As warm summer days make way for cooler autumn nights, leaves everywhere are beginning their annual transition to the vibrant oranges and reds of the season. Observing this scenery change is one of the easiest ways to experience America's awe-inspiring natural beauty. And the best part? It doesn’t cost a thing–except a little gas money.
While enjoying the scenery is best done on foot–to better take in the sights, sounds and smells of the season–first you’ll have to get there. We’ve searched from east to west for the nation’s most scenic fall foliage, and compiled a short list of travel options for foliage fans across the nation.
Our first stop is in Green Mountain National Forest. During the fall, maples are among the most drastically-changing trees in North America, and Vermont just so happens to have the highest percentage of maple trees in all of New England. Expect the warmest of welcomes from the surrounding mountains awash in vibrant oranges and yellows. Hot air balloon rides reach scenic heights, giving you a panoramic view of the region, as well as the nearby Lake Champlain. But be sure to mark your calendars, because the autumn colors here generally peak around the second week of October.
While New England may be famous for its showcase of vibrant fall colors, the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee put on their own stunning display. Sugar maples, scarlet oaks and hickories pepper the landscape with a flowing cascade of autumn hues. The Smokey Mountain National Park area hosts visitors in the fall with quaint cottages for the last three weeks of October, when peak foliage is most likely to occur.
Continuing our journey west, our next stop is on the Gold Coast in Michigan. The area is dotted with various wineries, making for the perfect trip to relax and enjoy the surrounding orange hues over a glass of red wine. Wonderfully scenic at any time during the year, the coast bursts with brilliant fall colors in the early weeks of October. If you’re close, we’d recommend a weekend adventure soon.
A quick trip southwest brings us to Crested Butte, Colorado, the perfect destination for hikers, cyclists, and lovers of all things outdoors. The Rocky Mountains make for one of the most immersive autumn experiences nationwide. There’s nothing quite like looking down on a sea of gold and yellow aspens as far as the eye can see. Grab a backpack and hit the trails in mid-October to get the full effect of the transitioning scenery.
At last, our trip comes to an end on the West Coast in Olympic National Park, Washington. After the first snow dusting of the towering Olympic Mountains, the trees turn almost overnight. Visitors can see rare wildlife, such as Roosevelt Elk and Golden Eagles on the backdrop of a fiery orange forest–a true once-in-a-lifetime experience for any autumn lover.
Of course, anyone can enjoy the beauty of fall right from their own porch, but if on your fall foliage voyage, you happen to turn into a turning tree, know that we’re never more than a phone call away. Even though the seasons change, we’ll always be there to lend a hand in restoring the rhythm of your life.