As the crisp chill of autumn mornings are fast approaching, summer is beginning to feel like a distant memory, but that is nothing to be disappointed about. Despite the shorter days we are greeted with a rather enjoyable crunch underfoot and a display of nature in all its golden glory as the leaves change from vibrant green to an amalgamation of gold, yellow and orange, we’re sure you’ll agree it’s a simply beautiful time of year!
As much as we appreciate the changing of the season here in the UK, across the pond they take it a lot more seriously and ‘leaf peeping’ is considered a favourite pastime for some of the locals. The east coast boasts some extremely spectacular spots to welcome in autumn but the rest of the States'sure does deliver too. We have chosen a few of our favourite spots to watch the autumnal magic come alive!
Denali National Park & Preserve
Blink and you will miss autumn in Denali National Park, as it arrives early and it doesn’t stick around for long. The wild lands come alive as the tundra turns to a sea of red and yellow and the local wildlife prepare for the harsh winter that is just around the corner. As the leaves fall, it becomes easier to spot moose and Dall sheep that may have otherwise been in hiding. The true spectacle comes as the sun goes down and if luck is on your side then you could be standing in the presence of the northern lights.
Shenandoah National Park
Whether you take to the footpaths or the country roads you’ll be amazed at how scenic this national park is in the fall. The locals proudly show off their beloved national park with an annual Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival, encouraging people to get out on a bike and hit some of the many miles of bike routes around the park. For the less adventurous traveller a cruise along the Skyline Drive will showcase all the wonders Shenandoah has to offer.
New England is famous the world over for its legendary fall foliage and during the first couple of weeks in October ‘leaf peepers’ rock up in their thousands to follow the changing colour of the leaves. To really make the most of this incredible season start in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and work your way south leaving a trail of golden leaves in your wake. As you travel through these mesmerising areas of natural beauty stop off at Acadia National Park and take a hike on a section of the famous Appalachian Trail, the perfect way to really get amongst the foliage, just make sure your camera is fully charged.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is one of those places that looks truly spectacular whatever the season and autumn is no exception. Not only are the hiking and biking trails less crowded the contrasts of colours that cover the park in the fall is astounding. With the majority of the park remaining green, it is the maples, oaks and dogwoods that really light up the park and add a splash of gold to a sea of green. Throw a gloriously bright blue sky into the mix and you've got yourself a sight to truly behold!
New York City
When you think of fall foliage your mind will wander to great expanses of forest and national parks, but America’s cities have wonderful green spaces that make for some great ‘leaf-peeping’. Central Park in particular puts on a brilliant display of golden and red hues. The mild weather is perfect for a relaxing stroll under the golden canopies and if you want to avoid the crowds head to the northern side of the park.
San Juan National Forest
With a back drop of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains the scenery in San Juan National Forest covers a wide spectrum of colours. Not only is the area awash with magnificent shades of gold, there is an abundance of adventure to be had here, from hiking to biking. The fall season doesn't hang around for long and if you catch the end of the fall foliage you might even see the aspens covered in the first sprinklings of snow.
So there you have it, there is no need to despair that summer has departed; we have now have the magnificent and colourful fall to look forward to! Our 10 day Appalachian Trail Walk tour is a great introduction to the famous American fall foliage. Travel through some stunning forest scenery and walk a section of the famous Appalachian Trail and you'll be a fully fledged 'leef peeper' in no time.