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Adventures in Vibrant Fall Foliage Across the Country



The U.S. East Coast often comes first to mind for autumn color: New Hampshire's brilliant red maples and golden birches; Maine's yellow ash and purple witch hazel; New York's orange sycamore, yellow hickory and red-orange-yellow sassafras all paint the landscapes in vivid hues.



But no matter where you live, autumn colors are likely within range.



The Northeastern states in the U.S. are famous for beautiful fall foliage.

North East

New York state offers an array of places from which to enjoy the breathtaking colors as summer transitions into fall. If you're looking to see the leaves earlier in the season, consider staying in Lake George in New York’s Adirondack region. A hike to the summit of Prospect Mountain offers a great view from which to see the foliage transition as your eyes move from north to south. For history buffs, check out the Fort William Henry Museum and learn about what it was like to be on the front line in defense of the British colonies during the French and Indian War.

If you’re looking to take in the foliage from a more urban landscape then consider Albany, NY. Located In downtown Albany, Washington Park is a great spot for taking in fall color from the heart of the city. Marvel at nature’s beauty as you stroll around Washington Park Lake or take advantage of the park’s many bike paths. The lake’s stone footbridge and the park’s many monuments will add a note of history to your experience. For another great vantage point, Thacher State Park is a just a 30-minute drive from the city. There you can drive to the top of Helderberg Escarpment for a spectacular panorama of the nearby mountain ranges. In addition, consider stopping by a local u-pick apple orchard or a pumpkin patch.

The Fall Leaf Finder - Opens a dialog (New York) is a great source of information on the types of leaves you may see while leaf peeping.

    Linn Cove Viaduct along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    South East

    Fall foliage isn’t restricted to the North East. Many areas throughout the country provide an opportunity to watch the trees change color as we transition from summer into fall.

    Beginning in late September travelers to western North Carolina start to see the foliage transition on the highest peaks and continue throughout the month of October and into early November. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great drive providing many opportunities to take in the beautiful scenery. And for those who like to hike, there are multiple overlooks including Beacon Heights, Flat Rock Trail and Linville Falls. If you’re looking to spend the night consider a stay in Asheville, NC; Blowing Rock, NC; Roanoke, VA or Front Royal, VA.

      South East

      Fall foliage isn’t restricted to the North East. Many areas throughout the country provide an opportunity to watch the trees change color as we transition from summer into fall.

      Beginning in late September travelers to western North Carolina start to see the foliage transition on the highest peaks and continue throughout the month of October and into early November. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great drive providing many opportunities to take in the beautiful scenery. And for those who like to hike, there are multiple overlooks including Beacon Heights, Flat Rock Trail and Linville Falls. If you’re looking to spend the night consider a stay in Asheville, NC; Blowing Rock, NC; Roanoke, VA or Front Royal, VA.

        Linn Cove Viaduct along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

        Experience colorful Aspen, above Bear Lake.

        Mountain Zone: Colorado

        The cottonwoods, aspen and maples are the stars of the show during the fall in Boulder, CO. For those looking to catch some spectacular views from their car consider driving the Peak to Peak Highway from Nederland to Estes Park. The 42-mile stretch of scenic byway offers multiple opportunities to pull over and take a photo along the way. For those looking for an opportunity to hike among the aspen check out Caribou Ranch. There is a relatively flat 4.5 mile lollipop loop which will take you through the aspen and you can stop and rest at the historic DeLonde Homestead cabin.

        If you’re looking for adventure then consider Vail, CO. Visitors will find an assortment of options from mountain roller coasters, zip lining and mountain biking to fishing and gondola rides all framed by the beauty of the mountains and the golden leaves of the aspen trees.

          Experience autumn on the shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana.

          Mountain Zone: Montana

          Montana’s Glacier National Park, a Wilderness Society top pick for fall color, offers autumn in two stages: in mid-to-late September, lower-elevation cottonwood and aspen trees near rivers and lakes don bright gold; then in mid-October the tamarack or western larch, a rare deciduous conifer that grows at higher elevations, turns bumblebee-yellow before shedding its needles for the winter. Hiking and driving are both terrific ways to enjoy the color shows. Give yourself a full day to enjoy the shores of Lake McDonald and drive the legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road (if it’s still open for the season) while keeping your eyes peeled for mountain goats, elk and bighorn sheep. If you stay in Kalispell, gateway to Glacier National Park, you can add on extra adventures like an autumn float trip along the Flathead River, guided fly-fishing, mountain biking, golf, horseback riding or small-plane sightseeing.

