September 22nd marks the first day of fall for 2013. It seems that every year, we all circle this date on our calendar and promise ourselves to venture out and experience the colors of fall. This year, we are making it even easier for you to fulfill this promise, take a road trip, or book a flight and make it happen!
Our Top Picks for Fall Foliage Trips
1. Aspen, Colorado
The Aspen is a state-wide celebrated tree of Colorado. This beautiful tree undergoes multiple color changes throughout the fall season, and there is no greater place to take these pictures than in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. We recommend planning your Colorado vacation during the month of September. Around the dates of the 15 thru the 25th, you can witness the Aspens peaking to vivid oranges and bright reds. Against the backdrop of the endless Evergreens coating the area, there is nothing more beautiful.
2. The Catskills, New York
The Catskills and Hudson Valley regions of New York are ideal destination spots for city-area “leaf-peepers.” The region is within a two hour drive of metropolitan NYC and absolutely thrives in the fall! Besides scenic views, the area is a host to harvest festivals and cultural events for travelers of all ages and interest levels to enjoy! To witness the leaves in their peak of change, you want to get there anytime between mid-September to early October.
3. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Oregon is infamous for its natural scenery and the fall season merits no exception! The changing colors in the Columbia River Gorge region of Oregon is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage, and makes for a popular and inexpensive getaway for families! The colors here are at their prime viewing stages in late October and with the cool breeze from the Pacific ocean, we highly recommend bringing a jacket with you!
4. Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada
Our neighbors to the North have done it again! Southeastern Quebec is a scenic gem that many U.S. travelers have come to adopt as a traditional visit each fall season. Aside from what we would consider to be breathtaking natural landscapes, the area is peppered with 18th and 19th century architecture such as covered bridges, road barns, churches and more.
5. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
As if the name of the lake wasn’t intriguing enough! Fall in the Ozarks region is a fabulous time for travel. Peak viewing times for these mammoth trees is mainly in late October. The high rainfall patterns, mixed with mild temperatures for that region provide clear and warm days that really set up these trees for excellent color.
6. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Autumn is nothing shy of a busy but beautiful time in the Smoky Mountains. Year round the park is a top tourist attraction for people of all ages but particularly in the fall, places within the park such as the Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) are really a must-see. Over 100 native species of tress thrive within these mountains; a sight that is sure to never provide a dull moment. To see the beauty of the Great Smokies, we recommend planning your trip for the later weeks of October.
7. Poconos Pennsylvania
The Poconos region spans for more than 2,400 square miles! This gives ample viewing space to three different color zones allowing you to hit peak color times not once, not twice but three times! Additionally, Poconos is home to more than 127 varieties of trees, plants and other small shrubs. To visit Pennsylvania during a time of full color, it is best to plan your trip in mid- October.
8. Washington County, Maine
Maine is every “leaf-peepers” playground. Washington County in particular offers stunning scenery of great Maples and lakes the go on for miles! The peak of foliage conditions for Maine are well underway in the Northern regions, but central and Southern Maine don’t reach their peak viewing condition’s until well into mid-October.
9. Lost Maples Natural Area, Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas, including fall! In Lost Maples Natural Area, visitors are free to enjoy activities such as camping, hiking, backpacking, bird watching, fishing and so much more! There are designated trails throughout the area which provide a great path to photograph images of the countless tress and wildlife in the area. The best times for catching the season changes here range from late October to November.
10. Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
Litchfield is located a comfortable 2 ½ hours from Boston and 2 hours from New York City. Sitting comfortably in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, Litchfield offers a colorful and vibrant backdrop for fall activities. Nestled in Litchfield are historic restaurants, boutiques, sites for wine tastings and so much more! Litchfield is best seen in the fall in mid-October, but fall festivities for this town run season-round!
To plan your full Fall Foliage Road Trip, we recommend using the experts at Roadtrippers! Their site is completely free and will provide you with helpful links to cozy lodges, mom and pop restaurants and iconic roadside sites along the way of your fall foliage destination!