The 4 Best Places to See Fall Foliage

There is nothing better than experiencing the natural wonder of America. This notion is never truer than in autumn when trees across the country erupt into vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds. Every fall, millions of people flock to national parks, forests, and scenic byways to take in the fall foliage, with no destination more popular than rural New England.

Thankfully, you don’t have to trek to New England or Appalachia to enjoy the splendor of color. There are destinations all across the country where you can experience the transition from summer to fall and the brilliant hues of nature.

Aspen, Colorado. Named for the wispy aspen tree, the hills are alive with the colors of fall. Everywhere you look, you’ll find aspen groves dotting the countryside throughout the White River National Forest. The aspen is known for its remarkably vibrant yellows. However, travelers to Aspen and the surrounding area do face one big challenge: timing.

The aspens of Colorado are quick to change. They often begin their transformation in September. They are typically yellow through the end of September, before turning a burnt orange and red into October. Even if you miss one color, chances are, you’ll be treated to another. And, of course, you always have the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

Willamette Valley, Oregon. Nestled between the Cascades and the Oregon Coast Range, Willamette Valley spans from Portland down to Eugene. Throughout the valley, which is also Oregon wine country, you’ll find spectacular foliage. One of the most popular foliage destination is the Oregon Garden in Silverton, a town due south of Portland. This botanical garden boasts 80 acres of natural and manicured flora to explore.

Additionally, the natural beauty of the region stretches east of Portland along the Columbia River Gorge. Take the Historic Columbia River Highway and you’ll encounter some of the most picturesque waterfalls in the country, including Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horsetail Falls.

Mount Desert Island, Maine. Home to the quintessential New England town of Bar Harbor, this island east of Portland, Maine, is defined by natural wonder. Hike, bike, or drive through Acadia National Park and take in the diverse mix of ecosystems, from mountain to forest to sea.

Mount Desert Island, along with Acadia National Park, is must-see destination for all fall foliage enthusiasts. Colors tend to peak mid-October, but go anytime during the month and you are guaranteed breathtaking views. If a trip to the island isn’t already on your bucket list, it’s absolutely worth adding.

Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Known for its many forests, from Sault Ste. Marie State Forest Area to Hiawatha National Forest to Ottawa National Forest, the Upper Peninsula is one the most densely forested regions in the central states.

On top of that, the region sports an impressive variety of colorful foliage with aspen, birch, maple, oak, and sycamore trees dominating the landscape. And the list goes on. Peak fall foliage season occurs through early to mid-October, but with such diversity of flora, a visit during any time in October will leave you with an experience you won’t soon forget!