            Mountain Zone: Montana

            Montana’s Glacier National Park, a Wilderness Society top pick for fall color, offers autumn in two stages: in mid-to-late September, lower-elevation cottonwood and aspen trees near rivers and lakes don bright gold; then in mid-October the tamarack or western larch, a rare deciduous conifer that grows at higher elevations, turns bumblebee-yellow before shedding its needles for the winter. Hiking and driving are both terrific ways to enjoy the color shows. Give yourself a full day to enjoy the shores of Lake McDonald and drive the legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road (if it’s still open for the season) while keeping your eyes peeled for mountain goats, elk and bighorn sheep. If you stay in Kalispell, gateway to Glacier National Park, you can add on extra adventures like an autumn float trip along the Flathead River, guided fly-fishing, mountain biking, golf, horseback riding or small-plane sightseeing.

              Experience autumn on the shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana.

              Yosemite Falls are majestic at any time of the year, but especially in the fall.

              West: California

              The 1.9 million acres of California's Inyo National Forest include the Ansel Adams Wilderness (two hours’ drive from either Reno or Lake Tahoe) and the John Muir Wilderness (two hours from Fresno), where golden leaves of quaking aspen and willow meet crimson cottonwood trees and sapphire blue lakes. Is Yosemite on your bucket list? Fall colors supersize its already-huge 'wow' factor, and it ranks first on The Wilderness Society’s Best National Parks for Fall Color list. Stay in either Merced or Modesto, both are about two hours from Yosemite.

              In California's wine country, from the Russian River to Napa, even the vineyards dress up in glowing orange, yellow and red. Leaf peeping and wine tasting may just be the perfect pairing! Fall color highlights the tasting rooms along Highway 12 and Highway 29 and the farm-to-table venues in Healdsburg, St. Helena and Santa Rosa. If you're staying in or near Sonoma, family-friendly fall color adventures might include Sunset Magazine's - Opens a dialog test gardens or the flat, paved 2.3-mile path around Spring Lake, whose waters mirror hillsides rich with autumn color. For more ambitious hiking complete with sunset views, head to adjacent Trione-Annadel State Park and its trails lined with red and yellow big leaf maples and amber-leaf oaks.

                West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, Arizona.

                Southwest: Arizona

                Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon National Scenic Byway has been called a scenic, smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon. Here, fall color arrives a bit later, from mid-October to November. Orangey-yellow Gambel oak leaves create a glowing canopy over much of the road, which climbs to a series of switchbacks and stunning viewpoints of the area's red-rock cliffs en route to the luminous aspens of Flagstaff. Pack a lunch, binoculars and a swimsuit as there are plenty of picnic areas, overlooks, swimming holes and hiking trails all along the drive. Keep an eye out for elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope! Not a hiker? Jeep tours and hot air ballooning offer other ways to experience the fall colors of this magnificent area. Added autumn bonuses: between hatch chile roasting season and fruit stands offering fresh-picked apples you’re in for culinary adventures as well!

                The Flagstaff Leaf-ometer - Opens a dialog is a good way to keep an eye on how the season is shaping up.

                  Southwest: Arizona

                  Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon National Scenic Byway has been called a scenic, smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon. Here, fall color arrives a bit later, from mid-October to November. Orangey-yellow Gambel oak leaves create a glowing canopy over much of the road, which climbs to a series of switchbacks and stunning viewpoints of the area's red-rock cliffs en route to the luminous aspens of Flagstaff. Pack a lunch, binoculars and a swimsuit as there are plenty of picnic areas, overlooks, swimming holes and hiking trails all along the drive. Keep an eye out for elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope! Not a hiker? Jeep tours and hot air ballooning offer other ways to experience the fall colors of this magnificent area. Added autumn bonuses: between hatch chile roasting season and fruit stands offering fresh-picked apples you’re in for culinary adventures as well!

                  The Flagstaff Leaf-ometer - Opens a dialog is a good way to keep an eye on how the season is shaping up.

