Fall foliage

Richard McMillin/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The Best Fall Foliage Spot in Your State

The Best Fall Foliage Spot in Your State

Views you won’t want to miss
Fall foliage

Richard McMillin/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Crisp, clean air, panoramic views and miles of forests bursting with bright yellows, reds, oranges and greens are the makings of the best fall destinations. Luckily, fall foliage can be found in just about every state during the autumn months of September to November. Here are the top destinations in each state and Washington, D.C., to see changing leaves.

Alabama: DeSoto State Park

Alabama: DeSoto State Park

James Deitsch/Shutterstock

DeSoto State Park in Alabama is lush with vibrant trees and bright scenery — but that’s not the area’s only attraction. Fall is an incredible time for visitors to see blooming wildflowers and beautiful waterfalls too.

Alaska: Denali National Park

Alaska: Denali National Park

brytta/E+ via Getty Images

Home to some of the coldest cities in the world, Alaska has a short and sweet autumn, but the mountains of Denali National Park make the perfect backdrop for watching the leaves change colors. Make sure to bundle up though — the average low temperature in September at Denali National Park is 31 degrees.

Arizona: White Mountains

Arizona: White Mountains

DaleDigital/Shutterstock

On the eastern border of Arizona near New Mexico are rows of majestic mountains. Peppered with pine trees, the White Mountains are made up of an interconnected system of urban trails allowing for limitless hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding surrounded by fall colors.

Arkansas: Ozark National Forest

Arkansas: Ozark National Forest

westtexasfish/Shutterstock

Ozark National Forest, consisting of over 1 million acres of northwestern Arkansas, has some of America’s most breathtaking views. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the park’s rugged Ozark Mountains are actually plateaus, but that doesn’t make the fall scenery any less stunning.

California: Napa Valley

California: Napa Valley

Spondylolithesis/E+ via Getty Images

Popular for its sunny skies and sandy beaches, the Golden State has stunning fall views too. By late autumn in Napa Valley, the vineyard leaves turn a vibrant yellow and red. Along with fall colors, visitors in autumn can witness “crush,” the harvest season when grapes are gathered and smashed on vineyard crush pads to make various wines.

Colorado: Kebler Pass

Colorado: Kebler Pass

Brent_1/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Some of Colorado’s most beautiful fall colors are best seen driving scenic routes. At over 10,000 feet high, Kebler Pass, located between Paonia and Crested Butte, offers mountain views and aspen trees lining gravel roads.

Connecticut: Talcott Mountain State Park

Connecticut: Talcott Mountain State Park

Andy_Leclerc/Shutterstock

An easy beginner’s hiking trail takes visitors up Talcott Mountain to the Heublein Tower for 360-degree views of the charming Connecticut landscape. To accommodate increased visitors, the Heublein Tower is open six days a week during fall foliage season.

Delaware: Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

Delaware: Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

© Melissa Fague/Dreamstime.com

The best fall foliage in Delaware can be found at Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway. The 12-mile route runs through rolling hills from downtown Wilmington to the Pennsylvania state line. Drive time for the whole byway rounds out to about an hour. So, you can enjoy the kaleidoscope of autumn colors and still have time to head home and whip up an easy home-cooked meal.

Florida: Falling Waters State Park

Florida: Falling Waters State Park

Pitchfinder/Shutterstock

There’s much more to Florida than Disney and the beach. One of the best leaf-peeping spots is Falling Waters State Park, known as the home of Florida’s highest waterfall as well as Falling Waters Sink, a 100-foot deep, 20-foot-wide sinkhole that drops 73 feet. The foliage up Interstate 10 to the park can be lovely as well.

Georgia: Tallulah Gorge State Park

Georgia: Tallulah Gorge State Park

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Two miles long and 1,000 feet deep, Tallulah Gorge is one of the most impressive canyons on the East Coast. Visitors can view the cascading waterfalls and tree-flanked canyons either by hiking the rim trails, crossing a beautiful bridge or by obtaining one of the limited permits to hike the gorge floor itself.

Hawaii: Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden

Hawaii: Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden

© MNStudio/Dreamstime.com

The weather in Hawaii is a dream year-round, so unfortunately you won’t be seeing traditional fall foliage in the Aloha State. Instead, visitors can head to one of America’s best botanical gardens, the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden in Papaikou to see more than 2,000 species of tropical plants.

Idaho: Payette River Scenic Byway

Idaho: Payette River Scenic Byway

Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism 

Totaling almost 112 miles of road, the Payette River Scenic Byway in Idaho takes just over two hours to drive down. The narrow and winding two-lane byway starts west of Boise, one of America’s most underrated cities.

