The most fleeting of seasons, fall blinks by in a flash of flaming red, orange and yellow colors. And the best way to soak in its beauty is through a ramble in the brisk air. Check out our six favorite foliage spots in America. And don’t forget your camera.
Though most consider East Texas pine-tree country, you’ll be pleasantly awed if you stop by Elder Lake, near Kilgore. Take it from Travis Perkins, the Kammok customer experience lead, who photographed the hiking trail in all its glory last fall. One more local tip from Travis: “Everything you’ll eat in this area is fried or basted in barbecue sauce. Try the Country Tavern; the ribs are legendary.”
Outside the picture-perfect village of Woodstock, Vermont, this former Rockeller family plot sits in the heart of the Green Mountains. It’s open year-round with over 20 miles of sunny trails full of fiery orange sugar maples and Hemlock groves that are 400 years young. Access: free; open year-round including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing (ungroomed.)
Nestled in the rolling hills near Virginia’s highest mountain peaks, the Massie Gap trailhead—a four-mile jaunt—leads to a stretch of rugged trails that connect to the Appalachian Trail. Be sure to look closely as you splash through the carpet of leaves, as herds of wild ponies can be found roaming the ridgeline and grazing in the brush. Access: $5; open year-round.
The Ice Age Scenic Trail offers the widest views from the park’s famous 500-foot quartzite cliffs, proving that fall color is best seen from on high. Take the entire 14-mile loop or opt for the shorter 4.5-mile Sauk Point Trail. Rock climbers and boulderers, bring your gear. Access: $5; open year-round.
At Walker Ranch outside Boulder, hikers can explore the state’s biodiverse ecosystem in a seven-mile loop. Converted from ranch to parkland, where adventurers now traverse rocky staircases, grassy meadows and river valley, this public park is aglow this time of year with the changing aspens. Colorado pre-snow is an unsung wonder of the western states. Access: free; open year-round.
Come autumn, the leaves at Silver Falls State Park (60 miles from Portland) are aflame in an array of vibrant colors. On this eight-mile loop, the changing foliage, Douglas Firs and fern groves shade a series of cascading waterfalls, accessible by foot, horse, or mountain bike. Access: day-use fee required year-round; daily permits can be purchased at the entry booth for $5.