15 Best Places to See Fall Colors in the U.S.

If you're looking for a fall getaway, there are plenty of spots to see fall colors at their peak. Take a road trip, spend a night or two camping or pack a picnic and enjoy the color display in these 15 spots in America, identified by Fodors Travel Guide as the best locations for leaf peeping.

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The Catskills, New York

The Catskills offers vibrant fall colors in thick, wooded hillsides and along the six major river systems in the region. Visit the last two weeks of September through mid-October to get the most of the fall colors.

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Aspen, Colorado

Not just for skiing, Aspen offers picture-perfect fall colors mixed in with its spectacular mountain peaks. Color season peaks around the end of September through the first of October. Some of these extremely remote castles could provide quite the scenic vista for fall colors.

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Green Mountain Byway, Vermont

Take a drive in Vermont this fall and you’ll be treated to a colorful fall display in state forests and state parks. Stop in at Stowe and take a ski area gondola to get a bird’s-eye view of the jaw-dropping colors. Want to bring the dog along? Be sure to bone up on how to travel safely with your favorite pooch.

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The Berkshires, Massachusetts

You’ll experience world-class fall colors in The Berkshires. This area of Massachusetts offers winding roads for leaf viewing, along with art galleries, antique shops and spas for when you need a break from nature. Colors generally peak around Columbus Day. Don’t come home to any surprises after your next trip by doing these 12 things before you leave.

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Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains offers impressive fall colors with plenty of orange, crimson and gold tones. Hit the trails for a hike in October and even into early November for some impressive color displays or enjoy the park’s scenic roads by car.

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Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, check out Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge for breathtaking fall colors. Hike a variety of trails or even kayak down the river to take in the leaves mid-September through mid-October. These are the 16 camping hacks you’ll wish you knew earlier.

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Glacier National Park, Montana

If you visit Glacier National Park in late September, you’ll find most of the tourists have left since the park’s concessions have closed for the season. This is a great time to enjoy the park and see its spectacular fall color display. Stay safe when camping with these 11 tips.

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Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico

From late September into early October, you’ll be dazzled with the fall colors in this 83-mile loop that begins and ends in Taos, New Mexico. Take a picnic and make a day of it, enjoying the breathtaking mountain vistas. Discover this credit card perk that can make traveling a lot easier.

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Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Enjoy a camping trip in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from mid-September to mid-October and you’ll enjoy a bounty of fall colors. Make one of the Upper Peninsula’s 20-plus forested state parks your home base and venture out on a few day trips to make the most of the fall color display. Imagine taking in the colors from one of these Airbnb houseboats.

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Denali National Park, Alaska

Head to Alaska’s Denali National Park in September for breathtaking yellow birch trees. When you’re there, there’s a good chance you’ll see some of the park’s 200-plus species of wildlife. Did you know you can get your own chunk of land in Scotland for less than $50? You can visit all you want .

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Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

This getaway in central Missouri offers an array of fall colors to enjoy while hiking, biking or even riding horses. The best time to visit for optimal leaf viewing is the last couple weeks of October.

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Litchfield, Connecticut

Visit the rolling foothills around Litchfield Connecticut from mid-October through early November and you’ll be treated to spectacular fall colors. While there, visit the village of New Preston, which is perched above a waterfall on the Aspetuck River. Imagine the landscape you could see from one of these 50 private islands you can buy.

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Rhode Island

This tiny state packs a big punch when it comes to viewing fall colors. Take a drive along winding roads around Providence to admire small towns, rolling meadows and apple orchards. The best time to visit is the end of October. While in Rhode Island plan to see one of the top 10 biggest houses in the U.S.

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Mendocino, California

When it comes to viewing fall colors in Northern California, Mendocino offers vibrant color early October through Thanksgiving. From lighthouses to area small towns, you may think you’re in New England! A cross-country trip will expose you to these houses that will make you think an extraterrestrial lives there.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Hotash

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New Hampshire

Take a drive through the small towns and villages of New Hampshire in early October and you’ll be wowed by the fall colors. There are plenty of fun fall color tour drives around the state, complete with covered bridges. Do you know what the most famous invention in each U.S. state is? Might be worth a visit to some of these spots.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.