The Best National Parks To See The Fall Foliage This Year


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Some people live for summer, and others can’t wait for it to end. If you’re the latter, you’ve been eyeing your jackets, waiting to buy all the pumpkin spice products, and eager for the changing seasons.

Of course, there’s so much to love about fall. For instance, cooler temperatures, the beginning of the holiday season, and one of the most exciting parts, the fall foliage.

Aerial view of New River Gorge canyon in West Virginia

It’s coming up on that magical time of the season when the leaves start turning colors. It’s one of nature’s most stunning performances as the once-green leaves turn to vibrant yellows, oranges, reds, and soft browns.

And do you know the best places to see and experience the fall foliage?

You guessed it, national parks. Continue reading about which parks you should schedule a visit to experience this once-a-year event.

New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia

While visiting this national park, there are many ways to view the colorful archaic trees. A common way to explore the park is by walking along one of the many hiking trails.

Another great route across the park is kayaking through one of the world’s oldest rivers.

If you have fall allergies and don’t want to stay outside too long, you can still admire the beautiful landscape. You have the option of cruising in your car along the park’s driving routes.

The best time to visit this park is mid-October.

green valley with river

Zion National Park in Utah

This well-known park offers visitors a breathtaking canyon scenery along the Virgin River.

The colors of the park coordinate with each other as the yellow leaves of the aspen trees match well with the reddish canyon walls.

Strolling along the Virgin River will give you one of the best foliage views.

The ideal time to visit this magical place is late October to early November.

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colorful canyon

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

You’ll want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado if your favorite color is yellow. During the foliage, the forest becomes drenched in yellow leaves.

This golden color show can be witnessed as early as late August and continues to late September.

Traveling through this park can consist of going along many high-elevation trails. And all the trails offer spectacular views.

The park is most known for Trail Ridge Road. It is one of the highest continuously paved roads in America, with an elevation of 12,183 feet.

walkway with fall leaves and trees

Acadia National Park, Maine

One of the four national parks in Maine is Acadia National Park, which gives off a colorful display of orange, yellow, and red leaves during the fall.

Located on the rocky coast of Maine, it is a great place to escape reality and drive along the road for scenic views.

You can also experience the colors by hiking or biking over 100 miles of trails in the national park.

The best time for a visit is the middle of October.

Fort Williams Park Portland Maine during foliage season

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Border of North Carolina and Tennessee

With an elevation of 4,000 feet, the leaf colors change at the highest points and make their way down the mountain.

The park has some of the oldest and largest trees in the country, and they do not disappoint when their leaves turn to deep reds and lively oranges and yellows.

While color changes start to happen in late September, the best time to go is early November.

Sunrise over great smoky mountains in the fall

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

The park is filled with sugar maples and Sassafras trees that turn to dark oranges and fiery reds.

A short drive outside of Cleveland, Ohio, you can enjoy a day of hiking along the Brandywine Gorge Trail until you reach Brandywine Falls.

You might have difficulty putting your phone away along the trail because you’ll want to capture all the vibrant colors.

The best time to visit is late September through November.

fall foilage in zion park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

While old Western movies will have you believe that Texas is a mostly desert landscape, that is quite the contrary.

The Guadalupe Mountains National Park’s McKittrick Canyon is the not-so-obvious spot for fall foliage. Yet it’s spectacular.

The park has a mixture of evergreen green and deciduous trees, but their maple trees are the ones that call the most attention.

In the park, you get the full range of fall colors, and the best time to visit is mid-October to mid-November.

colorful forest with a waterfall

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