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51 Free Places to see Fall Foliage & Colors

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The start of Fall brings forth a lot of emotions and images. Back to school, football, cozy sweaters, delicious soup, Halloween, pumpkin spice lattes, and Fall foliage.

We put out a request for people to send us their ideas for great places to see the leaves turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow, and below we’ve compiled some ideas across 21 states. Along the way, we learned about a lot of great spots, and also added the term “leaf-peeping” to our vocabulary!

While some of these places are hotels or resorts, you don’t need to necessarily stay there to soak in the beauty – stop by for lunch or a walk one day, and take in the beautiful landscapes.

These are the states we received ideas for: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.

If you decide to take a trip outside of your area, you can find car rental coupons and hotel coupons  for chains like Marriott on our site, as well as other travel deals.

In addition to these places, you may also want to check out the fall color tracker from Weather.com.

 

 

ARKANSAS


Stephanie from the North Little Rock Visitor’s Bureau in Arkansas wrote to tell us about the The Old Mill in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

“Frankly my dear…” never seems more poignant than when read under the trees at The Old Mill in North Little Rock, Arkansas, presumably the last standing structure from the classic film,Gone with the Wind. Nearby, enjoy a scenic bike ride on the Arkansas River Trail or enjoy live music, wine, art galleries and comedy shows downtown in the Argenta Arts & Entertainment District. Whether you’re looking for a quiet reading spot to enjoy fall color or a fun night out with friends, North Little Rock is your destination for all seasons.

 

CALIFORNIA


Robyn from the Social Flower told us that we should “Fall in Love with Fallbrook.”

California is known for the “sunny and 75 weather.” A small town in Northern San Diego County called Fallbrook is just what the doctor ordered. Being inland from the beach about 30 minutes and a Main St. to make the East Coast jealous, Fallbrook has small town charm, leaves that turn color, and lots of small businesses.., tucked away in Northern San Diego County.

 

Anne from the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara wanted to share a twist on Fall Colors – the Monarch butterflies in the Goleta Butterfly Grove.

In Santa Barbara, our version of “fall colors” includes thousands of Monarch butterflies that migrate here every November. The Monarchs migrate from as far north as Canada to make their way to the peaceful eucalyptus trees of the Goleta Butterfly Grove. The grove, located less than two miles away from Bacara Resort & Spa, is one of the largest over wintering locations in California. It’s quite spectacular and draws visitors from all over the world.

 

Birgitt from the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau wrote to tell us about the fall foliage in wine country.

Vineyards turn from green to gold to red, offering fall foliage that rivals New England – the perfect backdrop for a drive, hike, or to cycle along. And, at the end of your foliage tour, there’s a glass of wine at one of more than 425 wineries; or a pint of beer, a cup of cider, or a tipple of gin.

The Tolay Fall Festival — held each October at Tolay Lake Regional Park near Petaluma — invariably attracts people from around the Bay Area, making it one of the most popular events on Sonoma County’s annual calendar. Much more than just a pumpkin patch (although you can pick out the perfect pumpkin), this family-friendly event offers plenty of high-fun, low-key, hands-on educational activities.

 

Jenny wrote to tell us about Mono County, near Mammoth Lakes.

FallColors – Yes, here in CALIFORNIA! The silver granite peaks, sheer cliffs, deep green and blue alpine lake basins and high desert valleys of Mono County light up in yellow, orange and red each autumn as aspen, cottonwood and willows turn with the season. This brilliant display of foliage plays out over weeks at various locations – from late September to late October – as cold air slowly cascades down from high elevations. And not only is Mono County a world-class destination for fall color viewing, but Mono County Tourism, teaming up with Mammoth Lakes Tourism and Inyo County, makes it easy for visitors to catch the vibrant show with the free Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide and Map. From the dramatic views of Conway Summit above Mono Lake to the clear waters of Convict Lake, there’s no shortage of drives, hikes, bike rides, horseback rides and paddling opportunities to take in the fall color splendor. 

 

COLORADO


Nicole from the Manor Vail Lodge wrote to share a bit about her resort.

Escape to the Rocky Mountains this fall and experience a place so picturesque and surreal you will have to pinch yourself to verify that this is real life! Tucked away on the east end of Vail Mountain across from the iconic Manor Vail Lodge, there is an area so bright and beautiful sunglasses are recommended. Covered from mountain top to bottom in the richest, bright gold one will ever see, this area is so brightest place in the fall that its name is in fact called ‘Golden Peak.’ Experience Golden Peak the views from up high by hiking, mountain biking for a bird-eyes view. Mountain access is free and open to the public. The best times to experience the brightest and best colors of fall in Vail is mid-September to early October. If you’re looking for some fall winter overlap when the early snow falls on the bright yellow aspen leaves, we recommend late October.

