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Best Spots in the USA for Leaf-Peeping!



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As summer fades into autumn and the air gets cooler, the United States is treated to a beautiful display of fall colors: reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. The fall foliage season is the best time to discover the country’s varied landscapes, ranging from the rolling hills of New England to the rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains. If you’re a leaf-peeper seeking the best places to view fall colors, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the most spectacular destinations for experiencing the magic of autumn foliage in the United States.
New England’s Crown Jewels: Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine
New England is the place to be if you want to experience fall foliage. The states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine offer some of the most breathtaking displays of autumn beauty in the entire nation. Vermont’s Green Mountains, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and the serene coastline of Maine serve as the perfect backdrop for the changing foliage. Be sure not to miss the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, where the colors of the leaves stand out against the rugged terrain.
The Great Smoky Mountains: Tennessee and North Carolina
The Great Smoky Mountains straddle the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, offering a mesmerizing blend of vibrant foliage and rolling mist. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its diverse plant life, including more than 100 species of native trees. Early October is the prime time to visit, with sugar maples, hickories, and oaks painting the landscape in shades of red, orange, and gold.
The Rocky Mountains: Colorado
The Rocky Mountains are renowned for their towering peaks, but during the fall season, they also present an awe-inspiring array of colors. The Colorado Rockies offer a distinct combination of golden aspens, fiery sumacs, and deep red maples. Take a drive along the Million Dollar Highway (US Route 550) in the San Juan Mountains for an unforgettable autumn adventure.
The Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia and North Carolina
The Blue Ridge Parkway is often called “America’s Favorite Drive,” for good reason. This scenic byway is a leaf-peeper’s dream stretching through Virginia and North Carolina. Rolling hills, meadows, and dense forests create a kaleidoscope of colors. The peak foliage season typically occurs in late October, making it the perfect time for a road trip.
The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway: New Mexico
To experience the beauty of fall foliage in the Southwest, take a trip to the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway in New Mexico. This 84-mile loop will take you through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where you can witness the stunning transformation of aspens and cottonwoods into brilliant shades of gold. Along the route, you will come across the quaint village of Taos, which is an ideal spot to immerse yourself in the autumn ambiance.
The Ozark Mountains: Arkansas and Missouri
The Ozark Mountains, located in Arkansas and Missouri, may be lesser-known for fall foliage, but they are no less stunning. The rolling hills and dense woodlands come alive with hues of red and orange in late October. The Ozark National Forest is a hidden gem for leaf peepers looking for a quieter escape.
The Columbia River Gorge: Oregon and Washington
The Columbia River Gorge on the West Coast presents a unique combination of the Pacific Northwest’s beauty and fall foliage’s splendor. The towering cliffs, waterfalls, and the Columbia River create a picturesque background to the vibrant autumnal colors. Discover the scenic byways and hiking trails that meander through this stunning region.
Remember to plan your fall foliage trip in advance, as peak colors vary from year to year and depend on local climate conditions.