The crisp air of fall mixed with the vibrant colors gives me so much joy. I love leaf peeping and driving all the back roads to get the best foliage views.
I’ve put together my top 10 places to visit during the fall, some being near to PA where I live and some being much farther. For those I’ve visited, I linked blog posts that give you trip suggestions in each of the sections. I’ve also included my future fall travels list at the bottom of the post as I’ve seen photos from all of them and they are worth visiting as well.
1. Hawk Mountain in Central Pennsylvania
I took the photos you’ll see below from the top of Hawk Mountain in late fall and early winter after the leaves already had dropped from the trees. Picture this view in October with various shades of changing leaves on the skyline. You can learn more about a trip to Hawk Mountain here.
2. Poconos in North Eastern Pennsylvania
I have visited the Poconos during various seasons but fall is by far one of the most beautiful. Imagine the pictures below from Bushkill Falls during the fall with trees of reds, oranges, and yellows surrounding the waterfalls. It’s incredible to see. The Pocono Mountains cover so much area that I really don’t think you’d ever run out of things to do while visiting. For some additional suggestions, you can check out my blog here on how to spend your time in the Poconos.
3. Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont
I visited Vermont with a friend during the peak time for changing leaves a few years ago. We explored the bottom to the top of Vermont over a long weekend and the drive through Smuggler’s Notch was unforgettable. The roads are quite narrow with rock faces on either side but there’s spots for hiking and waterfall views along the way. I would recommend taking your time on the drive and just enjoying the scenery as you make your way through the mountains.
4. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
While on my trip through the Midwest with my Dad was my first visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We started in Wisconsin and weaved our way through states like Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. The full details are here but the views in early October of North Dakota were beautiful. The oranges and yellows and beiges of the dirt against the dark evergreen trees was such a nice contrast. We even got to see our first snowfall for the season while in the park.
5. Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is one of those iconic places to visit in fall. The church you’ll see below is set back off the road and this spot is one of those Instagram worthy locations. The ski resort has Gondola rides you can take to the top of the mountain which overlooks the valley for miles and gives great perspective for all your fall foliage photos.
6. Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio
I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure about Ohio being a fall destination BUT, Cuyahoga National Park is very much worth the trip. These views from nearby the waterfalls and the lake had the most gorgeous fall colors. We visited mid October of 2019 which you can find out more about here.
7. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
There’s not as much fall foliage in the Badlands as you may be used to in other areas, but the colors of the soil against the trees and brush creates a great contrast. If you’re over the fall leaves, check out this spot in South Dakota for still beautiful fall views. The pictures below are from early October.
8. Colorado Springs, Colorado
I visited Colorado in April of 2019 during a 10 day trip through Colorado and Arizona. I stayed two nights in Colorado Springs and hiked the Manitou Incline and drove to the top of Pike’s Peak while I was there. While I visited in Spring, I’m know that the colors around the mountains during the fall would be bold and beautiful.
9. Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee
I’ve visited the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg twice over the last two years. There’s so much to do in the area, especially in the fall. During my first trip there, I stayed on the mountain outside of Gatlinburg and had views for many miles. Imagining those views during the later fall seasons where the trees are changing and apple cider is brewing would be just incredible. I would recommend driving through the National Park and Cade’s Cove during October and November in order to see the best fall scenery.
10. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison was the town my Dad and I flew into as we began our trip through 8+ states. We landed near the middle of October and the leaves were already changing and it was cold enough we had to go buy gloves and thicker jackets for our trip. Both downtown Madison and the surrounding areas are full of colors during the fall months.
The list you found above is all place I’ve already been but I wanted to share a few places from my fall bucket list as well that I haven’t yet visited. The list below are the MUST SEES specifically in fall because of how beautiful the trees are of oranges and yellows.
Adirondack Mountains, New York
Acadia National Park, Maine
White Mountains, New Hampshire
Catskill Mountains, New York
If you have any suggestions of places to visit in the fall, feel free to share! I’m always adding more to my fall travels list.