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Cozy sweaters. Candy Apples. Pumpkin spice. Among our autumn favorites, a kaleidoscope of fall foliage tops the list. When leaves become blazing rainbows of green, gold and scarlet, we hit the road in search of the best autumnal displays. You might assume New England has a lock on the most insanely gorgeous foliage, but there’s a pile of little known spots across the USA for fabulous leaf peeping. And we’ve raked in some top choices.
With its quaint, country towns and tree-lined roads, New England is a fantasy go-to for colorful foliage lovers. A quintessential portrait of bucolic autumn landscapes, the Berkshires of Lenox, MA, come alive with stunning verdant views. Comprised of Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, the Berkshires offer world-class fall panoramas. Winding mountain roads connect snug little towns nestled in a world of crimson, green and yellow, with a side helping of art, culture and legendary spas. For more Vermont trekking and epic leaf peeping, hit the Green Mountain Byway for fabulous fall-color ogling. And who wouldn’t crave a decadent ice cream snack for the road from the Ben & Jerry factory while snapping Instagram worthy covered bridges?
The Adirondacks and Catskill Mountains of southeastern New York flash their own unique autumn charm. Showing off perfect fall landscapes, the 6,000 square mile Catskills boast 35 mountain peaks over 3,500 feet high, as well as 6 rivers and an incredible forest preserve. The Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest, a festival abounding with German culture, great food and live entertainment is a staple of fall calendars. The 6 million acre Adirondacks is the largest natural wilderness region in the Eastern US. Its lush evergreen and deciduous treed forest is plush with oaks, maples, birch and beech, bursting each year with electrifying colors. Pick one of the region’s thirteen scenic trails that wind past beautiful Lake Placid, the center of Adirondack Park and connect to Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario. Or sneak some time to pick your own apples, visit a farmers markets or a country craft fair.
Start your leaf changing trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Virginia to North Carolina, to catch the showy autumn entrance of the region’s dogwoods, sourwoods and black gums. Visit Newfound Gap and Cades Cove, amidst lush waterfalls and streams, as well as the historic Shenandoah National Park where red dogwoods, scarlet oaks, and yellow persimmons brightly flourish. The 800 mile Great Smoky Mountain Park hosts more than 100 species of native trees. The Natchez Trace Parkway as well as the area’s historic towns, scenic roads, and trails blaze in the orange, crimson and purple hues of poplars, maples, sweetgums, scarlet oaks and hickory trees. Part of the Appalachians, the stately Great Smoky Mountains stretch to the Tennessee border, providing a jaw-dropping background to all it touches.
When ski slopes turn prismatic colors, the Rocky Mountain town of Telluride might just find its most beautiful season. Dressed in fall gold, you can get a bird’s eye view of quaking aspens as they ripple and twist with light, from a soaring gondola. Finally, if you’ve never visited one of Michigan’s more than 20 forested state parks, don’t miss the chance to glimpse their flashy autumn displays, as well as the tranquil Great Lakes that reflect them. From thickly wooded forests to hamlets nestled in hillsides, leaf peeping adventures are just waiting to be taken. Grab your camera and go!
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These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.