Whether you consider fall the Grand Finale to summer or the calm before the storm of winter, few can argue that the season delivers some of the most stunning scenery all across the country.
Obviously, different places deliver peak fall color seasons at different times, including some that are already past peak, even closer to the beginning of October.
But if you’re still looking for places this fall, or even making plans for the future, I thought the list of “5 U.S. Towns Known for Their Fall Foliage” from the folks at TravelTrivia.com would be worth sharing with you. (Be sure to check our “Best State Parks Across the U.S. for RVing in the Fall” and “5 U.S. Destinations to Visit in the Fall.”
As always, I’d love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below, but in the meantime, check out their list below:
5. Williamstown, Massachusetts
It’s fitting to start the list with a location in New England since it’s a destination for so many seeking fall colors. Williamstown, Massachusetts, is one of many beautiful communities in the Berkshires. The Berkshires refers to a highland region in Massachusetts and is a rural getaway for many in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Fall colors in this region is the incredible range of hues. Dark crimsons, bright oranges, and sunny yellows are accentuated against deep greens delivered by evergreen trees and the trees yet to change colors.
If you’re looking for a place to start exploring the mountains and forests near Williamstown, Mount Greylock (especially the Stony Ledge Trail) is a wonderful destination. Alternatively, there a few scenic driving tours in the Berkshires you shouldn’t miss.
When to Go: Late September through October.
4. Hood River, Oregon
Hood River, Oregon, a small town of about 7,000 people, is right in the Columbia River Gorge and just a stone’s throw away from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The Columbia River that cuts through the landscape divides Oregon and Washington and is fed by many amazing waterfalls. With firs, cottonwoods, maple, ash, and pines, all the spectacular fall colors are present in this already breathtaking canyon. There are many ways to explore the fall foliage. Bikers can tackle the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. Hikers can take on the Multnomah Falls Trail to soak in both the fall colors and the stunning waterfall. Kayakers might even want to make their way down the Columbia River.
When to Go: Mid-September to mid-October
3. Aspen, Colorado
With a town named after a tree, it’s got to be a fantastic place to see fall foliage, right? When it’s not ski season, things are a lot more mellow, and it’s the ideal place to see the aspens change. In this area of the Rocky Mountains, there aren’t many other deciduous trees beside the aspens. In addition, the aspen groves that speckle the rugged mountainsides are covered in evergreens. That makes their bright gold color stand out even more among the pines. If you’re lucky, a trip to Aspen may also mean you can hear elk bugling in the evenings. Since late September and early October are when elk enter mating season, their majestic calls can be heard echoing out into the dusk.
The Maroon Bells — the most photographed mountain peaks in the U.S. — are the perfect place in Aspen to see colors in the fall. That’s because when you travel here, a glacial lake reflects these craggy peaks. While the mountains tower above the treeline, the aspen trees below the treeline turn a stunning yellow.
When to Go: The last two weeks of September
2. Taos, New Mexico
Those who seek something genuinely unique in the fall travel to Taos, New Mexico. The big attraction are aspen trees that turn dark orange. The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is a popular 83-mile loop that delivers a spectacular tour of these beautiful trees. (The Enchanted Circle was featured in an RV Lifestyle report about “Boondocking in National Forests.”) As a reminder, the Rocky Mountains do drop down into New Mexico. The mountains are ultimately responsible for the evergreens and of course, the magical aspens in the Taos area. The Enchanted Circle makes its way around Wheeler Peak, a mountain towering at 13,159 feet. So aside from traveling the byway, there is plenty of hiking and exploring to do. Tao also offers a vibrant art and music culture, as well as historical landmarks.
When to Go: Late September to early October
1.. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
When it comes to the best places in the nation to see fall foliage, the Smoky Mountains is tops. Gatlinburg is at the top of the list of Smoky Mountain towns to visit because of its great location at the entrance to Great Smoky National Park. More than 100 native tree types grow in the Smoky Mountains, including sugar maples, hickories, sweetgums, scarlet oaks, and red maples. That means visitors get a spectacular show if their timing is just right. There are many trails in the National Park. Plenty of the trails lead to some stunning waterfalls, as well. I wrote a post about the area several years ago that can be found here, if you’re interested in learning more.
When to Go: Mid-October to early November