 

Chelsy from the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau wrote about her favorite destinations for leaf-peeping.

Colorado Springs’ endless blue skies, gorgeous Rocky Mountains, and fall festivals make it an ideal autumn escape. Drive Highway 67 to Cripple Creek, CO, the original location of the Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush. The town is an amazing destination for leaf peeping.

The Gold Belt Scenic Tour is a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway and a National Scenic Byway. Retrace historic travel routes connecting Cripple Creek and Victor Mining District, site of the world’s largest gold rush, to the communities of Florence, Cañon City and Florissant. Each road offers distinct scenery from rolling parklands to deep rocky canyons. 

 

Holly wrote in to share her favorite spot in Estes Park, the YMCA of the Rockies.

The YMCA of the Rockies, located on 800-acres in Estes Park, Colorado, is a great three-day weekend getaway for families this fall. An off-the-beaten path family vacation, the YMCA of the Rockies is beautiful during the fall months, with Aspen leaves changing colors and elk everywhere (it’s the elk breeding season and a very cool natural phenomenon to witness!).

 

CONNECTICUT


Janet from the Western CT convention & visitors bureau wrote in to tell us about Kent, Connecticut and its many trails.

Kent, Connecticut has many claims to fame—two state parks, a 250-foot waterfall, rural beauty combined with sophisticated shops, galleries and museums. But this fall there is new reason to boast. Yankee Magazine has named this charming village in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut the peak spot for leaf-peeping in all of New England. In one day in Kent, you can drive through rolling hills beside a twisting river, stop for thick hot chocolate and an authentic Belgian pastry, hike the Appalachian trail, picnic with a panini by a waterfall, shop for Buddhas or modern art and bite into a crisp native Cortland apple, perhaps in the shade of a historic covered bridge.

Foliage watchers who like their leaves close-up on a hiking trail should head for Macedonia Brook State Park, where 2300 acres offer extensive leafy trails. For views, the Blue Trail is hard to beat with its fantastic vistas of the Catskill and Taconic mountains. In Kent Falls State Park you can admire the falls from the bottom or hike a quarter-mile up the hill and feel the mist on your face as the water cascades down 250 feet on its way to join the Housatonic River.

The Appalachian Trail runs through this area, and hikers who want scenery without stress will enjoy the Housatonic “river walk,” a peaceful stretch beside the river that is the longest essentially flat section along the entire trail.

For more worldly diversions, take a walk along Route 7, Kent’s Main Street, lined for miles with irresistible stops. Take out the camera for Bulls’ Bridge, one of three remaining covered bridges in Connecticut dating from the 19th century. George Washington crossed the Housatonic River near the site of the present bridge in 1781.

Just north of town is the Sloane-Stanley Museum. Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a prolific artist, author and illustrator and an avid collector of Americana. The museum includes the artist’s studio, examples of his art and his extensive collection of early American handmade tools, beautiful objects of wood that are virtual works of art. On the property are the remains of the Kent Iron Furnace and a diorama explaining the once-booming local iron industry. Next-door is the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum, a unique display of steam and gas tractors, a working narrow gauge railroad, an industrial hall with working steam engines and mining exhibit building.

 

Josh from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford shared his thoughts on Kent and Camden.

 The Best Places to See Fall Colors for Free in Connecticut Connecticut shows its brightest colors in October. The best places to visit are the wooded areas of the state, like Litchfield, and the eastern Mystic region. All these places have delightful small towns and gorgeous scenic drives. Nutmeggers know that living in this area allows for some of the best viewing of fall foliage. In fact, the Lower Connecticut River Valley has been called one of the “last great places on earth” by The Nature Conservancy, and fall is a great time to take it all in. Here are two favorites:

1. Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent – Cobble Mountain. Enjoy the spectacular views across the Harlem Valley to the Taconic and Catskill Mountains. The hike to the top includes narrow trails, steep inclines and occasionally rocky terrain, and making it to the top is completely worth the incredible view.

2. Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden – Stone Tower. Take the 1.5-mile gravel path to the Stone Tower. When you reach the tower, there is a 360-degree panorama looking south to Long Island and north past Hartford. 

 

Emily, representing the Connecticut Office of Tourism, wrote to share to share their Fall Foliage Finder and filled us in on a few hot spots.

Connecticut recently created a hub for all things fall, which includes a Fall Foliage Finder, scenic drives loops, pre-planned getaways and more.

