Top 16 Spots For Leaf Peeping This Fall

Every year the fall season rolls out its best work – a carpet dressed in intense oranges and reds, yellows and purples. The show never gets old. Go outside and reconnect with nature. This is the perfect time because the temperatures are cooler, the colors are striking and the crowds are smaller.

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.

San Francisco, California

This picturesque city is on the top of many bucket lists, but it's not generally recognized for its fall foliage. While the whole city may not be awash in vibrant fall color, there are a few spots that offer brilliant hues with a great backdrop. Go to the Golden Gate Park for late-season fall color—particularly in the botanical garden and the Japanese tea garden (which is the oldest of its kind in the country).

Blackstone Valley, Rhode Island

This heavily wooded inland area of Rhode Island is traversed by the Blackstone River. Many people choose to see the region's beauty from the vantage point of serene, shady cruises aboard the riverboat Blackstone Valley Explorer, according to Visit New England. The best time to go for the brightest colors is in October.

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.

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.

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

October is the park's busiest month. See the spectacular color on guided hikes on Saturdays and Sundays led by naturalists. Or go on a road trip. The local people have actually nicknamed Route 71 "Canyon Drive." It is a winding highway that will take you through some of the most supreme fall scenery in the state.

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. 

The Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania and Delaware

Explore this "oasis" by walking, jogging, if you want to get some exercise in, bike alongside the Brandywine River, or take stroll through the park's formal gardens. For those of you who prefer the comfort of their four-wheel drives, taka e ride along the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway to see magnificent rolling hills, colorful trees, historic farms, covered bridges, and stunning mansions.

The Catskills, New York

Whether you want to climb to a mountaintop or are looking for something more relaxing while enjoying stunning fall colors, the Catskills is the right destination in New York. Go on the ultimate quick fall getaway. Drive along zigzagging roads that cross steep hillsides up to superb waterfalls or camp under the starts to wake up to a kaleidoscope of color.

White Mountains, New Hampshire

Greenleaf Trail is one of the best fall hikes in the country. It is a 6.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Franconia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate, according to All Trails. The trail is less crowded than many other in the state. The hike is enjoyable, but it gets a little tough as you go up.  It's mostly just climbing upward, even though it doesn't feel like that right away.

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.

Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

The best time and regions to go for stunning displays are anywhere from mid-October to early November in the mid- and lower elevations. Drive to the parking area at Newfound Gap and take the Appalachian Trail to Indian Gap. The 3.4-mile roundtrip will give you a taste of this historic route and allow you to see beautiful fall foliage. 

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.

Montpelier, Vermont

Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the country, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in recreational activities and charm. The lively arts and music scene draws many artists. Go to Hubbard and North Branch Parks for an abundance of outdoor opportunities like hiking and mountain biking.

Skyline Drive, Virginia

This is one of the best places to see stunning fall foliage outside New England. This is also one of the best road trips you can go on in the U.S. There are many picnic areas along the route. Many prefer the Elkwallow and South River because of the opportunities to "meet" raptors and many animals. The drive is also a great adventure destination for hiking, biking and leaf peeping.