Best Fall Hikes to Add to Your Bucket List
Fall is an absolutely magical time of year to do some hiking across the country. If you’re interested in checking out some of the best fall hikes in the United States, we’ve put together a list of the top hiking spots in each state.
Not only is the weather incredibly comfortable in the fall, but you’ll also get to take in some breathtaking scenery as the leaves change colors. So strap on your hiking boots, load up your hiking gear, and make plans to explore some of these best fall hiking trails in the U.S.
1. Cheaha State Park, Alabama
Located approximately an hour east of Birmingham and adjoining Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park is a fantastic place to do some fall hiking in Alabama. The 2,799-acre park includes Cheaha Mountain, which is the highest point in the state.
For truly spectacular views of the fall colors, hike the 0.6-mile Pulpit Rock Trail. While the trail is short, it does have some steep terrain. However, the scenic overlook is well worth the effort.
Other excellent trails to check out in the park include the 0.3-mile Bald Rock Trail and 1.4-mile Mountain Laurel Trail.
2. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Fall doesn’t last for a long time in Alaska. But if you can manage a trip to the state during the season, you’ll be treated to some amazing views. One of the best places to go in Alaska for excellent fall hiking is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
At 13.2 million acres, this is the largest national park in the country and a great place to see glaciers, wildlife, and expansive scenic beauty.
One of the best fall hikes in the preserve is Trail Creek Trail in the Nabesna Road Area. The full length of the trail is 10 miles one-way as it travels up to the pass where Lost Creek starts. However, you can make your hike as short as you want.
No matter how long you decide to hike, you’ll enjoy spectacular scenery and vibrant colors along the way.
3. Coconino National Forest, Arizona
Located in Northern Arizona just outside of Flagstaff, Coconino National Forest is a 1.856-million-acre forest that offers amazing views any time of year. However, in the fall, the forest’s endless groves of Aspen trees become a sea of gold and yellow.
One of the best trails to check out in the forest is Inner Basin Trail. This 3.2-mile out-and-back trail offers an easy to moderate hike through the shimmering trees.
Keep in mind that while the best time to see the fall colors is from late September to mid-October, the forest service manages capacity to the area on the weekends in October to keep it from getting overcrowded. Therefore, the best time to go is usually during the week.
4. Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas
A visit to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas in the fall offers two amazing views. First, you have the stunning reds, oranges, and yellows of the leaves. Second, you have the spectacular 95-foot tall Cedar Falls.
One of the best fall hikes in the park is the 2-mile round trip Cedar Falls Trail. This trail takes you by gigantic stone boulders and under the canopy of a dense hardwood forest before leading you to Cedar Falls, which is one of the tallest waterfalls in the state.
Other good hikes in the park include the Seven Hollows Trail, Rock House Cave Trail, and Canyon Trail.
5. Bishop Creek Canyon, California
California has such an range of impressive hiking destinations, it might be hard to decide where to go for your fall hike. We recommend Bishop Creek Canyon since it’s one of the first places in the state to start showcasing colors.
The trails around Lake Sabrina offer stunning views of the alpine lake. The area also offers easy access to the nearby John Muir Wilderness, where you can enjoy a secluded backpacking trip in pristine forests.
6. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Colorado is amazing in the fall, so it’s hard to pick just one place to do some hiking. However, if you can only visit one spot, make it Rocky Mountain National Park.
The park has 355 miles of hiking trails, so you’ll have plenty of options from which to choose. One of the most popular is the 0.6-mile Bear Lake loop trail. The crisp blue color of lake and vivid yellow and orange aspen trees create dazzling views on this trail.
If you’re interested in a summit hike, consider the 3-mile Deer Mountain trail. For amazing waterfall views, you can’t beat the 0.6-mile Alberta Falls trail.
7. Talcott Mountain State Park, Connecticut
When it comes to hiking in Connecticut, you have seemingly endless options. One excellent choice is Talcott Mountain State Park, which has numerous hiking trails for all skill levels.
One of the best fall hikes in the park is the 1.25-mile Tower Trail. This trail takes you up the 165-foot Heublein Tower. Make the climb to the top and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Farmington River Valley, Mount Monadnock, and Long Island Sound.
8. White Clay Creek State Park, Delaware
Located just north of Newark, Delaware, White Clay Creek State Park has more than 37 miles of trails that are ideal for hikers of all abilities. Most trails range from easy to moderate in difficulty.