Here are some of the places she recommended visiting:

1. Heublein Tower/Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury: The Farmington River Valley landmark of Heublein Tower sits atop Talcott Mountain, a long, precipitous wooded ledge named after the Talcott family. The 165-foot structure was built as a summer home in 1914 by Gilbert Heublein. The Tower Trail is 1.25 miles long, which takes approximately 30-40 minutes to walk. It’s open six days a week during peak fall foliage season. Hikers may encounter a variety of wildlife including deer, fox, and rabbits in this natural sanctuary. Bird watchers enjoy occasional sightings of the turkey vulture, bald eagle and pileated woodpecker.

2. Lake Waramaug State Park, New Preston: Scenically, few bodies of water in Connecticut can rival the picturesque setting of Lake Waramaug. When vivid fall foliage is mirrored in the unrippled lake surface, the park becomes a mecca for sightseers and photographers. Walk (or drive) the 8-mile loop around the lake, which is good for all skill levels, or take the Pinnacle trail from nearby Macricostas Preserve, which ends up overlooking the lake for more incredible views. Then, relax atHopkins Vineyard or stroll the charming town of New Preston.

3. Giuffrida Park/Crescent Lake, Meriden: The park offers everything from a peaceful reservoir to a beautiful wetland meadow to stunning views from Lamentation Mountain and Chauncey Peak. The 2.7-mile Chauncey Peak loop, along the ridge line overlooking Crescent Lake, offers fabulous views to the west, south and north. For a more challenging hike, the 7-mile Chauncey/Lamentation Loop will lead hikers to numerous overlooks of Silver Lake and the Hanging Hills. On a clear day, hikers can see from Long Island to Mt. Tom in Massachusetts.

4. White Memorial Conservation Center, Litchfield: Spanning more than 4,000 acres, White Memorial is the state’s largest nature center and wildlife sanctuary. It is home to 35 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, birding and camping. The trails, which are open to the public free of charge, range in difficulty from easy to moderate. Known for its brilliant foliage and New England charm, the Litchfield area is not to be missed in autumn. Other nearby stops (free of charge) should include the Tapping Reeve House & Law School and the West Cornwall Covered Bridge.

 

ILLINOIS


Emeri wrote to tell us about spots including Millennium Park and the Navy Pier.

Each year, travelers fall in love with Chicago as the trees throughout the city transform from the green of summer to the bright reds, yellows, and oranges of fall. Experience the beautiful fall foliage with a selfie stick and guide highlighting the best destinations to catch the changing colors throughout the city, specially curated with expertise by the hotel concierge. Top urban leaf peeping spots in the city include Millennium Park, Chicago Botanical Garden, Lincoln Park, North Avenue Beach, Navy Pier, Northerly Island, and more.

 

INDIANA


Ken thinks that Indiana Dunes has the best fall colors in Indiana and shared driving maps with us.

The best place in Indiana for brilliant autumn colors is the Indiana Dunes, with 15,000 acres of woods, marshes, prairies and beaches and 70 miles of hiking trails. Most of the Indiana Dunes access points are free. There are fall drives mapped out at www.indianadunes.com/cars

 

MAINE


Megan wrote in to suggest the trail systems in Maine for beautiful fall foliage.

The Maine Huts & Trails trail system as a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Maine’s foliage. Located in the western mountains of Maine is this 80-mile trail system, featuring winding switchbacks, sandy paths along mountain streams, natural bridges and incredible views. The trails are ideal for hiking and biking. Also located along the trails are off-the-grid eco-lodges, which are available to reserve through Maine Huts & Trails. Leaf peepers will enjoy foliage views without hearing or seeing vehicles, because the only way into the huts is by people-powered transportation.

 

MASSACHUSETTS


Will wrote in to tell us about Rockport Massachusetts and its State Park.

Fall Foliage in Coastal Southern New England Fall foliage peaks in mid-October in the coastal town of Rockport, a quick trip up the Massachusetts coast. Visitors can view nature’s patchwork of color as ocean-tinged breezes mix with the earthy scents of a New England fall. Come see how brilliantly the colors stand out as they’re bathed in the same light that has drawn so many artists to Rockport.  Rockport’s Halibut Point State Park offers some of the very best fall foliage viewing on the eastern seaboard. Located at the tip of Cape Ann, the park is spread among an old granite quarry, and hiking around the quarry pits is an added adventure.

 

Paula from the Plymouth County Convention & Visitors Bureau wrote about the cranberry harvesting in Plymouth County, MA

The fall foliage in Plymouth County, Massachusetts is smaller and rounder than in other parts of the Commonwealth. By this I mean Cranberry harvesting! Sure we have maples that turn orange, oaks that turn red and birch trees that take on a golden hue but that, set as a back drop for a wet Cranberry harvest at any of the over 14,000 acres of Cranberry farms in Plymouth County makes for a very impressive site. Blue skies, reflecting off the water used to flood the bogs filled with deep red cranberries in October, just takes your breath away.

