Best US Road Trips to See Fall Foliage

Best US Road Trips to See Fall Foliage

Best US Road Trips to See Fall Foliage peak color depends on elevation, so be sure to research the specific locations you plan to visit. Some popular leaf peeping spots have dedicated resources to keep visitors updated, including social media and local news.

Just a few hours north of New York City, the Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway offers spectacular fall foliage in the Catskills. See waterfalls, historic towns and take in sweeping views of the mountains.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway

A road trip is the perfect way to experience fall foliage. But you’ll need to be strategic about your timing, because if you go too early, the trees will still be green.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, in southwestern Virginia and northwestern North Carolina, offers the best leaf peeping in mid-to-late October. The drive will take you past Shenandoah National Park and charming small towns, like Staunton. You can also camp and hike along the way, or visit attractions like Biltmore Estate in Asheville.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park will take you through a spectacular landscape of mountains, valleys, and national forests, with countless opportunities to view fall colors. Just be careful on Dead Man’s Curve, a narrow hairpin turn. It can be especially dangerous during fall, when the leaves are at their most vibrant.

2. Appalachian Trail

One of America’s most iconic roadways, the Blue Ridge Parkway is also one of its most vivid when the leaves turn. With the likes of Shenandoah National Park and charming towns like Staunton on your itinerary, the 469-mile route from Virginia to North Carolina is a true road trip gem in autumn.

Located in the western part of the United States, Rocky Mountain National Park is a stunning fall foliage destination that’s not to be missed. While you won’t get the vibrant reds and oranges of New England, you will enjoy a golden hue that will take your breath away. The peak color time is around October 6 to 13.

3. Going-to-the-Sun Road

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is the main roadway through Glacier National Park. The highway is famous for its jaw-dropping beauty featuring lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and glaciers. The road is also a National Historic Landmark and was named after the Blackfeet tribe’s Sun God legend, which tells of the deity coming down from the sky to teach the braves how to hunt.

Best US Road Trips to See Fall Foliage
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When visiting Going-to-the-Sun Road, be sure to visit the East Glacier, Two Medicine, or Many Glacier regions instead of Kalispell or Whitefish as these areas are closer to the sun corridor. You will also avoid the ticket reservation requirement by having service reservations (lodging, commercial tours, or camping) or by visiting after September 11.

So, grab your pumpkin spice latte and hit the open road for one of these fall road trips!

4. Mohawk Trail

The Mohawk Trail isn’t the same sort of road trip as Route 66 or the Blue Ridge Parkway, but that’s exactly why it makes the list. The country’s first scenic automobile route, this road rewards travelers with charming villages and great fising holes—not to mention a view of magnificent fall colors.

The Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway in New York’s Catskill Mountains is a great road trip for those who want to see plenty of nature while still being close to cities and historic landmarks. On this drive, you can see towering mountains, rushing waterfalls, and lush valleys that come to life in the fall.

The Kancamagus Highway—more commonly referred to as the “Kane” highway—is one of the most beautiful fall road trips in the US. Whether you’re looking for a scenic hike or just some unobstructed leaf-peeping, this is the road trip for you.

5. Kancamagus Highway

The Kancamagus Highway, also known as “Kane” is a must-visit road trip for New England fall foliage fans. The highway runs between Lincoln and Conway, NH, right through White Mountain National Forest. It’s a scenic highway filled with waterfalls, covered bridges, and stunning views.

There are plenty of things to do along the Kanc, but you’ll want to plan ahead for this one! Since this is a popular road trip during the peak of fall foliage, it will be crowded.

To avoid traffic, start your day early and plan to see as many attractions as possible! The best time to visit the Kancamagus Highway is from late September to mid-October. You’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience! There are no restaurants or gas stations on the Kancamagus Highway, so you’ll need to pack your food and drinks.

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