Summer may be a popular time for outdoor adventure, but one shouldn’t overlook the possibility of fall excursions either! With cooling weather, stunning displays of leaves, and often smaller crowds, autumn can be a great time to get back to nature. From places to see the most vibrant leaves to desert hikes, here are the top 10 best places to explore the outdoors this fall.
1. Ozark National Forest
Home to the tallest mountain in Arkansas – Mount Magazine – Ozark National Forest is also a great place to see some beautiful changing foliage. Peak viewing time for autumn leaves is mid to late October, though anywhere from mid-September to mid-November can offer some spectacular displays.
2. Joshua Tree National Park
Most National Parks experience their busiest months in the summer, with visitors gradually waning off as the colder months come around. Joshua Tree National Park is the exception to this trend. Fall is actually one of the most popular times to visit this park, thanks to its location in the desert. A visit in the autumn months means you’ll be able to take in the gorgeous scenery and enjoy the fresh air without braving as much of the desert heat.
3. Death Valley
Death Valley is another location that’s best to visit in the cooler months. The camping season, for instance, runs from fall through spring, as the area is too hot to camp at in the summer. Peak season, meanwhile, is during spring. This all means that fall can be a great time to visit for those looking to avoid both the heat and the crowds. You can look forward to camping, embarking on hikes in the area, or learning more about the park via a Ranger Program.
4. The Catskills Mountains
Part of the Appalachian mountains and located in New York, the Catskills are another great option for those looking to see changing foliage. In addition to outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and skiing (during the winter), The area is also home to a variety of lodging and resorts.
5. Colombia River Gorge, Oregon
The east coast may be the most famous for stunning fall foliage, but you can still see some beautiful fall colors over on the west coast! Consider checking out the Colombia River Gorge in Oregon. In addition to changing leaves, the area is also home to countless hiking trails, waterfalls, and the Colombia River. This makes it a great option for those looking for a memorable road trip that can include multiple stops.
6. The Pocono Mountains
Enjoy babbling brooks, cool weather, and gorgeous autumn scenery with a trip to the Pocono mountains! Located In Pennsylvania, the Poconos have long been a popular spot for outdoor recreation. You can look forward to activities such as hiking and camping with a visit here!
7. Rocky Mountain National Park
Like many of the other parks on this list, Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful any time of the year. However, a visit during the fall can let you experience this gorgeous park in a unique way. Because the park is so popular, it has implemented a timed entry system for those seeking to visit before October 11th, 2021. This means that a later fall visit can be a great way to beat some of the crowds.
8. Crystal River, Florida
Head on over to Crystal River, Florida to see manatees up close and personal. The best time to view manatees is generally November through April – they generally move closer to shore during the colder months. This means that a late fall trip is a great time to spot – and meet – some of these delightful creatures.
9. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park’s peak season is in the summertime. This means that a visit in the fall can be a great way to beat some of the crowds, as many parts of the park stay open through mid-fall. The Going-to-the-sun Road, one of the park’s main roads, is currently scheduled to remain open through Sunday, October 17. Additionally, the peak season for changing leaves is mid-September through mid-October. If you’re looking for some less crowded trails, nice weather, and fall foliage, consider adding Glacier National Park to your list of options.
10. Acadia National Park
Here’s another park famous for its autumn leaf displays! Acadia National Park is considered one of the best places to see changing leaves. September is a great time to visit Acadia – There are fewer crowds, the weather is still mild, and the leaves have already begun to change.
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