                    West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, Arizona.

                    The Northeastern states in the U.S. are famous for beautiful fall foliage.

                    North East

                    New York state offers an array of places from which to enjoy the breathtaking colors as summer transitions into fall. If you're looking to see the leaves earlier in the season, consider staying in Lake George in New York’s Adirondack region. A hike to the summit of Prospect Mountain offers a great view from which to see the foliage transition as your eyes move from north to south. For history buffs, check out the Fort William Henry Museum and learn about what it was like to be on the front line in defense of the British colonies during the French and Indian War.

                    If you’re looking to take in the foliage from a more urban landscape then consider Albany, NY. Located In downtown Albany, Washington Park is a great spot for taking in fall color from the heart of the city. Marvel at nature’s beauty as you stroll around Washington Park Lake or take advantage of the park’s many bike paths. The lake’s stone footbridge and the park’s many monuments will add a note of history to your experience. For another great vantage point, Thacher State Park is a just a 30-minute drive from the city. There you can drive to the top of Helderberg Escarpment for a spectacular panorama of the nearby mountain ranges. In addition, consider stopping by a local u-pick apple orchard or a pumpkin patch.

                    The Fall Leaf Finder - Opens a dialog (New York) is a great source of information on the types of leaves you may see while leaf peeping.

                      Linn Cove Viaduct along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

                      South East

                      Fall foliage isn’t restricted to the North East. Many areas throughout the country provide an opportunity to watch the trees change color as we transition from summer into fall.

                      Beginning in late September travelers to western North Carolina start to see the foliage transition on the highest peaks and continue throughout the month of October and into early November. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great drive providing many opportunities to take in the beautiful scenery. And for those who like to hike, there are multiple overlooks including Beacon Heights, Flat Rock Trail and Linville Falls. If you’re looking to spend the night consider a stay in Asheville, NC; Blowing Rock, NC; Roanoke, VA or Front Royal, VA.

                        South East

                        Fall foliage isn’t restricted to the North East. Many areas throughout the country provide an opportunity to watch the trees change color as we transition from summer into fall.

                        Beginning in late September travelers to western North Carolina start to see the foliage transition on the highest peaks and continue throughout the month of October and into early November. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great drive providing many opportunities to take in the beautiful scenery. And for those who like to hike, there are multiple overlooks including Beacon Heights, Flat Rock Trail and Linville Falls. If you’re looking to spend the night consider a stay in Asheville, NC; Blowing Rock, NC; Roanoke, VA or Front Royal, VA.

                          Linn Cove Viaduct along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

                          Experience colorful Aspen, above Bear Lake.

                          Mountain Zone: Colorado

                          The cottonwoods, aspen and maples are the stars of the show during the fall in Boulder, CO. For those looking to catch some spectacular views from their car consider driving the Peak to Peak Highway from Nederland to Estes Park. The 42-mile stretch of scenic byway offers multiple opportunities to pull over and take a photo along the way. For those looking for an opportunity to hike among the aspen check out Caribou Ranch. There is a relatively flat 4.5 mile lollipop loop which will take you through the aspen and you can stop and rest at the historic DeLonde Homestead cabin.

                          If you’re looking for adventure then consider Vail, CO. Visitors will find an assortment of options from mountain roller coasters, zip lining and mountain biking to fishing and gondola rides all framed by the beauty of the mountains and the golden leaves of the aspen trees.

                            Experience autumn on the shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana.

                            Mountain Zone: Montana

                            Montana’s Glacier National Park, a Wilderness Society top pick for fall color, offers autumn in two stages: in mid-to-late September, lower-elevation cottonwood and aspen trees near rivers and lakes don bright gold; then in mid-October the tamarack or western larch, a rare deciduous conifer that grows at higher elevations, turns bumblebee-yellow before shedding its needles for the winter. Hiking and driving are both terrific ways to enjoy the color shows. Give yourself a full day to enjoy the shores of Lake McDonald and drive the legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road (if it’s still open for the season) while keeping your eyes peeled for mountain goats, elk and bighorn sheep. If you stay in Kalispell, gateway to Glacier National Park, you can add on extra adventures like an autumn float trip along the Flathead River, guided fly-fishing, mountain biking, golf, horseback riding or small-plane sightseeing.

