Yosemite National Park, California

The leafy maples, black oaks, Pacific dogwoods among others of Yosemite National Park strut their fall foliage around mid-October, according to the National Park Service. Fall color is usually at peak in late October and, generally, lingering until the first heavy winter storms or hard frosts in early December.

Yosemite National Park in Autumn

This park, roughly the size of Rhode Island, is a United Nations World Heritage site. Here, in five of the seven continental life zones, live the mule deer and chipmunks of the valley and the marmots and pikas of the heights; the brush rabbit and chaparral of the near desert; the dogwood and warblers of mid-elevation forests; the red fir and Jeffrey pine of mile-high forests; the dwarf willow and matted flowers of Yosemite’s majestic mountains.

 

Acadia National Park, Maine

Fall is one of the best times to visit Acadia National Park. The weather is crisp, the crowds are light, and the foliage is one of the best places to view fall color at its stunningly best.  The leaves start turning to September, but the peak time is usually mid-October – according to the National Park Service, who advises checking state of Maine’s Fall Foliage page for updated fall color reports.

 Acadia National Park Fall Foliage

Known as an excellent place for bird-watchers to spot spring warblers, sea ducks, and migrating birds of prey, the park offers ranger-led bird walks through mid-fall.

 

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is a idyll place to visit any time of year, but fall is especially enchanting. In the fall trees are ablaze with yellow, orange, and red he fall; wildlife is abundant, and crowds are smaller making for a more intense sightseeing and relaxing experience. Fall in the Tetons lasts from the beginning of September through mid-October. Generally, the third week in September has historically been about the peak for fall colors, according to the National Park Service.

Grand Teton National Park in Fall

Fall is also an important time for the deer species, whose annual breeding season takes place during this time. Male elk actively bugle to signal their dominance and attract females, an eerie sound that pierces early evenings, and visitors may even witness a sparring match between two dominant male elk, says the NPS.

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

With its great diversity of trees, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an amazing place for an autumn getaway. The Smokies usually experience an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountain sides from high elevation to low, according to the National Park Service website. At higher elevations, color displays start as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry.

Smoky Mountains in Fall

From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To see them, visitors can drive Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway. The fall color canopy is its mos tstunning at mid and lower elevations between mid October and early November.

 

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as one of the world’s most majestic “active” volcanoes An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning six major rivers.

Mt. Rainier in Fall

During fall, however, the view of the mountain peeking from a landscape awash in vibrant yellows and oranges is one to behold. According to VisitRainier.com, the best time to visit Mt. Rainier National Park for fall color is mid October to November. The best fall color display are Sunrise and Chinook Pass, the Paradise area, Reflection Lakes, Bench and Snow Lake and Grove of the Patriarchs.

 

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

No matter the season, visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park can enjoy amazing views of stunning wilderness but the crisp air, clear blue skies (and occasional snow), spectacular color and active wildlife make fall a particularly unforgettable time to visit.

Rocky Mountains Autumn

Aspen start turning in late August at higher elevations and the golden leaves work their way down to lower elevations in October. Wildlife contributes to the wonder of the season as well. Elk bugling runs from mid-September to mid-October(a surreal sound that is impossible to describe). Bighorn sheep also stage their head-butting contests in October and November.

 

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Visitors flock to Shenandoah National Park each fall, when the leaves begin to turn bright golds, yellows and reds. Colors generally peak in the park during the last half of October, according to the National Park Service, but it is best to check the website for fall color reports.

Shenandoah National Park Fall Foliage

To view the spectacular foliage, leaf peepers cruise Skyline Drive, a National Scenic Byway which runs for 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge mountains and affords outstanding vistas from 75 overlooks. Visitors can also enjoy gorgeous fall colors by hiking trail, guided horseback ride or by joining the annual Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival, to be held this year on October 16-18.

 

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