Eagle and Symphony Lakes: Chugach State Park, Alaska from Hikes for Fall Colors
Hikes for Fall Colors
Eagle and Symphony Lakes: Chugach State Park, Alaska
The South Fork Valley Trail in Chugach State Park will take you on a 9.6-mile roundtrip adventure with outstanding views of surrounding peaks. With just 1,700 feet of elevation gain, this is an easy hike that ends at Eagle and Symphony Lakes—excellent spots for catching wild rainbow trout and Alaska northern pike.
Ute Trail: Aspen, Colorado
This "mile-long aerobic workout" takes you up 1,165 feet via switchbacks to a summit with amazing views of the city of Aspen. Ambitious hikers can go another 2,300 vertical feet to the summit of Ajax Mountain.
Blackwater Canyon Trail: Blackwater Canyon, West Virginia
While the total length of this path is 10.2 miles, four parking lots along the trail let you choose the distance you'll hike and the scenery you'll see. Depending on the section you choose, you might pass under the Big Run Archway—a landmark built by Italian stonemasons in the 1880s—or the 35-foot Douglas Falls.
The Rockwall Trail: Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
If you're looking for a challenging, multiday trek with incredible fall colors, check out the world-renowned Rockwall Trail. Stretching about 35 miles, the path will take you along towering limestone cliffs, as well as through alpine meadows and larch forests. You'll also pass 1,154-foot Helmet Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies.
Skyline Trail: Babcock State Park: Danese, West Virginia
Beginning at Manns Creek Picnic Area, this flat, four-mile out-and-back trip will take approximately two hours. This is just one great hike in a 4,127-acre park with 20 miles of trails (click here for a trail map). The many paths can take you through Manns Creek Gorge, as well as past streams and a working gristmill.
Enchantment Lakes, Washington
The traditional path to Enchantment Lakes is trail 1553. It starts at the Snow Lakes trailhead about four miles outside of Leavenworth, Washington, and will take you on a grueling 10-mile hike with 6,000 feet of elevation gain. For this reason, many people choose to take two cars and park one at each end of the trail. You can also camp overnight and awake to the sight of an alpine lake and gorgeous yellow autumn leaves on the surrounding larch trees.
Appalachian Trail: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Rather than tackling the entire 2,200 miles of this National Scenic Trail, you can opt for a small but spectacular section within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Drive to the parking area at Newfound Gap and take the Appalachian Trail to Indian Gap. The 3.4-mile roundtrip will give you a taste of this historic route and allow you to see beautiful fall foliage.
Sherman Peak: Bear River Range, Idaho
At 9,682 feet, Sherman Peak is the highest mountain in this region and therefore provides the best view of fall colors in the area. It can be accessed via the Bear River Range Highline Trail from the parking area near the trailhead off Eightmile Creek Road. In total, it's a 3.5-mile hike to the summit.
Trail of Ten Falls: Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
The eight-mile Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park will take you past a series of gorgeous cascades accented with the vibrant oranges, reds and yellows of fall. Day-use permits are required year-round and can be purchased at the park entrance booth.
The Stowe Pinnacle Trail: Vermont
The first week of October is the best time to do this moderate hike in northwestern Vermont. The steep, 2.8-mile-long trail will deliver you to a bald summit with views of the Green Mountains (including the famed Camel's Hump and Mt. Mansfield) and the Worchester Range to the west, as well as Hogback Mountain to the southeast.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail: Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin
Devil's Lake State Park is one of nine Ice Age National Scientific Reserve units. On the scenic trail, you can find incredible glacial features and breathtaking views that highlight some the best autumn colors in the Midwest. While the entire loop is 13.7 miles, you can also take the 4.5-mile Sauk Point Trail or 1.8-mile Roznos Meadow Trail.
May Lake: Yosemite National Park, California
This family-friendly hike starts at the Snow Flat trailhead and covers 1.3 miles. Because it's a relatively easy jaunt, you can expect not just the beautiful granite peaks and sparkling blue waters of Yosemite, but also the crowds. Still, the view of May Lake below 10,000-foot Mount Hoffman makes this popular hike worth the (short) trek.
Hoenderloo Forest Walk: Hoge Veluwe National Park, Netherlands
We know, we know—this isn't exactly a trip you can do over the weekend. However, our shout-out to Hoge Veluwe National Park is a reminder that there are incredible locations across the world to see beautiful foliage. If you find yourself in the Netherlands in the fall, try the forest walk starting at the Hoenderloo entrance. In total, this trail is approximately 11 miles long, but from September 1-30 (the mating season for deer in the park) visitors are only allowed to walk about 8.5 miles of the trail.