Best Places to See Fall Foliage in 2023

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View of a forest during fall

It’s that time of year — time to break out the pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, and marshmallow roasting sticks. For outdoor enthusiasts, fall is one of the best times of the year, with cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and football.

Today, we’ll suggest seven of the best places to see fall foliage in 2023, from Stowe, Vermont, in the northeast to Lake Tahoe, California, on the west coast.

No matter where you live, a forest of trees beckons you to visit in September and October.

Let’s dive in!

When Is the Best Time to See Fall Foliage?

Although the fall season runs from mid-September to mid-December, the prime time to view fall foliage varies from region to region. 

For example, the best time to view the changing colors in New England is the second and third weeks of October. 

But across the country in Colorado, the leaves change to a brilliant yellow in late September. It’s best to search specifically for the peak time to view fall foliage in a particular area.

Is Fall a Good Season for Camping?

Along with the beautiful array of colors, fall is also the perfect time for camping. You no longer have to suffer the hot, humid summer days. 

Instead, fall evenings invite campers to gather by the campfire with blankets and hot chocolate. Daylight hours are usually comfortable, allowing for opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring the outdoors.

7 Best Places to See Fall Foliage in 2023

So, if you’re looking for the perfect fall destination this year, we have some excellent suggestions. Pack up the RV and head out for a relaxing weekend or a week-long vacation. 

Give yourself plenty of time to stop at overlooks and dine at local eateries. Fall is one of our favorite times of the year!

Northeast: Stowe, Vermont

Named one of “The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the United States” by Travel + Leisure, Stowe, Vermont, has its own “foliage finder.” You can stay up-to-date on when and where the colors change.

The peak season starts at the end of September through the first two weeks of October. If you want to visit Stowe this fall, make your reservations early, as this is prime tourist season in Vermont.

View of a road in Stowe, Vermont during fall

Mid-Atlantic: The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Head to Camelback Mountain in Big Pocono State Park, where you can enjoy panoramic views and miles of hiking trails. Lehigh Gorge State Park is another ideal place to view the fall foliage in the Poconos. 

You can book a whitewater rafting trip and attend the Annual Rocktoberfest or the Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival. Like Stowe, Vermont, the Pocono Mountains have their own foliage forecast where you can find up-to-date information.

Southeast: Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway meanders along the Appalachians for almost 470 miles, connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina.

With dozens of overlooks, small towns, and local festivals, this area will keep you entertained for days. You’ll find music concerts, hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and plenty of ideal spots to capture the stunning colors of fall.

Keep in Mind: Are you ready to start planning for fall hikes? You have to add these 10 Fall Hikes in New England to your bucket list!

Fall foliage in Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Midwest: Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

You may know Arkansas for its hot springs, but it’s also home to almost three million acres of national forests. The largest, Ozark National Forest, sits in northern Arkansas and provides fantastic fall colors in late October. 

Even though the weather will be cooler by this time of the year, visitors can still enjoy hiking, biking, camping, and rock climbing. Scenic Highway 7 is one of the best drives to take in all the fall foliage.

Mountain West: Aspen, Colorado

Peak leaf-peeping season is in mid-September in Aspen, Colorado. A unique way to take in the breathtaking scenery is on a gondola ride. The Silver Queen Gondola takes visitors to the top of Aspen Mountain. 

You could also book a paragliding adventure to get a bird’s eye view of the changing colors. The Colorado River also provides a unique perspective as paddlers look up into the fall colors hanging above them.

A mountain range in Aspen, Colorado in the fall

Pacific Northwest: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

If you can hit the trails, one of the best ways to soak in the fall foliage in Columbia River Gorge is via the Cape Horn Trail. Pioneer Point and the Nancy Russell overlooks offer inspiring, sweeping views. 

If you’d like to see waterfalls against an array of reds, oranges, and yellows, check out Latourell Falls Loop or Dry Creek Falls. Visit in late September to mid-October to catch Oregon’s peak season of fall foliage.

West Coast: Lake Tahoe, California

Finally, Lake Tahoe makes our list of best places to see fall foliage. It’s not just a summer water recreation hot spot but also a beautiful autumn location. Hope Valley is one of the best places to view the golden color surrounding the lake. 

It has campgrounds, lodging accommodations, hiking trails, and more activities. You can also head to the other side of Hope Valley to Markleeville, which has plenty of shopping and dining options, hot springs, and small creeks.

Keep in Mind: Looking to visit California on a budget? Here’s How to Find the Best Free Camping in California

Don’t Just View the Fall Colors From Your Car

Even though you can enjoy breathtaking scenic drives that offer epic views of the changing colors, some of the best ways to take in the scenery are by diving into nature. Check out local hikes, biking trails, and kayak launches. 

Imagine paddling down the New River in West Virginia while looking up at the fall foliage inside the gorge. It’s an entirely different perspective!

And don’t forget to check out local festivals. Often, you’ll find You-Pick orchards with apple festivals, communities hosting pumpkin patches, and farms that have transformed into corn mazes. These activities are family-friendly and sometimes even free!

Enjoy the Beauty of Fall All Over the U.S.

No matter where you live, you can find a place with stunning fall foliage nearby. From the West Coast to the Northeast, you can enjoy the fall colors, fun activities, and outdoor recreation. 

Now, you just have to narrow down the choices to where you want to go this fall. Where will your fall adventure take you? Do you have any fall foliage hotspots to add to our list?

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