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Best Places To Witness Autumn Colors

October 24, 2019 3 min read 0 Comments

Best Places To Witness Autumn Colors


North America has some of the best autumn colors in the world. So much so, in fact, that it can be hard to pick one place to go during the brief peak color window. We’ve picked five of the top possibilities and highlighted what you can expect to see there.



Best Places to Witness Autumn Colors


Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

This relatively small river canyon, though still around 80 miles long in its entirety, consistently pops up in conversations about autumn colors. Nestled along the Hood River, near Mt. Hood among dozens of other state and national parks, right on the border of Washington and Oregon, it hosts multiple ecosystems, providing a topiary cornucopia. The Gorge encompasses a number of impressive waterfalls — enjoy the colors on a hike out to one of them.

 

Notable Trees

Colors

Optimal Viewing Time

  • Oregon Ash
  • Oregon White Oak
  • Black Cottonwood
  • Pacific Dogwood
  • Red Alder
  • Bigleaf Maple
  • Vine Maple

Yellow, Gold and Bronze

Late September and October


Aspen, Colorado

Often overlooked as a fall destination due to its plethora of summer and winter recreational opportunities, any area that is named after a tree should be under consideration. Known for its namesake aspen trees, the autumn colors are made more beautiful contrasted against a mountainous backdrop. The Maroon Bells are a pair of famous twin peaks worth seeing, or take a car down the Independence Pass for a 20-mile cruise through some of Colorado’s best terrain. If you’re looking to relax after hiking through the brisk autumn air, take a gander at Glenwood Springs northwest of Aspen.

 

Notable Trees

Colors

Optimal Viewing Time

  • Aspens
  • Varied Coniferous

Gold-Yellow and Green

Mid-September to Mid-October


Taos, New Mexico

Wheeler Peak is the highest point in New Mexico, and the 83-mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway surrounding it boasts the best autumn views of the southwest U.S. When you think of New Mexico, you probably just think ‘desert,’ but at least in this area, you couldn’t be more wrong. Known for trees that grow big due to the arid climate, its colorful canopies are beyond compare. While you’re there, don’t miss the Taos historical plaza and the UNESCO site pueblos in town.

 

Notable Trees

Colors

Optimal Viewing Time

  • Gambel Oak
  • Rocky Mountain Maple
  • Honey Mesquite
  • Cottonwoods
  • Willows
  • Littleleaf Linden

Red-Brown, Red-Orange, Yellow

Late September to Early October


Great Smoky Mountains

With over 100 species of native trees, the diverse foliage is only accentuated by the unique topography and namesake fog banks of the broad Smoky Mountains area. Over 800 square miles of forest lie within this National Parkopportunities galore for hiking, biking, kayaking and more. Swing over to nearby Gatlinburg for a variety of attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium or the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America, SkyBridge.

 

Notable Trees

Colors

Optimal Viewing Time

  • Yellow Birch
  • Basswood
  • Yellow Buckeye
  • Tulip Poplar
  • Silverbell
  • Shagbark Hickory

Yellow, Golden Yellow, Yellow-Orange, Gold,

Early October to Early November


Northwoods / Upper Penninsula

If you start driving north right now, you may still catch the last of the northern autumn colors. Though it may not have the historical underpinnings of the classic New England fall ride, northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan encompass one of the greatest diversities of tree life, and some of the greatest autumn conflagrations in the country. ATVs are a staple of the area, so pick up a rental and rumble beneath the boughs of brilliant color while hopping from bar to restaurant and back again.

 

Notable Trees

Colors

Optimal Viewing Time

  • Northern Red Oak
  • White Oak
  • Birch
  • Beech
  • Red & Sugar Maples
  • Aspens
  • Lindens

Dark Red, Reddish-Brown, Yellow, Golden-Bronze, Orage, Scarlet, Gold

Late September to Mid-October

You really can’t go wrong anywhere in the U.S. this time of year, but these locales will be sure to astound. Autumn color is fleeting, so don’t take too long in deciding where you’ll spend this magical time of year!





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