Best Places to View the Fall Colors

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Where are the best places to see fall colors? As the weather cools and the calendar move into autumn, Mother Nature dons her finest in a splendid display of vibrant fall colors. Some destinations look their very best at this colorful time of year and are worth a visit just to see the show.

Presented by EbatesFrom the colorful forests of Vermont to the alpine wonders of Aspen, Colorado, here are our favorite places to view the fall colors, as well as suggestions on where to stay along the way. (Travel tip: If you book your fall vacation on Ebates.com, you can get up to 10% cash back on car rentals, hotels, and more. Even better, if you book your travel on a Thursday, you’ll get 10% back on all hotel bookings.)

Best Places to See the Fall Colors

So get ready to hit the road on an autumn journey you won’t forget. Here’s where to see some of the best fall colors in America.

Where to see fall foliage in Vermont
Vermont is synonymous with beautiful fall colors.

Vermont

Vermont is synonymous with beautiful autumn fall colors. Its charming small towns and winding roads are surrounded by maple, beech and birch trees that put on a grand display during peak foliage season, which runs from mid-September through the first two to three weeks in October. While almost anywhere in Vermont offers fall colors, the 11-mile Green Mountain Byway between Waterbury and Stowe is a highlight.

Where to Stay
: Stowe Mountain Lodge, Trapp Family Lodge

Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina & Tennessee

As one of the most popular national parks in the country, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a good bet for seeing rich autumn foliage. Filled with hickories, scarlet oaks, maple and sweetgum trees, there’s a scenic view around every corner. The colors start here in early October and run through November. Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans from North Carolina to Tennessee, with more than 800 miles to explore. Stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to combine a little sightseeing and good food with your journey.

Where to Stay: River Terrace Resort, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

Fall foliage toursColumbia River Gorge, Oregon

The colors in the Columbia River Gorge have a different look. Twisted pines stand alongside big-leaf maples and Oregon ash to create a look that’s truly unique. The 80-mile gorge in the Cascade Mountains runs between southern Washington and northern Oregon. Along with gorgeous scenery, the area offers plenty of other adventure, from hiking to rafting. The fall foliage season runs from mid-September to mid-October.

Where to Stay: Sandy Salmon Bed & Breakfast Lodge, Whispering Woods Resort

The aspen in Colorado's high country begin to change in early September. Photo by Janna Graber
The aspen in Colorado’s high country begin to change in early September. Photo by Janna Graber

Aspen, Colorado

In a town named after a tree, you can bet that the fall colors in this part of Colorado are amazing. As aspen trees turn, they range from gold to rich reds, and one forest can be a multi-colored spectacle which changes daily. Aspen start to change in early September and depending on the weather, can extend through mid-October. Hike to the Maroon Bells for one of Colorado’s iconic images – a mountain lake encircled by tall peaks that are covered in autumn majesty. The small town of Aspen is also an iconic Colorado experience. You’ll find celebrities out enjoying the mountain air with everyone else.

Where to Stay: The Gant – Aspen, Molly Gibson Lodge

Adirondacks, New York

Red maple, sugar maple, yellow birch and quaking aspen are just a few of the hardwoods that cover the Adirondack Mountains in New York. The region has one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country, so you can take your time watching the autumn colors travel from peak to valley. The season here starts with the turning of the red maples toward the end of August and runs through mid-October.  Enjoy the forest up close by hiking the famed Adirondack High Peaks or picnic alongside one of the area’s pristine lakes.

Where to Stay: Garnet Hill Lodge, Ruah Bed & Breakfast

Bar Harbor, Maine

We love this little coastal village for its seafaring ways. It’s home to a thriving lobster industry, as well as several Maine Windjammers, which offer sailing cruises on historic tall ships. But Bar Harbor is also a good base to see the vibrant fall colors of Maine. Spend the day exploring the Acadia Byway, where you’ll see photo worthy views of Maine’s wild coastline, as well as rich fall colors in Acadia National Park. Go hiking on Mount Desert Island or hike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. The leaves start to change in September, but peak season is usually mid-October.

Where to Stay: The Inn on Mount Desert, Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor – Acadia Natl Park

Editor’s Note: This post developed in partnership with Ebates.com