Illinois: Starved Rock State Park

Illinois: Starved Rock State Park

© James Vallee/Dreamstime.com

The most photogenic spot in the state, Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park is just 90 miles southwest of Chicago. The 2,630-acre park features 13 miles of trails leading to 18 canyons. During fall, the park is covered in incredible colors reflected off the waters of the Illinois River.

Indiana: Brown County State Park

Indiana: Brown County State Park

Aeypix/Shutterstock

Brown County State Park, nicknamed the “Little Smokies,” is Indiana’s largest state park. A park perfect for fall foliage, Brown encompasses 20 miles of tree-lined roads and vistas overlooking 16,000 acres of hills and forest.

Iowa: Kepler State Park

Iowa: Kepler State Park

© Steven Prorak/Dreamstime.com

With deep ravines, river bluffs, hardwood trees and miles and miles of trails along the Cedar River, Kepler State Park in Iowa is prime territory for long-distance hiking. During the fall, the leaves of the many black maple trees turn a deep golden color.

Kansas: Glacial Hills Scenic Byway

Kansas: Glacial Hills Scenic Byway

Courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Go for a scenic drive on the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway in Kansas for immaculate views of sunset-colored leaves. The 63-mile route starts in Leavenworth and ends in White Cloud. Along the way is Atchison, the birthplace of one of history’s most iconic women, Amelia Earhart.

Kentucky: Lake Cumberland State Resort Park

Kentucky: Lake Cumberland State Resort Park

Courtesy of Kentucky Department of Parks

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park in Kentucky offers gorgeous panoramic views of more than 52,000 acres of water and 1,225 miles of lush forest shoreline. Not just great for boating and fishing, the park also has gorgeous golf courses, hiking and horseback trails, and tennis and shuffleboard courts.

Louisiana: Chemin-A-Haut State Park

Louisiana: Chemin-A-Haut State Park

Courtesy of Louisiana State Parks

Visitors to Chemin-A-Haut State Park in Louisiana can ditch the trails and take in the autumnal view from a boat on the cypress tree-crowded Bayou Bartholomew. People can also pack a picnic full of Creole and Cajun dishes to enjoy at one of the park's 35 picnic sites. 

Maine: Baxter State Park

Maine: Baxter State Park

BarbaraHeap/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Hikers can enjoy more than 215 miles of trails, 337 campsites and over 209,000 acres of wilderness at Baxter State Park. This park of colossal splendor is one of the absolute best places for a fall day trip.

Maryland: Sugarloaf Mountain

Maryland: Sugarloaf Mountain

Regine Poirier/Shutterstock

Located in one of America’s happiest states, Sugarloaf Mountain in Frederick County, Maryland, is home to oak, black gum, poplar, black birch and hemlock trees, many different types of wildflowers and exciting wildlife like white-tailed deer, eastern cottontails and red foxes. 

Massachusetts: Pioneer Valley

Massachusetts: Pioneer Valley

DenisTangneyJr/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Whether from ground level or up in a hot air balloon, Pioneer Valley has sights perfect for fall. The Bay State’s Berkshire Hills and the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire are all viewable from this portion of the Connecticut River Valley.

Michigan: Upper Peninsula

Michigan: Upper Peninsula

RiverNorthPhotography/E+ via Getty Images

Three Great Lakes and 1,700 miles of shoreline covered in fiery trees in the fall are just the beginning of what this underrated American travel destination has to offer. Scattered across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are more than 300 waterfalls as well as stellar views of the northern lights.

Minnesota: North Shore All-American Scenic Drive

Minnesota: North Shore All-American Scenic Drive

nikitsin.smugmug.com/Shutterstock

Take the North Shore All-American Scenic Drive through America’s best lake towns as well as seven state parks from Duluth to Grand Portage, Minnesota. The drive offers striking views of changing trees, streams, waterfalls, cliffs and hills all lining Lake Superior.

Mississippi: Natchez Trace

Mississippi: Natchez Trace

Anton Foltin/Shutterstock

Historically used by Native Americans, European settlers, soldiers and more, the Natchez Trace Parkway is now a scenic two-lane road from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. It passes by maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees that brilliantly change colors in the fall.

Missouri: Katy Trail State Park

Missouri: Katy Trail State Park

LanaG/Shutterstock

Katy Trail State Park is home to the longest developed rail-trail in the country, the 240-mile Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad pathway between Clinton and Machens, Missouri. The majority of the trail closely follows the Missouri River and is used for walking, biking, horseback riding and more on top of being a prime leaf-peeping spot in the fall.

