Grand Teton National Park is a photographer’s paradise in the fall

Leaf viewing is a great reason to visit Grand Teton National Park in the fall, but there are other reasons as well.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, fall is the mating season for elk and bison, so you have a higher chance of spotting them, as well as other wildlife, including moose and bears. 

You can also enjoy a boat tour on Jenny Lake or Jackson Lake in early fall. These tours offer a unique perspective of the park’s scenery and are a fantastic way to relax and appreciate the surroundings.

Or, if you prefer to travel on foot, there are plenty of hikes in the park from which to choose. Popular trails include Cascade Canyon, Taggart Lake, and Jenny Lake.

Fall is also an excellent time for fishing in the park’s lakes and rivers. The cooler temperatures attract trout and other fish species. Make sure to check fishing regulations and obtain the required permits.

And don’t forget, fall in Grand Teton National Park provides incredible opportunities for photography. You can capture the colorful foliage, mirror-like reflections on the lakes, and even the native wildlife.

While fall foliage viewing in Grand Teton National Park starts in early September and doesn’t end until mid-October, visit in the third or fourth week of September for the best chance of catching fall colors at peak. 

Suggested by Janae of Adventures With TuckNae

22. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park is an excellent place to view fall foliage in the USA.

This magnificent park, located in Montana, showcases an impressive diversity of bright colors during the fall, making it the perfect spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Fall in Glacier National Park, Montana
Fall in Glacier National Park

You’ll be surrounded by a landscape covered in yellow, orange, and red against a backdrop of tall mountains and crystal-clear lakes.

Besides the incredible foliage, there are numerous attractions and activities to enjoy in Glacier National Park during the fall.

You can hike along the park’s many trails, or check out the amazing views of snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows, and cascading waterfalls.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic drive that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The road is usually open until the third Monday in October, weather permitting.

For a unique experience, visit Two Medicine Lake, located in the southeastern part of the park. Here, you can take a boat ride across the lake or kayak on the calm waters while surrounded by the bright fall colors reflected in the lake. The colorful scenery is enhanced by the green and red rocks located in the shallow lake.

To witness the peak of fall foliage in Glacier National Park, plan your visit between late September and early October.

However, keep in mind that weather conditions can vary, so it’s important to check the park’s website for updates and road closures. Make sure you dress in layers because it will get cold in the mornings and evenings!

Suggested by Andy of Explore with Finesse

More US Travel Inspiration

Looking to explore the western part of the country? Check out our round-up of the most epic western US road trips to take. And if you want to road trip the eastern part of the USA, read our article on the most exciting East Coast road trips.

Want to get away for short escapes? We’ve compiled a list of the most exciting East Coast weekend getaways from which to pick your next quick trip.

And if you are looking for short getaways in the west, we have an article on the best West Coast weekend getaways and one on the best weekend getaways in California.

Want to do a western US road trip covering national parks? Check out this article on the great national parks in the west, from Yellowstone and Yosemite to Utah’s Mighty 5 and Death Valley National Park.

Love the excitement of major US cities? Be sure to read our article on the best USA weekend trips, from New Orleans and New York City to San Diego and Las Vegas.

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Discover the best places to go fall leaf peeping in the USA, from New England to the Colorado Rockies and the Eastern Sierra of California. Plus, other things to do on a fall getaway and the best time to go.

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Dhara's travel interests are eclectic, spanning everything from natural wonders to history, culture, art and architecture. She has visited 22 countries, many more than once, plus almost all 50 states of the USA, and has amassed a hoard of cherished travel moments.

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