Fall is upon us! And the best part of fall (besides those addicting pumpkin spice lattes) is the changing colors of the leaves. Are you planning a last-minute trip to see the trees in their autumnal garb? You’re in the right place, because we’ve compiled a list of the best places to see fall colors across the United States. Whether you’re in the East Coast or the Southwest or somewhere in between, here are the best places in the U.S. to see autumn leaves.
Love those yellow aspens? There’s really no better place to see these trees than the town named after them. Aspen definitely has more than its share of aspen trees, and the carpet of yellow creeping up the mountains is a sight you have to see at least once in your life. Visit from mid to late September for the best views.
The Catskills, New York
Visit the Catskills from mid-September to late October, and you will get a front-row seat to the brilliant colors of a New York fall! There are plenty of ways to enjoy the season, from hiking through the Catskills, taking a drive, or even spending time at the driving range.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
The only problem you’ll have with a fall trip to the Berkshires is deciding which trail to drive. The Mowhawk Trail has spectacular views, but so does the route from North Adams to Mount Greylock and the stretch of foliage along Route 41. Visit in late September to mid-October, and you really can’t go wrong with any of these drives.
Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico
New Mexico isn’t just adobe and great tacos. In the fall, parts of this state are lit up in a blaze of fiery fall colors! One of the best drives for autumnal visits is the Enchanted Circle. Drive this 84-mile loop in late September or early October to see Taos, the Red River Valley, and Angel Fire in all their glory.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
If you procrastinated planning your fall trip, no worries! Even if you miss peak fall foliage season for most destinations, the Great Smoky Mountains will still be garbed in brilliant hues from early October to early November. See nearly a hundred different species of trees, including brilliant sugar maples and scarlet oaks.
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Michigan’s UP is one of the north’s most stunning fall destinations! The best time to see the leaves turn is from mid-September to mid-October. Although you can go pretty much anywhere and see beautiful hues, many visitors enjoy taking a fall colors tour.
Ozark Hills, Missouri
The undulating green waves of Missouri’s Ozark Hills take on an entirely new look for the fall. Come here to see the maple, ash, oak, a hickory trees display a warm symphony of bright colors! The best time to visit the Ozarks is during the last half of October, when the colors are at their most brilliant.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Drive through the loveliest part of the Blue Ridge Mountains! At 105 miles in length and a 35 miles per hour speed limit, this drive is long and slow. Take the road less traveled to enjoy this yellow (and orange and red) wood. The best time to see fall colors in Shenandoah National Park is during the middle weeks of October.
Adirondacks, New York
Head to Lake Placid and its leafy surroundings this fall! The Adirondacks have one of the country’s longest fall seasons, so you can take your time to enjoy the autumn colors here. Depending on which region you’re visiting, you will be able to see peak fall colors from early September to late October. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to enjoy the region’s many fall festivals, from the Great Adirondack Moose Festival to Lake Placid’s Flaming Leaves Festival.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
This little slice of the Appalachian Mountains offers an incredible snapshot of the range’s fall display. The best way to see this region is to take a drive along the Kancamagus Highway during late September and early October. Don’t forget to stop at an apple orchard along the way for crisp apples and warm cider.
Boston Commons, Massachusetts
This is an ideal fall foliage destination for the urbanite. If driving into the wilderness isn’t your thing, you can still get a brilliant eyeful with a walk through the country’s oldest –and arguably most beautiful – public park. Boston has a long fall foliage season, which lasts from late September to early November.
Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas
Believe it or not, the Southwest really does get fall leaves! You might not find them in the brilliant multitudes that you’ll see on the East Coast, but there are places where the fall colors of the Southwest rival even the Catskills themselves. Lost Maples State Natural area is one of these destinations. This region’s fall colors peak late, so even if you miss the East Coast spectacular, you can visit Lost Maples to see fall colors from mid-October to mid-November.
McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, Oregon
Make this stunning drive from the western Cascades to the eastern Cascades for a trip through the northeastern United States’ most beautiful fall foliage. Plan your trip for late-September to mid-October, when the colors are at their peak! Be sure to stop at small towns along the way and perhaps take a wine tour or two.
The United States is full of fall colors from coast to coast! The autumn color-viewing window is pretty short, so be sure to take some time to see the fall foliage before it fades into winter. You can’t go wrong when you visit any of these spectacular places!
What is your favorite fall foliage destination? Let us know in the comments!