The A. D. Makepeace Company in the Town of  Wareham is conducting its 13th annual Cranberry Harvest Festival on October 8 & 9.

 

MICHIGAN


TiAnna from the Fab Life for…FREE wrote to tell us about Petoskey MI.

The best place to travel to see fall colors, hands down, is Petoskey, MI. Petoskey is a quaint lake town off of Little Traverse Bay, which leads to Lake Michigan. In Petoskey, you can enjoy many hiking and biking trails, wineries and orchards, fine dining, scenic routes that house the famous Tunnel of Trees, and so much more. Located in southwestern Michigan, right in the mitt of state, Petoskey is easy to reach. You can fly into Traverse City, or it is a nice drive from anywhere in the Midwest. The best time to see the fall colors is usually the second or third weekend in October.

 

Emeri suggested we visit Mackinac Island to see the leaves.

The Midwest’s best kept secret might just be the tiny, charming island of Mackinac Island, where a ban on automobiles encourages foot and bike traffic only, and during fall, the autumnal rainbow bursts to life and offers a unique composition of reds, oranges, yellows and purples set against the endless bright blue of Lakes Huron and Michigan. Set on 18 acres of lakefront property is the seasonal Mission Point, which is offering a new Fall Harvest Package this year, set on the heels of unveiling phase two of a three-phase renovation series. The Fall Harvest Package includes a private carriage tour for carefree foliage viewing, half-day bike rentals and dinner at Chianti which is featuring a new Harvest-inspired menu. Images here.

 

MISSOURI


Shaley filled us in on Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in the Ozark mountains.

Perhaps a more rugged take on the popular New England pastime, this 10,000-acre wilderness park’s densely forested hills boast a warm autumn color palette rivaled by none. The park reopened this year as a world-class nature paradise conceived by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. Here, you can take in the seasonal scene by foot, horseback or tram (includes up-close animal encounters) and learn the importance of preserving this land via the Education Center. At neighboring Big Cedar Lodge, visitors can cozy-up and take in the leafy landscape from the comfort of their lakeside cabins/cottages.

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE


Charyl with the White Mountains Attractions Association shared her thoughts on the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

“From the border it shares with Canada, sweeping down and twirling around the White Mountains before spilling its colors into the reflective waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire offers the finest viewing of fall colors in the world.

For unrivaled views of the fall foliage, they make their way to the top of Mount Washington in three venerable ways: Hiking; aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway or via the Mount Washington Auto Road. At 6,288 feet, the summit affords views stretching to the Atlantic Ocean in the east and around the compass to Canada, Vermont, New York, Maine and Massachusetts.

For others, foliage season means driving across the famed Kancamagus Highway, a 34-mile road trip through the unspoiled heart of the White Mountains, between Lincoln and Conway. A National Scenic Byway, the Kanc has endless vistas of color that undulate in crisp autumn breezes, under clear blue skies.” For more info, check out VisitWhiteMountains.com

 

Marti suggests we get ourselves to Mt Washington Valley to “peep” this Fall.

In New Hampshire the best place to see fall colors is in Mt Washington Valley, NH. Why? Mt Washington Valley, located in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, says hail to the “peep” each fall as Mother Nature provides a spectacle of color unmatched anywhere else in the USA. Offering not only spectacular foliage but a wide variety of ways to enjoy the harvest hues of nature’s artistry, this region offers plenty of great ways to enjoy fall foliage throughout this autumn.

There are so many ways to see “peep a leaf” here…from the seat of a car, train or a bike, from the side of a trail, from the swoop of the zipline, and from the top of the notch, leaf peepers will not be disappointed. Learn about ten ways to “Hail to the Leaf” in Mt Washington Valley. No wonder Yahoo.com recently named Mt Washington Valley among the top 10 perfect places for fall vacations! 

 

NEW YORK


Jamie from the Whiteface Lodge wrote in to tell us about Adirondack Park  in NYC.

For a look at some of the most colorful hues the season has to offer, a trip to Whiteface Lodge, a leaf-peeping hot spot, is a must. Whiteface Lodge is the place to be for vibrant hues. The Lodge is set in a picturesque woodland setting and is a true rustic fall getaway with cozy fireplaces in-suite, warm, homemade cookies at turndown, and access to tons of fall activities. Nearby, six-million-acre Adirondack Park is home to tons of leaves turning colors, and views of the golden leaves on the lake are a sight for sore eyes.

 

Gina thinks that Central Park is the best place to see fall foliage in NYC and suggested a couple of places to stay.