One popular trail is the 2.1-mile Bryan’s Field Trail, which crosses a meadow and takes you through a mature hardwood forest filled with maple, oak, and poplar trees that shimmer with shades of gold, yellow, red, and orange.
9. Torreya State Park, Florida
Think you can’t see any fall colors in Florida? Think again! While the colors won’t be as spectacular as they are in New England, you can still see some lovely fall scenery in Florida.
The key to fall hiking in Florida is to plan your trip for later in the season and head to Northern Florida. That’s why we recommend checking out Torreya State Park in mid to late November.
The park has 16 miles of hiking trails that travel through a rolling topography that’s more akin to mountains in the North instead of the flatlands of Florida. Stand on some of the park’s 150-foot bluffs above the Apalachicola River to take in stunning views of the native southern sugar maples that shimmer with color.
Are you interested in doing more hiking in the state? Then be sure to check out some of the best hiking trails in Florida.
10. Blood Mountain, Georgia
If you want to enjoy some of the best fall hikes in Georgia, head to Blood Mountain in the northern part of the state. Here you can find a 4.3-mile round-trip trail that takes you to the highest summit on Georgia’s portion of the Appalachian Trail.
From the peak, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains awash in fall colors. You can continue following the AT north to Cowrock Mountain to catch even more breathtaking views. You can also spend some time hiking on the Byron Reece Trail.
11. Maunawili Falls, Hawaii
Like Florida, Hawaii is another tropical paradise with some amazing hiking trails. However, unlike Florida, the leaves in Hawaii don’t change color. So we’re going to cheat a little bit and offer the best waterfall hike in Hawaii.
Tucked away in the Maunawili Valley, Maunawili Falls is a 20-foot stunner with a deep swimming hole. Although the city and county maintain the 2.8-mile trail to the falls, you’ll still be climbing over tree roots and hopping on rocks to cross the Maunawili Stream.
Once you’re there, take some time to marvel at the scenic waterfall surrounded by lush jungle.
12. Fishhook Creek Trail, Idaho
While the Fishhook Creek Trail is a popular trail to hike in the summer, it doesn’t see as much traffic in the fall. This means you’ll have all that exceptional beauty to yourself.
The 4.4-mile trail follows the Fishhook Creek before ending in the lovely Fishhook Creek Meadow. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a stunning view of golden aspens as they shimmer on the hillsides.
13. Garden of the Gods, Illinois
Garden of the Gods is a 3,318-acre recreation area located within the Shawnee National Forest. Because of its stunning panoramic views and unique sandstone rock formations, it’s considered one of the most photographed spots in the state.
A trip to this recreation area in autumn is truly spectacular. One of the best hikes here is the 0.25-mile Observation Trail. This trail winds around the rock formations before taking you up to an overlook that provides epic views of the surrounding wilderness.
14. Brown County State Park, Indiana
Brown County State Park is nicknamed the “Little Smokies” because it resembles the Great Smoky Mountains. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best fall hikes in Indiana.
The 16,000-acre park encompasses rugged hills, rocky ridges, and plunging ravines, all of which burst into color during autumn. There are so many hiking trails in this park worth exploring, it might be hard to decide which ones to do.
The Lodge Trail is a short 0.9-mile hike that takes you through a forest filled with colorful oak, maple, beech, hickory, and sassafras. Another good option is the 2-mile CCC Trail, which takes you by some beautifully constructed stone bridges, walls, and stairways.
15. Ledges State Park, Iowa
Not only is Ledges State Park one of Iowa’s first state parks, but it’s also one of the most popular. The stunning bluffs and canyons make for some picturesque views, especially in the fall.
The park has 4 miles of hiking trails that traipse across the steep slopes and head up to scenic overlooks for spectacular views. If you need something that’s good for hiking with young children, the interpretive trail at the southern part of the park that heads to Lost Lake is an ideal option.
16. Ernie Miller Nature Center, Kansas
It’s not often that an urban park makes the list of one of the best fall hikes, but the Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe, Kansas, is definitely an exception.
This 116-acre nature preserve is the perfect escape from the bustling city. Here you’ll find a variety of quiet trails that wind through peaceful nature settings bursting with color. Some of the most popular trails include the Lower Ridge Trail, Upper Ridge Trail, and South Trail.
17. Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, Kentucky
Cumberland Gap National Historic Park stretches over the gently rolling mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The park has more than 85 miles of trails that vary in length and difficulty.
If you’re in the Kentucky portion of the park, one of the absolute best trails to check out for stunning fall views is Pinnacle Trail. This out-and-back trail stretches for 7.8 miles. You’ll climb about 1,500 feet before reaching Pinnacle Overlook, which delivers breathtaking views Cumberland Gap alight with the fiery colors of fall.
18. Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area, Louisiana
Like most of the other Southern states on this list, the key to seeing fall colors in Louisiana is to head north. In this case, take a trip to Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area.
Located at the southern edge of the Loess Blufflands and along the east bank of the Mississippi River, the Tunica Hills WMA has rugged hills, sheer bluffs, and upland hardwood forests filled with beech, oak, hickory, poplar, elm, maple, and more.
The area also has a variety of outstanding hiking trails that wind their way through forests filled with trees showing off vibrant fall colors.
19. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia is a national park along the coast of Maine that’s a must-see destination any time of year. However, fall in Acadia is truly spectacular.
With 150 miles of trails throughout the park, you have endless opportunities to see the amazing fall colors from a variety of different vantage points.
Summit hikes offer some of the best views of the park. A few popular options include the 3.5-mile Gorham Mountain Loop or the historic Beachcroft Path.
Of course, summit hikes also mean you’ll be putting in the work to enjoy those views. If you’re looking for something a little easier, consider some of the lake and forest hikes.
The Hadlock Ponds Loop is a 4.1-mile figure eight trail that takes you over boardwalks and wooden bridges. There’s also the iconic Jordan Pond Path, which follows the shores of Jordan Pond and offers lovely views of the water and mountains.
20. Swallow Falls State Park, Maryland
Swallow Falls State Park is home to Muddy Creek Falls — the highest free-falling waterfall in the state. The park is located near the picturesque small town of Oakland, which celebrates its amazing fall colors on the second weekend of October during its Autumn Glory Festival.
Whether you decide to visit the park during the festival or any other time in the fall, you’ll find an easy mile-long hiking trail that takes you past the thundering 53-foot Muddy Creek Falls and several other smaller waterfalls. During your hike, you’ll also pass through a stunning hemlock forest with trees that are more than 300 years old.
If you’re looking to extend your hike even further, the 11-mile round trip Harrington Manor/Swallow Falls Trail connects Swallow Falls to the nearby Herrington Manor State Park through the Garrett State Forest. Herrington Manor also has several hiking trails worth exploring.
21. Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Massachusetts
When it comes to picking out the best fall hikes in Massachusetts, it’s hard to settle on one. After all, the state is almost synonymous with amazing New England fall colors. If you’re looking for a spot that has hiking options for all skill levels, check out Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.
Located between the towns of Topsfield and Wenham, Ipswich has 12 miles of interconnecting trails that will take you through forests, wetlands, and meadows. Since you can pick and choose which trails you want to explore, you can easily make your hike as long or as short as you please.
Best of all, no matter which trails you hike, you’ll enjoy charming views and the amazing colors of fall.
22. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore hugs the shoreline of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s known for its dramatic, multicolored cliffs and incredible colors in the fall. No matter what type of hike you’re interested in doing, you’re sure to find it here.
If you’re hiking with kids and need something easy, check out the 0.5-mile Sand Point Marsh Loop Trail. This boardwalk trail takes you through some of the most beautiful wetlands in the park.
For something a little longer, the 1.2-mile round trip Miners Falls Trail takes you through the forest to a 50-foot waterfall that cascades over a sandstone cliff. There’s also the 2-mile round trip Grand Sable Forest Trail that goes through a maple forest and along the edge of old farm fields.
23. Minneopa State Park, Minnesota
Even though Minneopa State Park is the third-oldest state park in Minnesota, it still offers plenty of unique attractions you’ll want to enjoy.
One of the most popular features in the park is the double waterfall that drops over 50 feet into a deep gorge. You can hike into the gorge to marvel at the steep sandstone cliffs and brilliantly colored trees around you.
Another interesting park feature is the newly re-established herd of American bison. Before you leave the park, be sure to take a leisurely drive through the bison range to spot these magnificent animals.
