The Most Thrilling Ways To See Fall Foliage Across The U.S.

You haven't fully immersed yourself in the fall season until you've taken a moment to truly appreciate all of the spectacular colors that begin to blossom as summer winds down. It's a classic experience worth your time and effort. Make it unforgettable this season by heading to a place where you can embark on several adventures. Bring your hiking boots, car keys, camping gear, and, most of all, your courage.

Mountain biking in Colorado

With more than 50 miles of expansive trails, Breckenridge serves as a perfectly picturesque destination for exploring Colorado's rugged mountain landscape as it's highlighted with a wide array of changing fall colors. Of particular interest is Breckenridge's portion of the famed Colorado trail, which sprawls nearly 500 miles from Denver to Durango. Whether you're after an easy three-mile ride or ready to tackle a 20- or 50-mile trek, Breckinridge offers accessible trails for cyclist of all levels and abilities.

Hand gliding in Virginia

This is one of the most thrilling points of view ever. You get to become "a bird" for some time to see Virginia's vivid colors. Blue Sky Hand Gliding operates year-round, weather permitting. Beginner through advanced pilots have fun flying over scenic country landscape. Flights are more than five hours long, 8,000 feet above sea water.

Camp in a national park

Sleep in the tree and wake up to a plethora of intense colors to brighten your day. America's national parks offer great opportunities for all kinds of travelers to enjoy a night or a week under the stars sleeping in the wilderness. You can seek shelter in a rustic log cabin or drive your RV to a site that has modern amenities.

Hot-air balloon rides in Pennsylvania

The hot-air balloon, as a travel machine, provides fall fans with an opportunity to soar above vibrant sites and breathe in the crisp and fresh air. This is an inspiring experience. Bucks County is one of the most unforgettable places for this kind of adventure. The US Hot Air Balloon Team schedules balloon launches at sunrise and sunset each day, April through November.

Zip line adventures

Taking a heart-stopping ride through the long, steep, and fast zip lines is only topped when your setting is spectacular fall foliage and leaves. Fly together like birds, sometimes at about 100 mph, and marvel a gorgeous natural landscape. Other than in New England, a great spot to "slide" and see unrivalled panoramic views of the tri-state area. Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey offers zip line tours open year-round.

Train rides in the Smoky Mountains

Take the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. There are two scenic round trip excursions on this line. The park, its 800 miles of trails, magnificent landscape and 2,100 miles of streams are the most visited in the country. The excursions this fall are themed after Charles M. Schulz's classic story "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

Paddle tours in Illinois

Just a few rivers and streams in the U.S. earn the designation as a National Water Trail. The Rock River, which flows through the heart of the Blackhawk Waterways region, was named a National Water Trail in April 2013, according to Visit Northwest Illinois. The region has spectacular waterways, all of which make for stunning locations to see the changing colors.

Cruise along the Mississippi River

Admire the spectacular fall colors while exploring the most famous river in the U.S. See why it's one of the world's major river systems in size, habitat diversity and biological productivity. American Cruise Lines will take you on a luxurious history and culture trip through Mississippi and Ohio aboard two paddlewheeler river boats. USA River Cruises also offer different trips. There are plenty of variations, including going from Memphis to Nashville on a ship.

Rafting in North Carolina

Pigeon River has beginner friendly rapids. It attracts rafters and kayakers from all over. Of the many guide companies on the river, Smoky Mountain Outdoors has a great reputation and a range of trip options. Families and novice paddlers will likely want to raft the class I, II and III rapids of the Lower Pigeon, but if you're looking for a bigger thrill, the Pigeon River offers that too.

Horseback riding in Missouri

Missouri may not be the first place that comes to mind when conjuring images of gorgeous fall foliage, but that doesn't mean the state is lacking in stunning seasonal scenery. A ride by horseback through the trails of Castlewood State Park is an exciting and memorable way to take in the area's beautiful fall colors. Popular equestrian routes include the Castlewood Loop, Chubb Trail and Grotpeter Trail.

Fly fishing in Wisconsin

The Badger State is home to countless creeks and rivers, so it's no surprise that fly fishing is superb here. A fishing excursion in Wisconsin should be on your bucket list regardless of the season, but the stunning colors in the fall make it an ideal time. Some of the best spots are Castle Rock Creek, although it's not for beginners, Black Earth Creek for trout fishing, Big Green River, which is easily accessible, and the off the grid Timber Coulee.

Motorcycle rides in Vermont

Explore the hidden roads and trails of northern Vermont by motorcycle and gain access to vantage points that few others will ever have the chance to observe. A truly thrilling way to experience Vermont's fabulous fall colors, many of the best spots along the Moto Vermont tour can only be accessed by motorbike or a several day hike.

Bike through Wine Country in California

California's Sonoma County boasts brilliant fall colors not only by trees like Crepe Myrtle, live Oak and maples, but also by its many expansive vineyards. Set your sights on amazing shades of red, orange, yellow and brown as your tour the area by bike. Visitors can choose from different types of all-inclusive ride packages that range from mellow meanders through wine country to more "epic" tours that cover major mileage and elevation geared towards more serious cyclists.

Climbing in Virginia

Virginia has some of the best rock climbing in the U.S. but it's overshadowed by more popular destinations. But its national parks, forests, and state parks climbing is totally legal are worth a trip. Try the Great Falls, Old Rag, and Elizabeth Furnace for lots of various and fun routes. Mcafees Knob has tons of great bouldering and The Cascades is an up-and-coming favorite, according to the Mountain Project.

Hiking in Georgia

Hike the part of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and cross that adventure off your bucket list. Hike the incredible Byron Reece and Appalachian Trails on the 4.3-mile Blood Mountain Trail – one of the most popular day hikes in the state. Witness stunning summit views of mountains, valleys and colorful landscapes. Other hikes in Georgia include Pine Mountain, Cloudland Canyon State Park, Fort Mountain State Park and Red Top Mountain State Park.