NYC being one of the best cities for fall foliage with over 800 acres of trees, turned into warm colors of red, orange and yellow in the iconic Central Park – and all parks throughout Manhattan and other NYC boroughs.

AKA Central Park, a luxury hotel residence in Manhattan is the perfect location to take in fall – as it is a traveler’s favorite, being surrounded by trees and is just steps away from one NYC’s iconic landmarks, Central Park. The penthouse suites have private wrap around terraces, complete with outdoor dining areas, a fireplace – the perfect setup to take in the breathtaking city views and watch the leaves change with the season.

The William Vale, a boutique hotel nestled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has finally opened its doors, and just in time for travelers to experience New York City’s notable fall foliage. The property boasts Vale Park, an outdoor public space set on a 15,000-square foot elevated promenade. It provides guests and locals with a shady oasis to sit back and soak in the ever-changing seasons and unmatched views.

 

Braden wanted us to consider Cooperstown for beers, baseball and apple-picking.

Early-October Nestled between the Catskills and the Central Leatherstocking region – one of the most pristine areas in upstate New York – Cooperstown is the perfect location to embrace the change from summer to fall. This quintessential American town is a perfect spot to soak in the colors, whether hiking through Glimmerglass State Park, kayaking on pristine Lake Otsego, or relaxing on a rocking chair on the Otesaga Resort Hotel’s back veranda overlooking the rolling hills and glimmering lake.

Not only is early-October peak peeping time, but October 2 also marks the end of baseball’s regular season, making it the perfect excuse to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame to gear up for the playoffs.

  • Pick apples, pumpkins and raspberries at Middlefield Orchard
  • Sip on autumn-inspired beers at Brewery Ommegang, the only Belgian-style brewery in the U.S.
  • Journey through Cooperstown’s spooky history on the candlelit Cooperstown Ghost Tour
  • Learn about 19th century life and celebrate the start of harvest season at the Farmers’ Museum, one of the country’s oldest rural life museums
  •  Peruse the Fenimore Art Museum’s limited Fall 2016 exhibits, including Hamilton’s Final Act
  • Take a private tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame with a visit to the legendary Doubleday Field

 

Sarah thinks we should head to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks.

Looking for the best fall foliage in New York? Head to Lake Placid, NY, a vibrant mountain town in the heart of the Adirondacks.

Plan your visit for late September/early October, when our lustrous leaves are at their peak. For an extraordinary foliage view, drive up the Whiteface Memorial Veterans Highway or take a brisk hike. At 6 million acres, the Adirondacks is the largest protected land area in the contiguous United States, so there’s plenty to explore!

Whiteface, our nearby ski mountain, has several exciting fall festivals: Oktoberfest (October 1-2), the Flaming Leaves Festival (October 8 and 9), and the Lake Placid Brewfest (October 15th).

If you need a place to stay, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort offers a Take a Hike package, which includes a gift pack, complimentary breakfast, and guidance on Adirondack hikes. 

 

Denise suggested we check out the fall colors at Carl Schurz Park.

In New York City, I suggest viewing the Fall colors at Carl Schurz Park. While a little off the beaten path, it is one of the most beautiful small urban parks in the US.

Spanning 15-acres, the park is located on the Upper East Side of the city in Yorkville (East 84th– 90th Streets).

With over 20 cultivated gardens and many tree variations you can relax amongst the woodland areas and vast lawns, taking in the sun or cooling off in the shade. The most tranquil location is a cul-de-sac known as Peter Pan Garden, which contains a lovely sculpture.

In addition to beautiful scenery, the park also offers sweeping views of the East River and bridges from the esplanade.

 

NORTH CAROLINA


Aubrey (@aubreyjarman) recommended that we go se the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I went to college at Appalachian (pronounced App-uh-la-chun for anyone wondering) State university which is wedged in the top left corner of North Carolina among the Blue Ridge Mountains! So beautiful when the leaves behind to change!

 

Leah wrote in to tell us about Yancey County.

Yancey County, located among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina is a stunning place to see fall color. The famous Blue Ridge Parkway bobs and weaves along the county’s southeastern border. The Quilt Trails of Western North Carolina turn your leaf-peeping journey into a treasure hunt for the patterned blocks adorning the sides of barns and businesses throughout the county. N.C. Highway 80 leads from the picturesque town of Burnsville, through the scenic Toe River Valley, to the highest point on the East Coast: Mount Mitchell State Park.

