National Parks With the Best Fall Displays from National Parks With the Best Fall Displays

National Parks With the Best Fall Displays

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National Parks With the Best Fall Displays

What happens when you combine the most beautiful season with some of the best preserved natural land in the country? The gleaming yellows, oranges and reds form one-of-a-kind patterns in the trees and eventually gather in layers on the ground. But before they fall, you should plan a visit to a park and watch them at their peak.

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Acadia—Maine

It’s enough to know that Acadia is located in the famous for incredible fall foliage region of New England. The park is by far one of the most scenic spots on the East Coast. You won’t get enough of its mountains, forest and the coast. They make one of the most notable fall foliage spots in the country. It changes color rapidly in October. Explore the park and watch the array of wildlife prepare for winter.

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Shenandoah—Virginia

This is a bikers’ paradise. Cyclists will find themselves right at home in this stunningly beautiful park. It even has a festival dedicated to fall biking. The 27th Annual Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival takes place from Oct. 20 to 22 this year. It brings together more than 600 cyclists of all skill levels. The beautiful changing leaves and more than 500 miles of trails will keep any hiker or cyclist busy all season.

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Grand Teton—Wyoming

Grand Teton is a truly magical place in the fall. Some of the reasons why include its 40-mile long mountain range and spectacular calm lakes and rivers which look absolutely regal with bright fall colors in the background. You will mostly see golden yellow leaves. It’s a scene that makes a visit to Grand Teton well worth the trip.

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Denali—Alaska

Most people think of Alaska as being all about ice and snow, which is why they visit in the summer. But you need to see Denali in the short-but-sweet season of fall. The foliage display is at least as spectacular as parks in the lower 48—if not more so. Enjoy the views of magnificent mountains covered with snow and the tundra in gorgeous red hues.

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Cuyahoga Valley—Ohio

When have you ever thought of Ohio as a great place to see nature’s awesome fall colors? Don’t underestimate this park. Explore its scenic railroad or hike and bike some of the parks more than 120 miles of well-maintained trails. Visit in late October, not just to see the leaves, but to catch a glimpse of one of the many waterfalls, historic canals or eagles, as they nest in the park.

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Great Smoky Mountains—Tennessee & North Carolina

This is the most visited national park in the country several years in a row. Considering it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the southeast, this is not surprising. People don’t just go in the summer. The park is arguably best experienced in the fall. Every few feet of this magnificent 522,419-acre park offers stunning views. The best time to see the changing leaves at their best is typically from mid-October to early November.

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Glacier—Montana

The best time to visit one of the most beloved national parks is from mid-September to mid-October. Hike the 8-mile Summit Trail for world-class photo opportunities. The parks is often referred to as a “hiker’s paradise.” It has more than 700 miles of hiking trails, which are even more serene in the fall, when the crowds of summer have died out.

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Mount Rainier—Washington

Fall in this stunning park varies a lot from other regions on the East Coast. Colors begin to change in late September. You’ll be seeing a lot of hues of gold, amber and red on top of bushes, aspen trees, vine maple, and tamarack, to name a few. Trek through old growth forests and take photos of spectacular wild flower meadows. For the absolute best views, go between Sunrise and Chinook Pass.

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Rocky Mountain—Colorado

Stunning views from mountain peaks and wildlife sightings are major reasons to visit the park in the fall. And with 355 miles of hiking trails fit for all skill levels, seeing the Rockies on foot is a must. There’s nothing quite like exploring the Rockies on foot. Hike up to Flattop Mountain for panoramic views of changing leaves.

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Crater Lake—Oregon

A “must experience” for any trip to Crater Lake is the Rim Drive. It is 33 miles and it circles the caldera’s rim with amazing views throughout. The fresh air is invigorating and the available trails are nearly endless – offering more than 90 miles of hiking plus 33 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Hike the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which is the only access to the lake’s waters – legally, according to Union Creek Oregon.  

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Yosemite—California

One of the most popular parks in the U.S., Yosemite isn’t typically recognized for its fall color, but it’s certainly worth seeing. Visitors in the fall will benefit from fewer crowds and pops of color that typically show in late October, among trees that retain their green color. There is plenty to see – waterfalls, meadows, and forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world's largest living things.

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Zion—Utah

When it comes to Zion there’s a lot to love—especially in the fall. From September into November, leaves in the park change in time with the drop in elevation, giving visitors incredible views throughout the season. The phenomenon of changing leaves alongside striking pink and red rock formations is enough to impress any traveler, but when you visit at sunset, the fading sunlight adds a surreal red filter and makes the whole scene even more spectacular.

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Congaree—South Carolina

Aside from the stunning colors, fall is the best time to visit the park because there are fewer insects and the weather is ideal for outdoor activities. Paddle through an old-growth forest among some of the tallest trees in the East and hike the Boardwalk Loop Trail for a more thrilling way to see fall foliage. The more adventurous of you will be glad to hike the 11-mile Kingsnake Trail, which will take them through some very secluded parts of the park.

This photo of Kabetogama Peninsula is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Voyageurs—Minnesota

The color palette is already starting to change from green to a hint of yellow and red peeking through. You’ll see foliage peak in late September, with deciduous trees mixed with northern evergreens. As the leaves begin to change, the best ways to explore the park are joining a naturalist-led boat tour or a program and hiking the park’s 14 trails.

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Guadalupe Mountains—Texas

Go for the extensive hiking and backpacking opportunities. After all, this hidden gem is Texas one of the country’s most pristine wilderness areas. Deep inside the canyons the mountains conceal lush colorful forests filled with Bigtooth Maples, Velvet Ash, Junipers, Walnut, Oak, Madrone, and Ponderosa Pine, according to National Park Foundation. Leaves begin to change in mid-October.

National Parks With the Best Fall Displays