24. Tishomingo State Park, Mississippi
Tishomingo State Park is known for its beauty throughout the year, but it just gets even more scenic in the fall. The park is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and offers a unique landscape of huge sandstone outcroppings and rock formations.
It’s also home to around 13 miles of trails that vary in length but all offer an easy to moderate hike.
At 3 miles in length, the Flat Rock Trail and CCC Camp Trail are the longest trails in the park. The 2-mile Outcroppings Trail is another popular option that winds its way along a ridge and offers splendid views of the valley.
25. Caney Mountain Conservation Area, Missouri
The sprawling Caney Mountain Conservation Area in the southern part of Missouri is known for its expansive views of the Ozark mountains.
Two trails wind through the area and offer spectacular views of the fall colors on the numerous prominent peaks. During your hike, you should also keep an eye out for some of the rare wild animals that call the conservation area home, such as the collared lizard and Bachman’s sparrow.
In addition to hiking trails, the area also has around 20 miles of roads that have many scenic overlooks for viewing the mountains.
26. Sluice Boxes State Park, Montana
While it would be so easy to pick any hiking trail in Glacier National Park for phenomenal fall hikes, we’re going to pick one of the lesser-known parks in Montana: Sluice Boxes State Park.
Located just outside of Great Falls, Sluice Boxes State Park covers a rugged landscape full of pristine beauty.
Hiking trails in this park follow Belt Creek as it winds through a scenic canyon of limestone. The trails also showcase the amazing contrast of autumn colors from the aspen, chokecherry, and cottonwood trees that grow near the cliffs.
27. Platte River State Park, Nebraska
Located halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, Platte River State Park offers several incredibly scenic hiking trails where you can take in the views of the fall colors.
Take a hike to the two observation towers in the park for phenomenal views of the surrounding landscape. Another popular trail is the 6.7-mile loop that winds its way throughout the park and offers a lovely view of the river and a waterfall.
28. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Nevada
When a lot people think of Nevada, they picture the bright lights of Las Vegas and desert. However, if you travel just 45 minutes away from downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, which is part of Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
While you’ll certainly find desert landscape in this 316,000-acre stretch of protected land, you’ll also discover a massive range of snow-capped mountain peaks.
One of the most spectacular fall hikes you can do in the recreation area is the Mary Jane Falls Trail. This 3.9-mile out-and-back trail ends at its namesake: Mary Jane Falls.
While the falls themselves are beautiful and certainly worth the hike, the view away from the falls and toward the mountains behind you is truly incredible.
29. Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Walk down pretty much any street in New Hampshire in the fall and you’ll enjoy stunning colors everywhere you look. However, if you’re interested in a memorable hike, head to Crawford Notch State Park.
This 5,775-acre park has numerous hiking trails worth exploring. One of the most popular is the Arethusa Falls Trail. At 140 feet high, this is the highest waterfall in the state.
While the first part of the trail is a little steep and rocky, the latter part goes through an open hardwood forest filled with brilliant fall colors. When you’re ready to return, you can come back the same way or continue a 4-mile loop past Frankenstein Cliff for even more spectacular views.
30. High Point State Park, New Jersey
As you might suspect from the name, High Point State Park is home to the highest elevation in New Jersey. Kittatinny Ridge rises 1,803 feet above sea level and offers unparalleled views of the scenic fall landscape in three different states (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania).
There’s a road that takes you directly to the summit and the High Point Monument that’s located on the top. However, the more rewarding way to reach the peak is to take the Appalachian Trail.
You’ll gain around 900 feet in elevation to reach the summit. In addition to the monument, there’s also a wooden observation deck that’s close to the top that offers exceptional views.
31. Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico
If you want to enjoy some fall foliage in New Mexico, your best bet is to head to the northern part of the state. More specifically, Santa Fe National Forest, which contains 291,669 acres of wilderness areas.
The elevations in the national forest range from 5,300 feet to 13,103 feet, so you know you’ll be able to find something for every hiker. In the fall, the aspen trees in the area burst into shimmering shades of orange and yellow. When a breeze rustles the leaves, it almost looks like gold coins dancing around.
Since the forest covers 5 ranger districts in all, you’ll find plenty of diverse hiking opportunities. You can choose some of the lower front country trails for a quick day hike, or take one of the longer backpacking trails in the higher elevations.
No matter which trails you decide to explore, you know you’ll get to see plenty of diverse and beautiful scenery.
