As summer bids farewell and the air turns crisp, nature prepares to paint its landscapes in breathtaking hues of red, gold, and orange. If you’re an admirer of fall foliage and vibrant autumn colors, the US national parks offer an unparalleled spectacle during this season.

Here’s a guide to the top 10 US national parks for fall foliage.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains burst into a riot of color during the fall months. The park’s diverse flora, including maple, oak, and hickory trees, transform into a stunning array of reds, oranges, and yellows.

Drive along the Newfound Gap Road or hike to Clingmans Dome for panoramic vistas of the colorful landscape.

Best Time: Mid October to Early November

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

2. Acadia National Park

Nestled on the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia National Park offers a unique blend of ocean vistas and autumn splendor. The vibrant foliage against the backdrop of rocky shores creates a picturesque scene that photographers and nature enthusiasts alike will appreciate.

Witness the contrast of fiery foliage against the Atlantic coastline as you explore the park’s trails, including the popular Jordan Pond Path or atop Cadillac Mountain.

Best Time: Late September to Early October

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

3. New River Gorge National Park

West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park is another hidden gem for fall foliage. The lush forests along the New River transform into a brilliant tapestry of colors during the autumn months.

Meander along the Canyon Rim Boardwalk for views of the famous bridge or embark on hikes like the Endless Wall Trail to soak in the vibrant fall landscapes.

Best Time: Mid to Late October

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

4. North Cascades National Park

Travel to Washington’s North Cascades National Park to witness a captivating display of fall colors. As the leaves change, the park’s diverse ecosystems come alive with shades of gold and crimson.

Explore the stunning Diablo Lake Trail or drive along the mountainous North Cascades Highway to experience the breathtaking autumn scenery of the Pacific Northwest.

Best Time: Late September to Early October

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

5. Shenandoah National Park

Stretching along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park becomes a canvas of rich colors in the fall.

Drive along the scenic Skyline Drive or tackle the challenging Old Rag Mountain Trail for sweeping views of the colorful panorama.

Best Time: September to Early October

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Nestled in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park boasts a mix of forests, waterfalls, and historic sites. During the fall, its woodlands light up with a stunning display of fall colors.

The Ledges Trail and Brandywine Falls are among the popular spots to witness the beauty of the season. Capture the reflections of colorful leaves in the park’s serene ponds for a truly enchanting experience.

Best Time: Typically the 3rd week of October

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

7. Denali National Park

Venture to Alaska’s Denali National Park for a unique fall foliage experience. In early September, the tundra and low-lying shrubs showcase a vibrant spectrum of colors against the backdrop of Denali’s majestic peaks.

Hop on the Denali Park Road for stunning views or join a tour to explore the park’s stunning autumn landscapes.

Best Time: Late August to Early September

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

8. Zion National Park

While famous for its towering sandstone cliffs, Zion National Park in Utah also reveals a different kind of beauty in the fall. The cottonwood and maple trees along the Virgin River and in the canyon bottoms transform into shades of gold and crimson.

The Riverside Walk and Pa’rus Trail offer some of the best opportunities to enjoy the fall foliage while surrounded by the park’s iconic red rock formations.

Plus, read more about why the Southwest is your ideal destination for fall travel!

Best Time: Late October to Early November

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

9. Rocky Mountain National Park

As the Rocky Mountains in Colorado prepare for winter, they adorn themselves in a cloak of autumn brilliance. In the fall, the park’s aspen trees create a golden tapestry against the towering peaks.

Trail Ridge Road offers an awe-inspiring drive through this colorful wonderland, while hikes like the Bear Lake Loop provide a more intimate encounter with the fall scenery.

Best Time: Late September to Early October

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

10. Yosemite National Park

Another jewel in the crown of fall foliage destinations, Yosemite National Park in California offers a truly awe-inspiring display of autumn colors. As the season unfolds, the park’s iconic granite cliffs are framed by the warm hues of these changing leaves.

Popular spots like the Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point become veritable canvases of color, providing photographers and visitors alike with remarkable vistas that capture the essence of fall’s magic.

Best Time: Mid-October

Best US National Parks for Fall Foliage

From the misty mountains of the Great Smokies to the dramatic landscapes of the American West, these US national parks provide an immersive experience in the magic of fall foliage.

Plan your journey, pack your camera, and set out to witness the spectacle of nature’s own masterpiece – the vibrant and captivating fall foliage in the heart of America’s cherished national parks.

Join Us for Your Autumn Adventure

Ready to fall in love with the National Parks? If our Fall Foliage Guide has convinced you, then join us for an incredible journey through these awe-inspiring lands, where every step is a brushstroke of wonder.

Our experienced guides are eager to share their expertise and lead you on an adventure that promises unforgettable memories and breathtaking vistas!