These 11 National Parks In America Are Surrounded By The Most Breathtaking Fall Foliage
Fall foliage is a highpoint of autumn, offering a colorful and vibrant “last hurrah” before the gray and bleakness of winter sets in. There are many beautiful places to enjoy
fall foliage across the U.S., but our national parks boast some of the best autumnal colors of all. In the coming weeks, as Mother Nature turns up the dial on fall color, carpe diem and experience the season’s fall foliage like never before at these glorious national parks in America.
Yosemite National Park - California
Yosemite National Park Road, Yosemite National Park Rd, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
Fall in Northern California is a breathtakingly beautiful time of year, and there are numerous places to take in the seasonal colors. None, however, are more resplendent than
Yosemite National Park
. The juxtaposition of sharp, granite cliffs with vibrant and abundant autumnal foliage makes for a jaw-dropping scene at a national park that's, well,
known for jaw-dropping scenes
. While Bridal Veil Falls and El Capitan are certainly beautiful all year-round, when surrounded by fall foliage, their beauty takes on a glow that can best be described as heavenly. As a bonus, by this time of year, the summertime visitors have left, and most areas of the park usually remain open through October (sometimes into November), so you can revel in this spectacular seasonal show sans crowds.
Grand Teton National Park - Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
Jackson, Wyoming, is a picturesque place all year long, but fall brings a sublime sense of beauty to the area. In Jackson's
Grand Teton National Park
, you'll also get a glimpse of snow-capped mountains and wildlife traversing fresh lakes and forests, for a nature scene that's unlike any other in the country. The National Park Service recommends traveling to the park beginning in the third week of September, where the aspen, willow, and cottonwood trees all turn vibrant shades of red and yellow. The hiking in Grand Teton National Park is already unrivaled; but during the fall, there's no place more beautiful.
Zion National Park - Utah
Zion National Park, UT, Springdale, UT, USA
Zion National Park, UT, Springdale, UT 84737, USA
Utah is known for its postcard-perfect winters, but fall is an equally resplendent season in the Beehive State. While there are many places to catch fall colors in Utah, but
Zion National Park
ranks at the top of the list. The Kolob Canyons Section of Zion National Park is one of the best-kept secrets for fall foliage viewing in the park; it's located 40 miles north of the eponymous Zion Canyon, so many people miss it completely. Combine redrock beauty with the rich jewel tones of fall foliage, and you've got the makings of a spectacular seasonal scene. As a bonus, most of the tourists have left by October, making this national park in Utah feel like your very own secret treasure.
Rocky Mountain National Park - Colorado
Estes Park, CO 80517, USA
The towering mountains of Colorado's
Rocky Mountain National Park
are always awe-inspiring, but when bathed in vibrant golden yellows and coppers in the autumn, there truly are no words. Bright golden aspens contrast with verdant green trees, making for a glorious exercise in juxtaposition that's positively perfect. Due to the national park's elevation, fall foliage in the Rockies generally peaks earlier than the rest of the country, so be sure to plan your excursion accordingly.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park - Texas
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Dell City, TX 79847, USA
One of the most underrated national parks in the country,
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
is a Texas treasure that, come autumn, shines even brighter than the state's starry skies. This incredible park is home to the four highest peaks in the Lone Star State, in addition to a whopping 80 miles of hiking trails. Translation? During the fall, when the trees transform into rich shades of red, orange, and yellow, Guadalupe Mountains National Park becomes an expansive and abundant autumn wonderland... in Texas.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, United States
Every year more than 12 million tourists venture their way to the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
, making it the most-visited national park in the U.S. The park is known for the beauty of its ancient mountain range, as well as the expansive diversity of both wildlife and plant life throughout the park. In the autumn months, the Great Smoky Mountains' rolling hills and valleys seem to glow with the colors of fall: green and gold, orange and red, yellow and bronze. The best time to see fall foliage in Tennessee is generally from mid-October to early November -- and sometimes even later in higher elevations, so put this destination on your list for a late-season fall foliage infusion!
Shenandoah National Park - Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA
Objectively considered to be one of the most glorious national parks in the country,
Shenandoah National Park
is at peak beauty during the fall. Spanning 196,000 acres across Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, the park is bathed in beautiful fall colors that generally peak during October. During a fall morning drive along Skyline Drive, the brilliant pops of color peeking through the snowy clouds are a visual feast that's sure to fill your bucket -- and heart -- for months to come.
New River Gorge National Park & Preserve - West Virginia
New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, West Virginia, USA
New River Gorge National Park & Preserve
is worth exploring any time of year: jagged cliffs, rugged ravine, rushing river - all of these components of almost every scenic vista to be had in the park are beautiful in all seasons. But come October, the nation's newest national park really outdoes itself. The mountain air turns crisp and fresh. Leaves begin to transform on the trees, donning vibrant hues of brilliant yellows, bold oranges, and rich reds; a seasonal sea change that's truly sublime. For peak fall color, time your visit for mid- to late-October. And for some of the best views the park has to offer, try the Canyon Rim Visitor's Center or the overlook at Grandview; however, rest assured that there are no "bad" views at this glorious national park.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Ohio
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio, USA
A dazzling hidden gem in the Midwest,
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
is easily one of the best national parks for fall foliage in the country. In the fall, Cuyahoga's sugar maples and oak trees paint its trails in bright red and orange hues, rewarding hikers with a dazzling display of color. If you're up for a more intense trek, the Brandywine Gorge Trail is one of the best places to soak up the park's natural beauty; hike up to the 65-foot Brandywine Falls to see panoramic views of autumn color in all directions. Of course, if you want a more leisurely fall foliage experience, hop aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for a scenic ride through the park that will render you speechless.
Acadia National Park - Maine
Acadia National Park Pond, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
While stunning all year-round, Maine might be at its most magnificent during the fall. Because in the Pine Tree State, brilliant orange hues begin popping up across mountainsides as early as September, lingering well into October and early November.
Acadia National Park
is the shining star of this fleeting season, its mountains and valleys framed by piercing blue waters and vivid fall colors. Cadillac Mountain offers the most noteworthy panorama of this highly favored park, and experiencing the sunrise during the height of fall foliage in Maine truly is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for your bucket list.
Denali National Park - Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve, Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK, USA
Autumn in Alaska is wholly underrated, and truly one of the best times to experience the Last Frontier. Often referred to as a "cold desert," the areas that are lined with thick tundra have permafrost in the wintertime, thick brush in the summertime, and a kaleidoscope of colors come fall.
Denali National Park
is one of the most stunning places to experience vast stretches of land colored in flaming red colors. The lowland tundra leading up to the colossal mountain peaks in Denali offers a special kind of scene that must be experienced in person to fully be appreciated. If you put in for the Denali Road Lottery and have the opportunity to drive part (or all) of the 93-mile road into the park during the fall, you'll get the show of your life with these stunning colors stretching for miles on end.
There’s nothing like fall in the U.S., and Mother Nature puts on a sublime seasonal show at our country’s most treasured national parks.
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