32. Sleeping Beauty Mountain, New York
Located near Lake George and surrounded by the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains, Sleeping Beauty Mountain has a 1,300-foot summit that offers scenic views of the area.
One of the best ways to take in the views from the top is to hike the 7-mile Sleeping Beauty Mountain and Lake George Loop Trail. This trail is moderately steep with a lot of switchbacks.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Lake George and the Adirondacks. At the top, you’ll be able to take in expansive views of the surrounding mountains awash in fall colors, including Crane, Pico, and Killington Mountains.
33. Pickens Nose Trail, North Carolina
I absolutely adore fall in North Carolina, so it was really hard to pick just one spot for this list of the best fall hikes. Honestly, if you close your eyes and point to any place on the map in Western North Carolina, you’re bound to enjoy some amazing views.
However, since I had to choose one, I decided to go with Pickens Nose Trail in Nantahala National Forest. Although not as popular as trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway, this 1.5-mile round trip hike offers exceptional long-range views of the rolling mountains covered in abundant autumn leaf color.
To get to the summit of Pickens Nose, you’ll take a trailhead near the Appalachian Trail at Mooney Gap. Although the trail has a few steep areas, it’s still easy enough for a variety of skill levels.
34. Icelandic State Park, North Dakota
Located in the northeastern part of the state, Icelandic State Park covers more than 900 acres, 200 of which are wooded and burst into stunning colors in the fall.
The park is located on the shores of Lake Renwick and showcases North Dakota’s homesteading past. Here you’ll find more than 4 miles of trails that wind through the park and the 200-acre Gunlogson Nature Preserve.
35. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Although Cuyahoga Valley National Park is just a short drive from major cities like Cleveland and Akron, you’ll feel like you’re in another world when you visit. The park is home to over 125 miles of hiking trails that range from nearly-flat paths that are ideal for families to more challenging hikes that pass through a variety of habitats.
If you’re looking for some good hikes to enjoy the fall colors, you’ll find plenty of options.
The Ledges Trail is a 200-yard trail that takes you to one of the most popular overlooks in the park. From this rock outcropping, you’ll enjoy an unobstructed view across the valley. If you have the time, you can also hike the entire 2.2-mile loop for even more spectacular views.
If you’re looking for an amazing waterfall trail, the 1.5-mile Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail is truly stunning. Another good option is Blue Hen Falls located about 1.5 miles up the Buckeye Trail.
36. Talimena State Park, Oklahoma
Some of the best fall colors in Oklahoma are located in the eastern part of the state, and one spot in particular is Talimena State Park. This park marks the Oklahoma entrance to the Talimena National Scenic Drive, which is a winding road known for its spectacular fall foliage.
It’s also where you can find the start of numerous hiking and backpacking trails that weave throughout Ouachita National Forest.
The Ouachita National Recreation Trail starts in Talimena State Park before traveling 192 miles into Arkansas. Other popular options include Mountain Top Trail, Billy Creek Trail, and Horsethief Springs Trail.
37. Wildwood Trail, Oregon
If you happen to be near Portland, Oregon, in the fall, you definitely want to spend some time hiking the Wildwood Trail. This 30-mile National Recreation Trail runs the entire length of Forest Park from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the south to Newberry Road in the north.
If you’re a fast hiker, it is possible to do the entire trail in one day. However, there are also several roads that run near the trail, which makes it easy to find a parking lot that will let you traverse smaller sections.
In the fall, not only will you enjoy a gorgeous display of color in the trees, but you also have the chance to spot some of the unique plants and animals that call the area home.
38. Great Allegheny Passage, Pennsylvania
The Great Allegheny Passage offers 150 miles of spectacular hiking trails through Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands. Most of the passage is a rail-trail, which means you’ll encounter bridges, tunnels, and small towns along the way.
It also cuts through the stunning Ohiopyle State Park, which offers plenty of scenic fall hikes all on its own. Plus, Kinzua Bridge State Park offers even more stunning views in the fall.
39. Lincoln Woods State Park, Rhode Island
When you visit the 627-acre Lincoln Woods State Park, you’ll have a chance to breathe in the crisp air and take in the beautiful scenery.
The park boasts numerous walking trails that wind through the woods and around Olney Pond. Since many of the trails are smooth and flat, they’re perfect for families or beginner hikers looking to peep at the leaves. The covered bridge at the Breakneck Hill entrance is a quaint place to snap some pictures.