 

OHIO


Chad loves Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

Put-in-Bay, Ohio, a small village on the Lake Erie island is most well known for its role in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, but an absolute wonderful place to gaze upon beautiful fall foliage. Whether it’s gaining a unique perspective from the Miller Ferry taking a walk through one of the areas scenic nature preserves, or gazing out from the 352 Perry’s International Peace Memorial, the warm waters of Lake Erie make for spectacular colors and a myriad of Instagram worthy moments. See photos on Instagram @millerboatline

 

OKLAHOMA


Tracie wrote in about the Arbuckles and the Chicksaw National Recreation Area.

Tucked away in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains, one of America’s oldest mountain chains, and settled atop a hill overlooking the Lake of the Arbuckles and the historic Chickasaw National Recreation Area, there is no shortage of fall beauty at the Chickasaw Retreat & Conference Center. The area surrounding the Chickasaw Retreat (Twitter: @ChickasawRCC) boasts a variety of natural topiaries, ensuring guests a broad arrangement of bold fall colors as the leaves change. With stunning views and crisp fall temperatures, the Chickasaw Retreat & Conference Center supplies visitors with an incredible opportunity to witness fall in the most immaculate way.

 

PENNSYLVANIA


Christina from Kimpton Hotels suggested a place where we can “Fall Into Foliage without leaving the City.”

While most great leaf peeping destinations in PA require a trek out to the “country,” Pittsburgh offers fabulous views of fall, unexpectedly right in the middle of an urban city. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a great way to see some beautiful fall hues, offering miles of tree lined, riverfront pathways – easily accessible from downtown. Those up for an additional adventure can take the trail right to historic Frick Park, which offers 644 sprawling acres of foliage to ogle. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, located right downtown, has everything needed for this urban leaf peeping adventure with the Fall Into Foliage package.

 

Leah thought we should grab a drink and admire the leaves in Philly from a rooftop bar.

I have a fun and unusual one in Philadelphia: Assembly rooftop bar and lounge. There’s no cover (though you’ll definitely want to indulge in a cocktail or seven!), and the view overlooks the city’s iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a tree-lined thoroughfare that stretches from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with stunning Fairmount Park beyond. It’s a non-traditional and truly special place to take in fall foliage (especially beside one of their beautiful fire pits…).

 

Jenny from the Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau thinks that Jack’s Mountain provides the best views.

The Juniata River Valley is covered in fall color by mid to late October. The rolling hills that cover Mifflin and Juniata Counties mandated the creation of roads that cling to their sides and offer views of even more rolling hills. Two routes are ideal for leaf peeping. Route 333 (see attachment Thompsontown to Lewistown) winds through the Lewistown Narrows – PA’s second largest natural gorge. The Big Valley/Ferguson Valley tour shows off our fall color from the bottom of the valley to the top of Jack’s Mountain where you’re able to see vista views of each valley by simply crossing the road.

 

Megan wants us to fill you in on the Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion, PA.

Clarion, Pennsylvania will celebrate its 63rd Annual, U.S. Army sponsored, Autumn Leaf Festival this year. This event, which will be held from September 24th to October 2nd, is a 9-day, internationally award-winning festival which attracts more than 500,000 people. Not only are the autumn views spectacular in Clarion during the fall but this event also includes carnival rides and amusements, the renowned Clarion Hospital “Tournament of Leaves Parade,” the “Miss Junior Teen and Miss Teen ALF Scholarship Program,” and is paired with Clarion University’s Homecoming celebrations.

 

Benjamin wanted to make sure that we had Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on our radar.

Set amid gentle hills and charming country sides, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Instagram @lehighvalleypa) – located an hour and a half by car from New York City and moments from Philadelphia – provides breathtaking and vibrant fall foliage. Home to Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, as well as dozens of small towns and picturesque boroughs, Lehigh Valley locals and visitors alike can sightsee rolling hills of fall foliage at Lehigh River Gorge, Lehigh Gap, Blue Mountain, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, as well as Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

 

Torrie from the Pennsylvania Tourism Office filled us in on several parks.


The Great Allegheny Passage permits adventures at no cost on a 150-mile passage from Cumberland, Md., to Pittsburgh, Pa. Visitors can follow rivers and navigate to forest areas of sliver maple and sycamore. Since 1978, this trail has provided guests with pure natural-history highlights and some of the finest fall scenery.

The Kinzua State Park is a 339-acre bridge that showcases outdoor artistry from multiple vantage points. An edgy renovation of the 1900s viaduct is known as the Kinzua Sky Walk, with a partial glass-bottomed observation deck that provides visitors a unique view of the historic structure. Located in McKean County, the best fall foliage views can be seen at Kinzua during the first two weeks of October.

