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The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the U.S.

When summer comes to an end, it is time to embrace sweater weather and enjoy the gorgeous reds, oranges, and yellows that fall can bring. Many people use weekend fall getaways to take a trip to the Northeast, but there are is a great range of fall foliage destinations across the U.S. See the trees transform for fall wherever you go — but don’t forget your hiking boots.

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01Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park, California in the fall

Even though Sequoia National Park’s namesake trees do not change color, they provide a dramatic backdrop for the surrounding tree’s transformations. Views on the hiking trails really are picturesque, and the fall sees fewer visitors to Sequoia. You’ll also benefit from some good weather; in summer the climate can be swelteringly hot, but average temperatures in October and November are around 60 degrees.

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02Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado autumn

With their gold and copper leaves contrasting against silver trunks, aspens really come into their own in the fall. In Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, you can see them at their finest in Glacier Gorge, Hollowell Park, and Beaver Meadows, thanks to the high elevations. For the keen hikers, there is a great opportunity to see the aspens against Lumpy Ridge’s red rock formations on the trail to Gem Lake.

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03Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas autumn

With more than 1.2 hectares of forest, there is always something to enjoy in Ozark National Forest. Late October is the best time to check out the changing foliage, but the Ouachitas and Arkansas River Valley, as well as the Delta and Gulf Coastal Plain, change a little later in November. Intrepid hikers can see the best transformations from the Whitaker Point and Signal Hill trails. For the less athletically inclined, enjoy the fall foliage by car along the Scenic 7 Byway, which winds up through the Ozark mountains.

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04Stowe, Vermont

stowe vermont small town church autumn

It is easy to see why Stowe is known as fall’s Color Capital. Found at the base of Vermont’s highest peak, the beauty of this New England village is hard to beat in autumn. With the chance to go rock climbing, hiking, and even skiing, outdoor enthusiasts won’t be bored in this town. There’s plenty of cultural activities as well, from checking out the local brewery scene or exploring the town itself, which is known for its festivals and culinary treats.

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05Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska in the fall

Talkeetna has a long history as an outpost used by gold miners, trappers, and homesteaders. Nowadays, it serves as the perfect place to take in the colors of fall. On a clear day, you can take in views over Denali, America’s tallest mountain. Make sure you spend some time taking in the national park, as here is where you can see the most impressive colors: the Balsam poplar trees turn a bright yellow in contrast with the vegetation below.

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06The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Aerial drone view on the small town Kunkletown, Poconos, Pennsylvania, in the fall. Aerial drone view on the small town Kunkletown, Poconos, Pennsylvania, in the fall.

Leaves start to turn in mid-September through to October in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. The perfect place to check out the foliage is the Poconos Mountains, which turn ablaze come fall with red, orange, and yellow leaves. Route 507 is a great way to check out the autumnal views around Lake Wallenpaupack.  

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07Grand Marais, Minnesota

Grand Marais, Minnesota lake in autumn

This small town on Lake Superior’s North Shore is a must-see in the fall. One hike not to miss is the Devil’s Kettle Falls at Judge C.R. Magney State Park, which ends in a majestic “waterfall to nowhere”. You can also make the 30-mile drive out to Poplar Haus along the Gunflint Trail, which skirts Lake Superior National Forest, to really appreciate the fall foliage.

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08Cape Cod, Massachusetts

You might be used to spending your summers in Cape Cod, but this getaway is just as good, come fall. Visitors are wowed with the color-changing trees while heading out pumpkin picking or visiting a cranberry bog. Foodies will love the plethora of farmer’s markets, breweries, and vineyards, and those looking to burn off all the delicious snacking can enjoy walking trails into Nickerson State Park or West Barnstable Conservation Area to take in the leaves up close.

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09Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia

Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia in autumn

Leaf peepers are spoiled for choice in Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. The park is home to the state's tallest waterfall, which can be seen from many trails in the park. Maple and oak trees adorn the falls, and as you climb the 729 feet to the top of the waterfall, you’ll be awed at the glorious fall colors on display.

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10Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park Maine in the fall

Acadia National Park is perfect for adventure lovers in the fall. Whether you’re into leaf-peeping, whale watching, birding, or kayaking, there are so many amazing nature experiences to be had here. Some of the best views are taken in by boat, but if you want to get up close, more than 100 trials will wind you through the foliage. The most famous view is from the Blue Hill Overlook atop Cadillac Mountain — you won't want to miss it.

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