Plus, don’t forget your four-legged family members are allowed to come with you as long as they’re leashed and you clean up after them!
Related: Must-Have Gear for Hiking With Dogs
40. Caesars Head State Park, South Carolina
Caesars Head State Park is a must-see destination in South Carolina no matter what time of the year it is. However, in fall it is an amazingly stunning place.
There are several excellent hiking trails in the park, but one of the most popular is the 4-mile round trip Raven Cliff Falls trail. This hiking trail leads to a scenic overlook where you can see the 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls.
For a different and unique view, check out the 6.6-mile round trip hike to a suspension bridge that crosses the creek above the falls. From here, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the falls as they tumble over the cliff.
In addition to viewing the beautiful leaf colors, another interesting event that happens in the park each fall is the Hawk Watch program. Every year from the beginning of September to the end of November, you can head to the easily-accessible overlook on top of the rocky peak in the park to view the hawk migration.
41. Black Elk Peak, South Dakota
Black Elk Peak is a 7,244-foot granite mountain that’s situated in the heart of the Black Hills and the highest natural point in South Dakota. While the hike to Black Elk Peak will certainly give your legs a workout, the 360-degree view of fall foliage from the top is absolutely unbeatable.
You can find several different trails that lead to the top of Black Elk Peak in the Black Hills National Forest. However, the shortest, least strenuous, and most popular trail begins near Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park.
The trail is about 7 miles round trip. It starts out as an easy stroll through the pine forest and becomes more strenuous the closer you get to the summit, including several switchbacks during the final part of the hike. Altogether, you’ll gain around 1,100 feet in elevation as you trek from Sylvan Lake to the top of Black Elk Peak.
42. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
I have a confession to make. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is my absolute most favorite place on this planet. So there was no way I could make a list of the best fall hikes in the United States and not include this park.
There are so many amazing places to hike in the park, it’s pretty much impossible to choose just one.
If you’re looking for an amazing waterfall hike, consider the 3-mile round trip hike to Baskins Creek Falls. The beginning of this hike has some amazing views of the mountains covered in fall foliage. Once you get to the end of the trail, you’ll discover a 40-foot-tall, two-tier waterfall surrounded by gorgeous fall foliage.
The 3.5-mile round trip hike to Andrews Bald delivers incredible views of the fall colors. Of course, no trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is complete without a hike to the top of Clingmans Dome, which is also the highest point in Tennessee.
43. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas
A list of the best fall hikes in the U.S. just isn’t complete without including Lost Maples State Natural Area in Texas. This natural area protects a special stand of Uvalde bigtooth maples. Anyone familiar with maples knows that these trees turn spectacular shades of red, orange, and yellow in the fall, and these maples are no exception.
There are over 10 miles of hiking trails in the natural area, so you’ll easily be able to find something to suit your needs.
Although the Maple Trail is only 0.4 miles long, it showcases some of the most breathtaking fall foliage you can find in Texas. The East-West Trail is a mile-long trek that takes you along one of the tributaries of the Sabinal River and offers plenty of shaded spots under the beautiful trees.
For a challenge, consider the 3.1-mile East Trail that takes you up the rocky slopes for rewarding scenic views of the colorful trees below.
44. Wind Cave Trail, Utah
Located on the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway near the Guinavah-Malibu Campground, Wind Cave Trail is a 3-mile round trip hike that gains about 2,300 feet in elevation as it winds through the forest and up to a limestone crag with a beautiful triple arch and natural cave.
From here, you’ll enjoy a profoundly spectacular view of the fall foliage in Logan Canyon. Although the trail is fairly steep, it’s well-marked and easy to follow.
45. Mount Mansfield, Vermont
Stretching 4,395 feet into the sky, Mount Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont. While there is a road and a gondola that will take you most of the way to the top, the only way to go all the way up is by hiking.
You can park at the Mount Mansfield Peak Visitor Center and take the Long Trail all the way up to the peak. Another option to consider is to take the Sunset Ridge Trail from Underhill State Park to the Long Trail.
No matter which way you decide to reach the summit, you’ll enjoy a glorious view of all the bright foliage spread out before you.
46. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is a mostly forested park that features waterfalls, rocky peaks, and amazing views pretty much every direction you look. Plus, with over 500 miles of trails to explore, this is also where you can find some of the best hiking in the country.
