Autumn is a season of transition, and for many people the highlight of autumn is the stunning display of fall foliage. There is something magical about the rich shades of red, orange, and yellow that light up the landscape, and there is no better place to experience this than in the national parks. From the East Coast to the West Coast, there are countless national parks that offer breathtaking displays of fall foliage.
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
Located on the coast of Maine, Acadia National Park offers stunning views of the ocean and the mountains. The park is home to a variety of tree species, including sugar maples, red maples, and birch trees, which turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow in the fall. The park’s 27-mile Park Loop Road is a great way to take in the fall foliage, with stops at popular sites like Jordan Pond and Cadillac Mountain.
2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular parks in the country, and for good reason. In the fall, the park’s deciduous trees put on a show, with vibrant colors that light up the mountains. One of the best ways to experience the fall foliage is by driving along the park’s scenic roads, like Foothills Parkway or Newfound Gap Road.
3. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is a popular destination for leaf-peeping. The park is home to a variety of tree species, including oaks, hickories, and dogwoods, which turn fiery shades of red and orange in the fall. Visitors can take in the fall foliage on the park’s scenic Skyline Drive, which offers panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley.
4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
While most people think of the Rockies as a summer destination, fall is actually one of the best times to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. As the aspens turn a golden yellow, the park becomes a stunning canvas of color. The park’s Trail Ridge Road is a popular scenic drive that offers stunning views of the fall foliage.
5. Glacier National Park, Montana
Montana’s Glacier National Park is a breathtaking destination any time of year, but in the fall the park takes on a special beauty. The park’s many lakes and forests become awash in deep reds and oranges as the leaves turn. Visitors can take in the fall foliage on the park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, which offers spectacular views of the park’s mountains and valleys.
No matter where you are in the country, there is a national park nearby that offers stunning fall foliage. So grab your camera and hit the road – the magic of autumn awaits.