Montana: Glacier National Park

Montana: Glacier National Park

Don White/E+ via Getty Images

One of America’s most underrated parks, Glacier National Park in Montana is perfect for fall camping. With over 700 miles of trails lined with multicolored trees, waterfalls, glaciers and lakes, there’s no shortage of options for adventurers. 

Nebraska: Ponca State Park

Nebraska: Ponca State Park

Courtesy of Nebraskaland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Ponca State Park is one of Nebraska’s most-visited state parks, and for good reason. Just two hours north of Omaha, one of America’s most caring cities, Ponca offers 22 miles of forested hiking and biking trails and sweeping views of the Missouri River.

Nevada: Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway

Nevada: Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway

Gerald Corsi/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway is a two-lane, 12-mile drive that takes you 8,800 feet up through the Ruby Mountains in Nevada to look down on the fall colors below. On the way to the top, guests can take a self-guided car tour or check out Lamoille Glacier Overlook to see 11,000-foot-tall glaciated peaks carved out by icy glaciers more than 250,000 years ago.

New Hampshire: Rocky Gorge and Falls Pond

New Hampshire: Rocky Gorge and Falls Pond

© Paul Smith/Dreamstime.com

Accessible via a mile-long loop trail, Rocky Gorge and Falls Pond are roadside attractions with up-close and personal views of rushing river rapids and cascades. The picturesque trees in this area are part of the 800,000-acre White Mountains National Forest.

New Jersey: Norvin Green State Forest

New Jersey: Norvin Green State Forest

Courtesy of New Jersey State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites

Visitors have to work to reach Norvin Green State Forest’s stunning autumn views. The area's terrain is rugged, but the juice is worth the squeeze. Trails are either old forest roads or new trails constructed by volunteers. Hills in the area range from 400 to 1,300 feet in elevation, so bring your best hiking boots.

New Mexico: Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

New Mexico: Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

Gestalt Imagery/Shutterstock

For magical views of the Carson National Forest, take the appropriately named Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, a loop of more than 80 miles, around the highest mountain in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak. The drive starts and ends in the gorgeous storybook town of Taos.

New York: The Catskills

 New York: The Catskills

GabrielPevide//E+ via Getty Images

You can’t go wrong spending a fall day in the Catskills. Visitors can choose from family and senior-friendly hikes like Frick Pond Loop or difficult treks like the 8.2-mile journey up Hunter Mountain for tree-filled views of three more states: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont.

North Carolina: Linn Cove Viaduct Road

North Carolina: Linn Cove Viaduct Road

Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Linn Cove Viaduct Road is a seven-mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that winds alongside Grandfather Mountain. The intricate viaduct is internationally recognized as an engineering marvel that’s as impressive as the colors that surround it.

North Dakota: Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area

North Dakota: Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area

Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism

In northern North Dakota near Walhalla lies Pembina Gorge. There, the Pembina River rushes past red, orange and yellow trees that make up 2,800 acres of the Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area. Tall valley cliffs tower over prairies and wetlands all surrounded by lush, undisturbed forest.

Ohio: Hocking Hills State Park

Ohio: Hocking Hills State Park

Ron and Patty Thomas/iStock via Getty Images Plus

This spectacular state park in Ohio is home to Ash Cave, one of the most stunning spots in all of America’s state and national parks. But caves aren’t all guests visit for. The over-2,000-acre park has towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep valleys filled with fiery trees in the fall.

Oklahoma: Beavers Bend State Park

Oklahoma: Beavers Bend State Park

GracedByTheLight/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Pretty during spring and fall, Beavers Bend State Park is located in the mountainous region of southeast Oklahoma along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River. There, guests can pass through forests of pine and hardwood trees and see gorgeous scenery all around.

Oregon: Mount Hood Scenic Byway

Oregon: Mount Hood Scenic Byway

Jennifer Bosvert/Shutterstock

The 100-mile Mount Hood Scenic Byway skirts around the highest peak in all of Oregon. At 11,245 feet, Mount Hood is a dormant volcano that last erupted in the 1780s. Along with river and mountain views, the byway allows for prime fruit farm viewing too.

Pennsylvania: Lake Nockamixon

Pennsylvania: Lake Nockamixon

AardLumens/iStock via Getty Images Plus

This reservoir in southeastern Pennsylvania is a prime boating location. The surrounding 5,283-acre Nockamixon State Park, which is typically open from stunning sunrise to beautiful sunset, is perfect for picturesque hiking, biking and horseback riding and more beneath fall colors.