Since Old Rag Mountain offers some of the most breathtaking views in the park, it’s one of the more popular places to hike. While the 5.4-mile round trip hike to the Old Rag summit from Berry Hollow doesn’t have the rock scramble like the Old Rag Circuit trail, it’s still a very physically demanding and challenging hike.
If you’re interested in shorter and easier hikes that still offer fantastic views, consider the Blackrock Summit trail with incredible views of the Shenandoah Valley or the Bearfence Viewpoint trail that provides a 180-degree view of the Shenandoah Valley.
47. Maple Pass Loop, Washington
With a name like Maple Pass Loop, you just know this hiking trail in Washington offers one of the best fall hikes in the country. You’ll find the trailhead for Maple Pass Loop at the Rainy Lake Trailhead parking lot.
Since it’s a loop trail, you can choose to tackle it clockwise or counterclockwise. However, most hikers choose to do it counterclockwise since this offers a more gradual climb and better views of Black Peak.
As you begin the 6.6-mile loop, you’ll immediately start a gradual ascent. You’ll eventually reach a spur trail that will take you to Lake Ann. This trail is short and flat with spectacular views, so it’s definitely worth the extra mileage if you decide to take it.
From that point, you’ll continue the climb up to Heather Pass, which offers a nice view of Lake Ann. As you go along the trail, you’ll take in stunning views of the North Cascades and the surrounding fall foliage.
Once you reach Maple Pass, be sure to take some time soaking in the amazing views of the towering old-growth forests and sparkling alpine lake. When you’re done, simply continue on the trail to begin your descent back to the parking area.
48. Greenbrier River Trail, West Virginia
The Greenbrier River Trail is a former railroad that’s now used as a hiking, biking, and horseback riding trail. It runs alongside the Greenbrier River from Cass Scenic Railroad State Park to the town of Caldwell.
Not only is it one of 50 Millennium Legacy Trails in the country, but Backpacker Magazine also rated it one of the top 10 hiking trails in the United States.
Although the trail is 78 miles in length (so you won’t be able to do the entire thing in one day) you’ll find plenty of places where you can complete a nice day hike. As you explore the trail, you’ll discover numerous breathtaking views as it goes through several small towns, crosses over 35 bridges, and navigates through 2 tunnels.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to truly unwind and disconnect, you’ll be happy to know that part of the trail is situated within a National Radio Quiet Zone, so cell phones won’t work there.
49. Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin
Don’t let the name fool you — Devil’s Lake State Park contains some of the most scenic beauty in the state. Once you visit, you’ll quickly see why it’s the most popular state park in Wisconsin.
The park has over 29 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that offer plenty of inspiring views of the brilliant fall foliage. The trails vary in distance and difficulty, so you’ll have no problems finding the perfect one.
If you’re looking for a real challenge, check out the Balanced Rock Trail. Although it’s only 0.4 miles, this trail has a difficult, steep climb. However, once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the lake and the Balanced Rock formation.
The Devil’s Doorway Trail is a moderately difficult 0.5-mile trail with stone steps that offers amazing views of the Devil’s Doorway rock formation.
For something easy, the 1.3-mile Tumbled Rocks Trail has great views of the lake and pine forests painted with fall colors.
50. Lake Solitude Trail, Wyoming
As a state that’s home to Devils Tower National Park, most of Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park, it’s kinda hard not to choose a national park as one of the best fall hikes in the state.
That’s why we had to go with Grand Teton National Park to round out our list of the best fall hikes in the U.S.
While you won’t be disappointed with any of the hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park, one of the best for fall colors is Lake Solitude Trail. This popular trail offers astounding views of the alpine lakes, surrounding peaks, and fall foliage.
You can either start the hike at the Jenny Lake Trailhead (20 miles round trip), or shorten it by taking a shuttle boat to Cascade Canyon 14.2 miles round trip). Once you reach Lake Solitude, find a spot to sit back and soak in one of the most amazing views in the park.
From here, you can turn around for an out-and-back day hike. For a longer backpacking hike, the trail does continue over Paintbrush Divide and down to Paintbrush Canyon.
The Best Fall Hikes in the U.S.
No matter where you are in the country this fall, you can take in the splendor of the autumn colors when you check out these best fall hikes in the U.S.
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