In many parts of the country, the warm hues of autumn are already taking the place of the summer greens. And while the change of seasons is always a special time, there’s something extra magical about the colorful transition into autumn.
Mother Nature’s kaleidoscope of ambers and golds beckons pumpkin-pickers and leaf-peepers to get their foliage fix. And with apple orchards, wine tastings, and a blanket of changing leaves, these small towns are the best spots to take in the new season.
7 Spots to Explore this Fall
1. Stowe, Vermont
Known globally for its autumn foliage, travelers flock to the Green Mountains of Vermont throughout the end of September and the first few weeks of October.
The little mountain town offers an extensive trail system and a special trip up Toll Road to the top of Mount Mansfield (the tallest in the state) is the best way to capture the true splendor of fall.
2. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Just a short drive from major cities like Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Harpers Ferry is one of the most easily accessible towns for fall foliage. Ziplining, aerial ropes courses, and Segway tours are all offered as a means of viewing the area’s foliage.
For even more fun, explore the area’s national parks or embark on a whitewater rafting excursion on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.
3. Leavenworth, Washington
As the reds and yellows of fall continue to creep across the landscape, many travelers are heading to the northeast for a glimpse of the changing seasons. But, heading west instead offers just as much magic.
And there’s arguably no town for fall foliage with as much charm as Leavenworth. The German-inspired town boasts a quaint Bavarian village that truly comes to life as the trees light up around it.
Aside from the foliage, the area also has an abundance of fresh produce, several wineries and tasting rooms, and endless hiking and biking trails.
4. Taos, New Mexico
Between the crisp mountain air and the stunning yellow aspens, Taos is truly one of the best towns for fall foliage. Nestled in the Southern Rockies, there are so many ways to take in the grandeur of autumn in Taos.
Aside from the typical hiking and biking, Taos also boasts a scenic train ride. The daily, 64-mile trips traverse across the Colorado and New Mexico border through mountains, deserts, fields, and more.
5. Lake Placid, New York
Farmers’ markets, festivals, stunning foliage – fall in Lake Placid has so much in store. And on your getaway to the Adirondacks, there’s no better way to experience autumn on full display than with a visit to the Whiteface Gondola.
A 15-minute trip up the mountain highlights incredible panoramic views of Lake Champlain and Lake Placid, flanked by the bright yellows and reds of the changing season.
6. Estes Park, Colorado
As one of the best small towns for fall foliage, Estes Park offers everything you’d hope for on an autumn vacation. With a prime location next to Rocky Mountain National Park, there’s arguably no place better than Estes Park to take in the autumn views.
And thanks to cool mornings and warm afternoons, fall is also the perfect time to fish, hike, or wildlife watching for elk, moose, and more.
7. Whitefish, Montana
Whitefish is truly a premier year-round destination. But when fall rolls around, there are even more reasons to love this small town.
With the disbursement of the summer crowds and an abundance of sunshine, visitors to Whitefish can enjoy less crowded hiking trails, farmers’ markets, golf, and – of course – the golden aspens and tamaracks.
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