The Most Thrilling Ways to See Fall Foliage Across the U.S.

A look at some of the most unique and exciting leaf-peeping excursions

Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council

Most would agree: you haven’t fully immersed yourself in the fall season until you’ve taken a moment to truly appreciate all of the spectacular colors that begin to blossom as summer winds down.

As the seasons transition, leaf-peeping naturally becomes a go-to activity for outdoor enthusiasts of all different types. Many hike or drive to snag stellar views of some of the most vibrant fall landscapes, but we couldn’t help but wonder: are there more exhilarating ways to experience fall and its many spectacular shades?

As it turns out, there are plenty of adventurous fall excursions geared towards adding a unique twist to the traditional leaf-peeping experience.

From whitewater rafting in Oregon to ziplining through the Great Smoky Mountains, here’s a look at some of the most thrilling ways to see fall foliage across the U.S.

Hot Air Balloon Ride — N.Y.
finger lakes new york

Photo Credit: Flickr/Visit Finger Lakes CC by 2.0

Thanks to the stunning golden colors that contrast against the glistening blue waters, New York’s Finger Lakes region is considered one of the country’s best spots for leaf-peeping. There are many exciting ways to see the fall foliage here, including whitewater rafting, hiking and biking, and even wine tours by boat. But perhaps one of the most thrilling ways to obtain an unbeatable view is by soaring high above the breathtaking landscape in a cozy hot air balloon. We can’t think of a better way to soak in the striking scenery.

Elk Experience — Colo.
estes park elk

Photo Credit: Visit Estes Park

An experience unlike any other, every October adventure-lovers flock to Estes Park to enjoy a golden leaf landscape while listening to one of Mother Nature’s most unique soundtracks — the elk bugle. Each year nearly 3,000 elk converge in the park to join in on this fall tradition known as “the rut.”

Click here to see more of the most thrilling ways to see fall foliage across the U.S.

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Where and When You Can See Fall Foliage Across the U.S. [Infographic]