Almost 50 miles long and over 1,000 feet deep, Pine Creek Gorge is one of the greatest places to view fall foliage. Located in Wellsboro, Pa., and commonly known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge combines flamboyant scenery and abundant wildlife. With over 165,000 acres of surroundings, displays of fall foliage at Pine Creek Gorge consist of deep reds, yellows and purples in early October. Some of the best views of the canyon can be found at Leonard Harrison or Colton Point State Park. You can find pictures by searching for #FallinPA on social media.

 

Aaron from Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau told us where to track down some Raptors.

Cumberland Valley Pennsylvania has many great places to spot fall foliage, including Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch, where visitors can spot the scenic landscape and thousands of raptors traveling south. Located in Carlisle, PA, Waggoner’s Gap has one of the largest concentrations of raptors in the U.S., with 15,000 to 20,000 raptors passing through every year. Two easy trails lead you to miles and miles of views across the Cumberland Valley.

 

RHODE ISLAND


Emeri wrote in about the Vanderbilt Grace hotel in RI which has a rooftop deck.

The Vanderbilt Grace | Newport, RI Originally built by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt in 1909, The Vanderbilt Grace is a vintage Newport mansion that has been restored to its former glory and today operates as a 33 room luxury hotel. For amazing views of the famed New England foliage, Vanderbilt Grace’s roof deck is open for cocktails and light bites while overlooking the entire Newport harbor. Catch the vibrant fall foliage with breathtaking views of the city and waterfront. Additionally, the property offers award-winning cuisine, lavish spa and fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools and lies just minutes from the waterfront and many cultural attractions of Newport.

 

TENNESSEE


Ryan thinks the best place to see fall colors is the English Mountain Fall Foliage Tour in Sevierville, Tenn.

With visitors flocking to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to view the beautiful foliage, roads and points of interest can quickly become congested. To avoid the crowds, while still experiencing the same grandeur and beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, an alternative suggestion is the English Mountain Fall Foliage Tour. It features plenty of foliage, attractions, and photo opportunities. Beginning in Sevierville, this driving tour includes stops at the Battle of Fair Garden, Historic Harrisburg Covered Bridge, Fox Cemetery, Blowing Cave Mill, Forbidden Caverns and Bush Brothers Visitors Center.

 

UTAH


Kenzie from the Iron County Tourism Bureau thought we should take a drive through Cedar City.

For an unmatched display of fall foliage with a backdrop of striking red-rocks and southern Utah’s national parks, take a fall color trip to Cedar City: Our favorite way to see southern Utah’s fall colors? Take the easy drive (about 1.5 hours) of the fall color loop – beginning in Parowan, take Highway 143 through Brian Head and into Cedar Breaks National Monument (via Highway 148). Follow the road to the Alpine Pond Loop trailhead (stop for a short walk or fall photos) then turn around and head back to Highway 143.Again, take Highway 143, this time east towards Panguitch Lake, then MammothCreek Road. To finish the loop, head west back towards Cedar City on Highway14.

Hint: You can get an updated Fall Color report on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

 

VERMONT


Jamie’s vote is for Southern Vermont.

Located in the Deerfield Valley right down the road from the town of Wilmington, VT and The Hermitage Club in the Green Mountain National Forest of Southern Vermont AKA the Mecca for foliage season. There’s much to see and do here in the fall. Weather it’s hiking, camping, or a day spent on one of the many local lakes, you’re treated by our picturesque village, surrounded by beautiful rural mountainous countryside. All four seasons are special here and many who come to visit end up staying for the natural beauty and rural way of life. If you’re passing through for foliage, we recommend taking advantage of our scenic lift rides in the fall for amazing foliage viewing opportunities or the surrounding visit, we know you’ll enjoy your visit. For photos check out http://instagram.com/mountsnow

 

Caroline suggests leaf-peeping in Woodstock, VT.

The “prettiest small-town in America,” Woodstock is the quintessential destination for leaf peepers. Visitors can take the MountPeg trailhead, easily accessible from downtown Woodstock’s Village Green, with colorful autumn vistas at the summit of Mt. Tom, Billings Farm and Museum,Pomfret Hills and Killington Mountain. Or stroll through Woodstock’s quaint downtown, famous for the architecture of its Federal homes and churches, many of which were preserved by conservationist and philanthropist LaurenceRockefeller.

 

VIRGINIA


Lisa’s vote is for Nelson County, Virginia. She says:

For an excellent Fall Foliage experience, Nelson County, Virginia is one of the most beautiful locations in the state. The changing colors of autumn can be best seen in October (peak is usually mid to late October) along theBlue Ridge Parkway. The county’s western border is from Milepost 0 to about Milepost 32, right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Great views can be had from 20 Minute Cliff (MP 19) or take the short hike up to Humpback Rocks at MP (6.0) for a 360 degree view of the valley below. Nearby fall attractions include Crabtree Falls and a hike to Spy Rock just several miles off the parkway on Rt. 56 East.

