10 great places to enjoy USA autumn colour

The brightly-coloured autumn leaves of New England are iconic. But the US’ north-east isn’t the only place to enjoy a kaleidoscope of autumnal colours as the season changes. Here’s our round up of some of the best places to see autumn leaves - and the best ways to see them. 


Zip through the treetops in Illinois 

Illinois undergoes a dramatic transformation around October the 250 species of trees in its state parks and national forests turn golden, russet and purple. Get a bird’s eye view of Ilinois’ autumn leaves by taking on the Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour, that crosses 83 acres of the golden Shawnee National Forest, pictured below, left. Illinois’ first tree-based, eco-friendly zipline, it takes thrill seekers on eight ziplines, three aerial suspension bridges and two short hikes on three hour tour. For more dramatic autumn scenery in Shawnee National Forest, head to the extraordinary Garden of the Gods (pictured right), and Rim Rock Recreational Area for dramatic rock formations, cliffs and trails and breathtaking views.

Celebrate the changing season, Virgina

Take a scenic road trip from Washington DC to enjoy Virginia’s autumn trees in their full splendour. Drive the 103-mile Skyline Drive – a National Scenic Byway – through Shenandoah National Park. Stop off for horse riding or hiking tour or wine tastings one of Virginia’s 208 wineries. The iconic Blue Ride Parkway, offers 469 miles of stunning views the Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. For a fun way to experience fall in the USA, try the Temple Hall Fall Festival and Corn Maze in Leesburg (29 September - 7 November) It promises the opportunity to bounce on giant jumping pillows, see pumpkins and corn soar through the air from pumpkin blasters and corn cannons, watch live music or pig races - and navigate a 20-acre corn maze.

Spectacular leaves near Washington D.C.

You can catch spectacular autumn colours just outside central Washington DC on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. This route follows the shores of the Potomac River through Virginia all the way to Mount Vernon, taking in more than 30 historic sites dedicated to former President George Washington. At Rock Creek Park, you’ll find 1,800 acres of parkland in Northwest Washington DC.

Scenic road trip in Kentucky

 The stunning autumn colours work their way down the mountains in the Eastern parts of Kentucky as early as September. The stunning red, orange, and yellow colours reach their peak sometime during mid-late October when you can see them across the full length of Kentucky, the ‘horse capital of the world’. Take in the amazing Autumn colour in Kentucky on a road tip through Daniel Boone National Forest where you’ll find the beautiful Red River Gorge and the Zilpo Scenic Byway. Alternatively enjoy the beautiful leaves as a backdrop for the Keeneland Fall Meet thoroughbred horse races in early October. 

Celebrate autumn glory, Maryland

Set off on one of Maryland’s Historic Byways to take in the best of autumn colours. Follow the state’s Historic National Road and you’ll head from the bright lights of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, West, along the famous ‘Road That Built the Nation’ to the historic transportation hub of Hagerstown and on towards the Appalachian Mountains, packed with autumn splendour. 

Wine and wildlife, Yosemite Mariposa County, California

Combine tasting some of California’s best wines and abundant wildlife with spectacular autumn colours in Yosemite Mariposa County. There are few visitors around during the autumn months, so you’ll feel like you have this extraordinarily beautiful area to

Adventure on two wheels, Illinois

Take a bike ride among the colourful autumnal trees and riverfront communities down the scenic Great River Trail in the Quad Cities of Rock Island and Moline, in the state of Illinois, right. A favourite with locals, this pleasing trail offers abundant wildlife and stunning views of the Mississippi River. Afterward, riders can revive themselves with craft brews at the Bent River Brewing Company. Rent your bike by the hour for $8 (approx. £6.50) or for the day for $40 (approx. £32) from the Moline Visitor Centre. 

Mammoth Lakes, California

The parks and mountains around Mammoth Lakes are stunning during the autumn months, the natural landscape of the Eastern Sierra turns different shades of gold, crimson and orange. Tryhiking, horseback riding, mountain biking or fishing. During Outside on the Eastside, which runs from Labor Day Weekend until the first snow, there are plenty of activities and festivals celebrating the changing season from viewing scenic hikes and bike races to concerts by the Eastern Sierra Symphony and the area’s own Okoberfest beer festival.   


Quintessential fall leaves, New England

The autumn leaves in New England, left, are famous worldwide, and it’s not hard to see why. Across the six-state region, visitors can enjoy a spectacular display of yellow birches, red maples and purple sumacs. But where do you start? For a classic autumnal trip take a fly-drive holiday and head to Vermont’s Green Mountains then on to hike and bike in New Hampshire. Further south, combine marine heritage with autumnal colour in Rhode Island or go pumpkin picking in Connecticut. For a view of the changing leaves from the seat, take a boat trip along the Massachusetts and Maine coastline.   

The Rockies by horse, Colorado

Enjoy an autumn spectacular in Colorado as its parks, forests and snow-capped mountains turn all shades of red, orange and yellow, and the state’s signature Aspen trees turn gold. From the Maroon Bells in Aspen, one of the state’s most spectacular spots, to the Million Dollar Highway in Ouray which winds through beautiful countryside, Colorado is a sensational destinations for autumn colours.  

Posted on: 22/09/2018

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