                              Mountain Zone: Montana

                              Montana’s Glacier National Park, a Wilderness Society top pick for fall color, offers autumn in two stages: in mid-to-late September, lower-elevation cottonwood and aspen trees near rivers and lakes don bright gold; then in mid-October the tamarack or western larch, a rare deciduous conifer that grows at higher elevations, turns bumblebee-yellow before shedding its needles for the winter. Hiking and driving are both terrific ways to enjoy the color shows. Give yourself a full day to enjoy the shores of Lake McDonald and drive the legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road (if it’s still open for the season) while keeping your eyes peeled for mountain goats, elk and bighorn sheep. If you stay in Kalispell, gateway to Glacier National Park, you can add on extra adventures like an autumn float trip along the Flathead River, guided fly-fishing, mountain biking, golf, horseback riding or small-plane sightseeing.

                                Experience autumn on the shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana.

                                Yosemite Falls are majestic at any time of the year, but especially in the fall.

                                West: California

                                The 1.9 million acres of California's Inyo National Forest include the Ansel Adams Wilderness (two hours’ drive from either Reno or Lake Tahoe) and the John Muir Wilderness (two hours from Fresno), where golden leaves of quaking aspen and willow meet crimson cottonwood trees and sapphire blue lakes. Is Yosemite on your bucket list? Fall colors supersize its already-huge 'wow' factor, and it ranks first on The Wilderness Society’s Best National Parks for Fall Color list. Stay in either Merced or Modesto, both are about two hours from Yosemite.

                                In California's wine country, from the Russian River to Napa, even the vineyards dress up in glowing orange, yellow and red. Leaf peeping and wine tasting may just be the perfect pairing! Fall color highlights the tasting rooms along Highway 12 and Highway 29 and the farm-to-table venues in Healdsburg, St. Helena and Santa Rosa. If you're staying in or near Sonoma, family-friendly fall color adventures might include Sunset Magazine's - Opens a dialog test gardens or the flat, paved 2.3-mile path around Spring Lake, whose waters mirror hillsides rich with autumn color. For more ambitious hiking complete with sunset views, head to adjacent Trione-Annadel State Park and its trails lined with red and yellow big leaf maples and amber-leaf oaks.

                                  West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, Arizona.

                                  Southwest: Arizona

                                  Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon National Scenic Byway has been called a scenic, smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon. Here, fall color arrives a bit later, from mid-October to November. Orangey-yellow Gambel oak leaves create a glowing canopy over much of the road, which climbs to a series of switchbacks and stunning viewpoints of the area's red-rock cliffs en route to the luminous aspens of Flagstaff. Pack a lunch, binoculars and a swimsuit as there are plenty of picnic areas, overlooks, swimming holes and hiking trails all along the drive. Keep an eye out for elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope! Not a hiker? Jeep tours and hot air ballooning offer other ways to experience the fall colors of this magnificent area. Added autumn bonuses: between hatch chile roasting season and fruit stands offering fresh-picked apples you’re in for culinary adventures as well!

                                  The Flagstaff Leaf-ometer - Opens a dialog is a good way to keep an eye on how the season is shaping up.

                                    Southwest: Arizona

                                    Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon National Scenic Byway has been called a scenic, smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon. Here, fall color arrives a bit later, from mid-October to November. Orangey-yellow Gambel oak leaves create a glowing canopy over much of the road, which climbs to a series of switchbacks and stunning viewpoints of the area's red-rock cliffs en route to the luminous aspens of Flagstaff. Pack a lunch, binoculars and a swimsuit as there are plenty of picnic areas, overlooks, swimming holes and hiking trails all along the drive. Keep an eye out for elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope! Not a hiker? Jeep tours and hot air ballooning offer other ways to experience the fall colors of this magnificent area. Added autumn bonuses: between hatch chile roasting season and fruit stands offering fresh-picked apples you’re in for culinary adventures as well!

                                    The Flagstaff Leaf-ometer - Opens a dialog is a good way to keep an eye on how the season is shaping up.

                                      West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, Arizona.


                                      About the Author: The above piece was a collaborative effort by Julie Robinson, Marketing Coordinator, and Heidi McDade, Director of Marketing and Ecommerce at Costco Travel.


                                       
                                       
                                       
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