 

Shellie thinks the best place to see fall leaves in Virginia is in Franklin County.

The best place to see fall colors without the crowds The key to see the fall leaves in this part of Virginia (the 1/2 point on the Blue Ridge Parkway and south) is to go in the end of October and the first week of November. Everyone has gone home and you have the place to yourself. In Franklin County we have Smartview Recreation Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with picnic tables, scenic trails, an old pioneer cabin and restrooms. It’s Milepost 154.5 and getting there from Rocky Mount is half of the leaf-peeping adventure.

 

Nicole thinks we should check out the Bull Mountains and Battlefield Park in Manassas.

Take a scenic drive to the Bull Run Mountains and Manassas National Battlefield Park to see a multitude of fall colors in Northern Virginia. At the foothills of the mountains, you will find the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy, which offers guided hikes or you can venture out alone to explore the 8 miles of trails leading to old mills, homesteads, Civil War sites and family graveyards. Manassas National Battlefield Park offers over 5,000 acres of woodlands, meadows and streams making it an unlikely but perfect location, just 30 miles from Washington D.C., to appreciate the beautiful Fall foliage in Virginia.

 

Ashley from the Ritz in Pentagon City wrote to tell us about Mt. Vernon Trail.

The Mt. Vernon Trail connects Washington D.C. to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. The lush greens that surround the trail in summer are transformed into warm golds, reds and browns in late September. As travelers explore the trail they will discover areas to fish, grill or pick fresh berries from rest areas along their journey. The 18 mile trail is gorgeously lined with natural foliage and is easily biked, run or walked by both locals and tourists. The trail connects at several locations and the routes pass many landmarks such as The National Mall, Gravelly Point, Theodore Roosevelt Island, The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, Arlington Cemetery, and Old Town, allowing travelers the opportunity to view historic sites as well.

 

Jenna from Shenandoah County Tourism told us about a hidden spot called Big Schloss.

The Shenandoah Valley is often thought of for fall foliage but few people know of the outstanding views from Big Schloss, near Edinburg, Virginia. This hike takes visitors along the Virginia/West Virginia border overlooking the valley from rock outcrops along the ridge line above. This hike is about 4.4 miles round trip and rather steep in the beginning climbing approximately 1000 vertical feet but the payoff is outstanding and the trail levels out once you reach the top of the ridge!

 

Kathie wanted to make sure we were aware of Greater Williamsburg, Virginia.

There are many great trails and parks where leaf peepers can enjoy the region’s autumn colors, including the Colonial National Parkway, a 23-mile National Scenic Byway that connects historic Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown; the Virginia Capital Trail, covering 52 miles between Williamsburg and Richmond; the Historic Jamestowne Bike Trail along the James River; Freedom Park with more than 20 miles of biking and hiking trails; York River State Park; New Quarter Park; the battlefield roads in Yorktown; and more. Want to know more, check out the list of Top Things to do in Fall.

 

Taylor wrote in to tell us about the Blue Ridge Parkway as a the best free spot to see fall colors.

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina and has a ton of entrances to the parkway that provide so many wonderful experiences along the journey. The beauty of fall in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is second to none. The stunning landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes Virginia’s Blue Ridge one of the best places in the world to see fall colors and leaves. Every year, the landscape is decorated with the stunning colors of the changing leaves, which attracts visitors from around the world. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the heart of our region and it’s one of numerous scenic drives that offer leaf peeping fun. Though it varies slightly every year, peak fall color typically occurs around mid-to-late October. You can find the best places to see fall color on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Facebook page

 

Brantley’s vote is for Charlottesville.

Snuggly nestled against the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville & Albemarle County offer up a dazzling display of fall foliage each and every autumn. The Blue Ridge Parkway and scenic byways meander their way across our area, with breathtaking vistas and overlooks offering gorgeous views. The University of Virginia also bursts with color, with the iconic “Lawn” at Thomas Jefferson’s university coming alive with reds, yellows and oranges. Also, the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall located in the heart of Charlottesville is lined with trees, filled with beautiful color during the autumn months, begging visitors to take a stroll!

 

WASHINGTON


Heather wanted us to check out the Yakima Valley wine country.

Unlike other areas, the Yakima Valley (Washington Wine Country) has nearly 17,000 acres of vineyards and orchards with vibrant leaves of all colors during the autumn season. The Valley is also known for its Autumn Harvest, Fall Events and live music, all of which couple nicely while out enjoying the fall foliage and various adventures for the day or an entire weekend! Yakima Valley is conveniently located three hours away from Seattle and only two and a half hours from Portland, providing easy access to metropolitan cities. 

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