Road Trips

Fall Foliage Road Trips

I once dreaded the end of summer freedoms and the ever-shortening days. But now I eagerly await the crisp weather and dazzling changes during fall foliage season. While leaf peeping is best done on foot -- the better to engage all of your senses -- you have to get there somehow, so here are some suggestions for fabulous fall foliage road trips throughout the US.

 

Check out Travel's Best Fall Foliage Road Trips. 

Northeast Region

In the Northeast, New England reigns supreme for fall-foliage viewing. Such states as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York all offer picturesque, bucolic settings to watch this colorful phase of photosynthesis. Autumn leaves in many other states are equally brilliant but New England is blessed with rolling, forested terrain and quaint towns -- both of which accentuate the leaf-peeping experience.

Top road trips in Maine include Route 17 from the coastal city of Rockland to the state capital of Augusta, and routes around Sebago Lake, northwest of Portland, and Baxter State Park, in north-central Maine.

In Vermont, try an 88-mile loop in the center of the state along Routes 100, 107, 12 and 106 through Gaysville, Barnard, Woodstock, Ludlow and Killington.

New York’s Hudson River Valley has been drawing leaf peepers since the advent of the United States. On the best days, you can see 5 states from the elevated panoramic view at the famous Point Lookout Inn on the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

Connecticut is laced with old timey country roads, including US Route 44 through Natchaug State Forest and State Route 154 through Old Saybrook.

Other northeastern highlights are New Hampshire’s White Mountains, including the town of Jackson; New York's Adirondack and Catskill mountains, and the Finger Lakes region; Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, Lancaster County and Laurel Highlands; and New Jersey’s Whitesbog Village, on Route 530.
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Mid-Atlantic Region

Most people don’t equate North Carolina with premium foliage viewing. But most probably don’t know that Mt. Mitchell, in western North Carolina, is the highest mountain in the eastern US (6,684 feet), and that the surrounding Pisgah National Forest harbors vast expanses of deciduous trees. Other leafy road trip opportunities include a drive through waterfall country on US Route 276, south of Asheville, and anywhere along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches from Virginia to North Carolina.

Other mid-Atlantic highlights include Maryland’s Gambrill and Cunningham Falls state parks, Sideling Hill area on Interstate 68; and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.
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Midwest Region

The Midwest also comes alive with radiant foliage in the fall. The coup de grace of Midwest autumn road trips is the Lake Superior Circle Route, which includes scenic stretches of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada.

The Hocking Hills of southeast Ohio unfurl their colors on the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains.

In Wisconsin, the glacially carved Kettle Moraine State Forest, east of Madison, offers prime viewing -- and hiking along the Ice Age Trail -- in early fall.

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