Rhode Island: Roger Williams Park

Rhode Island: Roger Williams Park

Ally Cowie/Shutterstock

Roger Williams Park in Rhode Island, a hidden American gem, is home to over 100 acres of ponds, a nationally recognized zoo, planetarium and Museum of Natural History, a botanical center and more. Along with these attractions, the park’s 435 acres are home to more than 5,000 trees that shift colors in the fall.

South Carolina: Campbell’s Covered Bridge

South Carolina: Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Kruck20/iStock via Getty Images Plus

This firetruck-red structure is the only remaining covered bridge in all of South Carolina. The 38-foot long, 12-foot wide pine building spans Beaverdam Creek. Visitors can hang out in the bridge’s surrounding park, take a dip in the creek, have a picnic or snap pictures of the changing trees at this popular tourist spot.

South Dakota: Black Hills

South Dakota: Black Hills

photosbyjim/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Despite the name, the Black Hills of South Dakota are quilted in brilliant red, gold and orange colors in the fall. A popular RV camping destination, the Black Hills are rich in history and otherworldly beauty.

Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park, covers 244,000 acres of land in Tennessee and 276,000 acres of North Carolina. Visitors to the Volunteer State can expect the most marvelous hues between mid-October to early November at mid and low elevations and starting in September at higher elevations.

Texas: Garner State Park

Texas: Garner State Park

Richard McMillin/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Backyard camping has nothing on spending the night at Garner State Park in Texas Hill Country. The 2.9-mile Frio River snakes through 1,774 acres of dramatic terrain that can be enjoyed via 16 miles of hiking trails ranging in difficulty. Colorful oaks, cypress trees and more dot the park’s canyons and river banks.

Utah: Alpine Scenic Loop Backway

Utah: Alpine Scenic Loop Backway

© Johnny Adolphson/Dreamstime.com

Famous for fall drives, the Alpine Scenic Loop Backway winds up American Fork Canyon, then down into Provo Canyon and U.S. 189. From the byway, visitors can also walk on trails to Mount Timpanogos and Lone Peak Wilderness Areas. 

Vermont: Long Trail

Vermont: Long Trail

MH Anderson Photography/Shutterstock

This gnarly trail, the nation’s first long-distance hiking trail, is quintessentially New England. Vermont’s Long Trail is made up of a 272-mile footpath, 166 miles of side trails and 70 backcountry camping sites. Built between 1910 and 1930, the trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from Canada to the Massachusetts-Vermont state line, passing by colorful forests of maple, birch, oaks, aspen and beech.

Virginia: Skyline Drive

Virginia: Skyline Drive

Vladimir Grablev/Shutterstock

When Virginia’s vibrant hues make their debut, the best place to see them is along the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, which runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors are required to follow the rules of the road, primarily the 35 mph speed limit meant to protect the local wildlife.

Washington: Mount Rainier National Park

Washington: Mount Rainier National Park

Rene Frederick/Photodisc via Getty Images

Although it’s known as the Evergreen State, Washington is alive with color in autumn. Mount Rainier, both an active volcano and the highest mountain in the state, is southwest of pet-friendly Seattle.

Washington, DC: National Mall

Washington, DC: National Mall

MH Anderson Photography/Shutterstock

Walking the National Mall is one of the 101 things every American should do in the U.S. in their lifetime. America’s capital is plentiful with color when sweater weather rolls around. The National Mall has flawless fall foliage that can be seen from virtually anywhere, including the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting pool or the Washington Monument.

West Virginia: Blackwater Falls State Park

West Virginia: Blackwater Falls State Park

Kathleen K. Parker/Shutterstock

Being one with nature is easy at Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains. There are 20 miles of hiking trails and comfortable cabin lodging on the park grounds too.

Wisconsin: Peninsula State Park

Wisconsin: Peninsula State Park

marchello74/Shutterstock

Door County is famous for its fall foliage displays, and some of Wisconsin’s greatest colors can be found in Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. There, guests have a slew of recreational activities to choose from as they take in the crisp fall air, including hiking, biking, rowing and golfing.

Wyoming: Oxbow Bend

Wyoming: Oxbow Bend

Michael Morse/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Oxbow Bend is a popular spot in Wyoming’s gorgeous Grand Teton National Park because of its views of the river, vibrant trees and the Teton Range. In fact, pictures of the park made our list of 101 jaw-droppingly beautiful photos of America.

More from The Active Times:

Beautiful Hotels Around the World 

Historic Towns in Every State 

The Best Virtual Tours of National Parks, Zoos and More in Each State

The Biggest Mansions in America 

How to Repair Your Relationship With Your Kids