The Best Spots For Urban Leaf Peeping

The various dazzling hues peak between September and November all across the country, including in urban areas. A lot of people don't have time to go to the countryside, but they still hit the road to observe from up close nature's display of dazzling colors and phenomenal mixtures of yellow, red, orange and the city. This is by far one of the best adventures of the season. And you don't have to break the bank to enjoy it. Oftentimes you just need a bus ride or a bike.

Boston, Massachusetts

Considering its location in New England, it's no surprise that Boston is home to some fantastic displays of changing leaves. While many people come through and leave the city, seeking a more natural landscape, Boston has a lot to offer in the way of leaf peeping. Two big, bright venues in October are Boston's Public Garden and the Arnold Arboretum, both of which are free to enter and enjoy.

New York City, New York

When it comes to leaf peeping, the northern part of the state gets all the attention. The Catskills and Adirondacks feature breathtaking fall foliage, but city-dwellers can find spectacular mixtures of hues without leaving the metro area—or even the island of Manhattan. Two top spots for catching changing leaves are Inwood Hill Park and Central Park, but there are several other spots in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Portland, Oregon

Celebrated for "coolness" and non-conformity, this city may be the biggest in all of Oregon, but its laid back vibe, walkability and access to the great outdoors make it feel more like a big town. There's no time to visit like the fall. The renowned Japanese Garden and the Lone Fir Cemetery are both home to colorful leaf shows and if you're looking for more leaves, local trails are another excellent option.

Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital may seem like it's all business and politics, but when it comes to enjoying nature inside of a major city, D.C. is hard to beat. Among the many options inside and surrounding the city, Rock Creek Park and the National Arboretum are two of the best. The 1,700-acre Rock Creek Park offers seemingly endless forest and the National Arboretum is a lesser-known gem that's well worth a visit—especially in the fall.

Park City, Utah

Park City is advertised as one of the best places on the West Coast to see the beautiful change of leaves and fall foliage. Colors sneak up early in the region, as early as September.  Mountains get new vibrant hues. Mountain biking is very popular this time of year. Consider trying it; it will take you places you have never been before.

Seattle, Washington

Visit Seattle for the rich art and music scene, the incredible new restaurants or the nearby outdoor adventures, but stay for the stunning fall foliage displays. When it comes to top viewing spots, the 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum is tough to beat. Walk along the leaf-laden paths, see ponds reflecting the bright hues from the trees and make a special stop in the Japanese Tea Garden.

Austin, Texas

The best place to see amazing colorful displays is the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. You get 10 miles of fall paradise. Explore more and go west of Austin. The Hill Country won't disappoint. It has a lot of maples, sumacs, sycamores, chinaberries, and cottonwoods bursting beautiful blushing colors.

Nashville, Tennessee

The charm of the country music capital doesn't end with songs. Fall is the perfect time to visit this southern city, as the weather cools from the highs of summer, early fall music festivals are a highlight and the foliage is not to be missed. Two of the best viewing spots, not far from downtown are Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Radnor Lake State Natural Area. 

New Haven, Connecticut

All many people need to know about seeing fall foliage in Connecticut is that it's part of New England. But colorful trees all over downtown are rampant in this beautiful town, including in the stylish Chapel Hill Historic District. Fall is the best time to visit the New Haven Green, a National Historic Landmark, which turns red and yellow, with miles of hiking trails.

Denver, Colorado

Set in the midst of five different climate zones, Denver residents and visitors are surrounded by one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country. If you have a car, there's no limit to the wilderness you can explore. But if you're staying in the city, there's still plenty of fall color to keep you occupied. Washington Park is one of the most centrally-located options and cyclists will love Cherry Creek Bike Trail, which starts in downtown and ends 40 miles later in Cherry Creek State Park.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, one of the best trail running towns in the U.S., is usually known as a college town and one of the craft brewing capitals of the country. Over the last few years, the city in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, is preferred by many adventurers looking for spectacular fall colors. The Pisgah National Forest and its huge network of trails is a popular location.

Williamsburg, Virginia

Spend the day at Busch Gardens, visit Colonial Williamsburg, and go for a walk around the York River State Park. The 24-mile scenic Colonial National Parkway is one of the best routes for fall leaf peeping. Another great option is the 51-mile Virginia Capital trail, which connects Jamestown and Williamsburg to Richmond.

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Surrounded by the regal Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, Fort Smith is a small natural paradise with lots of trees. Hike the Trail of Tears for stunning views of the Mississippi River. Overlook the junction of two rivers at the Fort Smith National Historic Site. Take a train excursion that climbs into the Ozark Mountains for more stunning hues ranging from bright yellow to burning red and purple.

Killington, Vermont

You have to go to Killington for some of the best fall foliage in New England. Hike up the hill or take the gondola to go to the top of the resort for the best views of stunningly beautiful bright and burning colors. If you want to see amazing foliage all the way up to Canada, on a good day, exit at the 4200-foot-high summit. The truly inspired leaf-peepers can hop onto the Appalachian Trail from there, and hike amid the leaves all the way up through Maine. 

Missoula, Montana

Home to Missoula, Montana's second largest community, the Missoula Valley is a primary destination to experience fall in Glacier Country. With easy access to the Rattlesnake Wilderness and Blue Mountain Recreation Area, numerous fall hiking and biking excursions take place. It's where people go for beautiful displays of spectacular colors in the fall. For a splendid view in the city, make the trek up Mount Sentinel to the "M".