Best places to see fall foliage in the United States: where to go hiking
Fall is the season in which nature amazes the most. Leaves turn yellow, orange, red, and brown and slowly fall on green meadows in a contrast of colors reminiscent of a painter's palette.
Hiking in the fall is always a unique experience because you are immersed in a more enthralling atmosphere, where the summer sun gives way to a dimmer light and the air becomes crisp and cold. Mountain trails are less crowded duirng this season, so you can often find yourself walking alone, accompanied by your thoughts and the sound of the crunching leaves under your boots.
The change in the color of the leaves and their fall with the arrival of the autumn season is known by the word "foliage," a term that has become increasingly popular also thanks to social networks. In fact, many people starting from the end of September decide to go hiking and hunt for the best places to admire the foliage, armed with a camera or smartphone.
The spectacle of colors offered by the fall can be admired generally from late September through mid-November but it depends on the area you want to visit and the temperature, which is the reason why leaves change color.
As for the place, it is possible to admire foliage almost anywhere, from the plains to the mountains, the most important thing is that there is a forest of deciduous plants, such as maple, chestnut, and oak.
If you love hiking in the fall, then you can't miss our selection of the best places to see beautiful foliage in the United States.
Foliage in the United States: the 5 best hikesAbout a third of the U.S. territory is covered by forests, and for this reason there are plenty of places to see foliage throughout the United States. From Washington state to New England there are many treks to do in the fall, perfect for those looking for the best shot to post on social media or simply for those who want to admire the beauty of nature and its colors. We have selected for you the 5 most beautiful places to see the foliage!
Vermont: the most famous foliage
When people talk about foliage they immediately think of New England, a region that offers an extraordinary mix of fall colors starting in September. Fall foliage in Vermont is some of the most well-known, tinting the state's most distinctive towns, such as Stowe, Montpelier, and Woodstock, with orange, red, yellow, and brown. Foliage in Vermont can also be appreciated by taking a drive on the famous Scenic Byways. But we recommend trying an autumnal hike in the Green Mountain National Forest, which is crisscrossed by some important trails such as the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail. If you want to check the status of foliage in Vermont in real time you can visit this website.
New Hampshire: the beauty of the White Mountains.
Another state famous for the foliage is New Hampshire, where nearly 85% of the territory is covered by forests. The colors of autumn in New Hampshire can be appreciated by car by taking the Currier & Ives Scenic Byway, or the Monadnock Region Loop Scenic Drive, but it is also possible to take a train ride, such as the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. Fall hikers can visit the White Mountains National Forest, which is painted with autumnal colors starting in September, and which offers breathtaking views. New Hampshire also offers many opportunities for the little ones! Many towns hold fall festivals, and in some places, you can even take on challenging corn mazes! New Hampshire also has a website dedicated to predicting peak foliage, you can find it at this link.
Great Smoky Mountains: an excellent Fall Hike.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located between Tennessee and North Carolina and is one of the most beautiful places to see foliage in the fall season. The trails within the park are numerous and of varying difficulties, but we recommend trying the Clingmans Dome Trail, an easy hike that ends at the top of an observation tower and provides a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains and the forest below.
Colorado foliage: hiking through the colors of fall
The name "Colorado" in Spanish means "colored red" and although this term refers to the color of the rock we cannot deny that it also fits well with the colors of the trees in autumn. Colorado is a beautiful place in all seasons but in the fall, it is lit up by the yellow, red, and orange leaves of the trees. The White River National Forest offers many opportunities during this season, for example, you can hike the Rio Grande Trail and end the itinerary in the beautiful town of Aspen, or you can plan a hike to the Maroon Bells, which looks like something out of a fairy tale.
Shenandoah: admiring the colors of the fall in Virginia.
The best place to see fall foliage in Virginia is Shenandoah National Park, where you can hike trails of varying difficulty and even try your hand at multi-day treks. Starting in late September, you can begin to see the leaves changing color, but the peak of foliage is in October, a month when the park is very busy. As you drive along the magnificent Skyline Drive you can stop at one of the 75 overlooks and admire the fall foliage from above, or you can decide to tackle one of the many trails that crisscross the national park.
Trekking in autumn: useful information
While trekking in autumn offers unique atmospheres, it can also be challenging because of trail conditions and the changeable weather. In autumn, the weather becomes more wet, and it is not uncommon to encounter fog or rain during a hike, which is why it is good to pay attention to a few tricks to approach trekking safely.
October and November are months when temperatures tend to dip, so it is a good idea to dress in layers and be prepared to cover up in case of cold weather. It is also helpful to always have an outer layer with you, such as a waterproof jacket, to protect yourself from rain, moisture, or wind.
Admiring the foliage by necessity involves walking through the woods, where it is easy to lose your bearings as there may be no landmarks, especially if the trails are not well marked. Early morning fog and mist, moreover, could make matters worse and make you lose your way. For this reason, we recommend having a GPS device with you at all times so that you always know your location and never lose the trail to follow.
Moisture in the air and rain also make the ground wet and slippery, and this can be very risky especially if you find yourself walking on a path covered with leaves. To walk safely and avoid slipping, we recommend using trekking poles, which help maintain balance and stability.
Wherever you go, don't forget to take your first aid kit with you, which we discussed in another article.
Often during autumn trekking, the weather is damp, and you may find yourself facing wet or muddy terrain. For this reason, the main feature to look for in a hiking shoe for autumn is waterproofing, so that your feet are always dry.
Muddy and slippery ground, often covered with leaves, is very dangerous to walk on, especially if you do not have an experienced stride. We recommend hiking shoes or boots with good grip and a fairly deep, grooved and treaded sole.
To increase stability, it is recommended to wear boots with a medium or high cut, to have more ankle support and avoid sudden twisting in case of slipping.
GROOVE MID G-DRY: the perfect boot for hiking in autumnThe GROOVE MID G-DRY model is waterproof due to its G-DRY membrane, so these shoes will keep your feet dry and warm even in wet weather. The GTF Opale outsole provides traction and stability while the mid cut provides the right support, even on uneven or slippery terrain. This comfortable fit is perfect even for long hikes.