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Fall Foliage | © jeffery wright / Flickr
Fall Foliage | © jeffery wright / Flickr
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The Most Stunning Places for Fall Foliage in the USA

Picture of Jacklyn Grambush
Updated: 23 October 2017
It’s that time of year! Squirrels are hiding their nuts and haunted houses are in full swing. The days are getting shorter, but the darkness is being warded off by one of the most stunning natural cycles: the turning of the leaves. Bundle up, grab a camera, and head on over to any of these gorgeous spots to view fall colors at their best in the USA.

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont is widely agreed upon as the nation’s best place for fall color viewing. The town is expertly prepared to show off nature’s gift with special deals and a myriad of viewing options including river and lake tours, winery tours, carriage and wagon rides, ghostly lantern tours, and gondola rides. Route 100 is an excellent scenic drive in the area and Vermont’s highest mountain, Mt. Mansfield, supplies incredible vistas if you’re willing to hike to the top. A couple of other beautiful areas with hiking trails include Wiessner Woods, Kircher Woods, Moss Glen Falls, and Bingham Falls.

Stowe, Vermont
Stowe, Vermont | © Patrick / Flickr

Bar Harbor, Maine

Way up in the Northeast, across the Atlantic from Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor is an adorable resort destination on Mt. Desert Island with incredible views. Check out Bar Island Trail, or walk along Frenchman Bay between mansions and the Atlantic Ocean to see them interact with the changing trees. Likely the best place to view fall foliage though, is in Acadia National Park. Drive the scenic Park Loop Road and tackle Gorham Mountain for colorful views of the harbor below.

Great Smoky Mountains

With over a 100 different species of native and mostly deciduous trees, the Great Smoky Mountains offer an incredible fall show. Due to change in weather with elevation, the higher parts of the mountains begin to change colors first, slowly making their way down. Recommended scenic drives include Clingmans Dome Road, Blue Ridge Parkway, Foothills Parkway, and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. On foot, enjoy the fall foliage while exploring Appalachian Trail, Inspiration Point on Alum Cave Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, Look Rock Tower, and Sutton Ridge Overlook.

Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains | © Carl Wycoff / Flickr

North Conway, New Hampshire

Nestled in the Mount Washington Valley, the town takes advantage of its surroundings and offers a dozen ways for “leaf peepers” to enjoy the views, including from a gondola, zipline, hikes, dogsled, rollercoaster, or boat. Recommended scenic drives such as West Side Road, Cathedral Ledge Road, Jackson Loop, Eaton/Madison, Kancamagus Scenic Byway & The White Mountains Trail, Bear Notch Road, and The Notches will provide the views from the warmth of your vehicle. Just be fair to your fellow viewers and avoid accidents by switching drivers from time to time!

Lenox, Massachusetts

One of the many cities in the Massachusetts Berkshires, Lenox is part of an entire region well-known for its fall color – and it’s no surprise as it hosts the state’s largest state forest (October Mountain State Forest). Mount Greylock is an excellent viewing area with a plethora of hiking trails and a scenic byway. With natural beauties, like Bash Bish Falls, throughout the area, several spots are known as fall foliage hot-spots, most notably the Bartholomew’s Cobble and Wood’s Pond.

The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Another area avid to share its incredible natural surrounding, the Pokonos offers everything from fall foliage train excursions, air tours, and vineyard tours. As far as scenic routes while driving, Route 507 near Lake Wallinpaupack is the way to go. Bushkill Falls offers four hiking trails to see up to eight waterfalls, which only add to the brilliance of fall colors. Keep up-to-date with the Poconos Fall Foliage Forecast so you know when and where to go for optimal autumn splendor.

Catskills Mountains

In the Southeast of New York State, the Catskill Mountains offer another incredible opportunity to surround yourself with the temporary brilliance of fall. Other than the always stunning Catskills Waterfalls, don’t miss the Catskills Scenic Trail, Frick Pond Loop at Mongaup State Park, Buttermilk Falls at Peekamoose, and Hunter Mountain Fire Tower.

Catskills Mountains
Catskills Mountains | © Bill Morrow / Flickr

Taos, New Mexico

Picking up around the southern Rockies in New Mexico, Taos comes with beautiful vistas and, with them, creative ways to enjoy the views. Points of interest for fall foliage include The Enchanted Circle, the High Road between Taos and Santa Fe, Highway 64, plus the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. Hiking trails such as Williams Lake Trail #62, Wheeler Peak Trail #67, and Goose Creek Trail are excellent options. The Columbine Trail is particularly popular, and for those less interested in hiking, you can opt for the Chile Express Chairlift at Angel Fire Resort.

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado: a city named after a deciduous tree; of course it made the list. The Maroon Bells are a popular spot for a view of golden Rockies. For scenic drives, check out Maroon Creek Road, Castle Creek Road, and Independence Pass. For those who’d prefer to get out and walk among the stunning scenery, Cathedral Lake, American Lake, Hunter Creek, and Crater Lake are wonderful suggestions. Can’t make it out to Colorado? Check out their live view of fall colors here.