The 13 Best Destinations to See Fall Colors

The arrival of cooler temperatures and beautiful changing leaves make fall a popular season throughout the United States. It’s also a great time to travel.

This year, why not take a fall vacation to see the beautiful fall colors? Here are 13 destinations you can consider.

Fall Foliage in the Western United States


As the home to Rocky Mountain National Park, dozens of national forests, and an abundance of quaint mountain towns, Colorado offers an abundance of fall colors each year. Popular destinations include Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail, and the scenic Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Flying from South Bend to Denver gives you a great starting point for accessing the beautiful views found throughout the mountains of Colorado.

North Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful destination any time of year, but the plentiful aspen trees in the area put on a beautiful show in the fall months. Visitors enjoy colors of orange, yellow, and red while traveling the scenic highway that surrounds this large freshwater lake situated between California and Nevada.

Jackson, Wyoming

This western Wyoming mountain town is home to Grand Teton National Park. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, forests, and lakes amid snow-capped mountains. Everyone in the area enjoys vibrant shades of red and yellow belonging to the area’s aspen, willow, and cottonwood trees.

Taos, New Mexico

This popular southwest destination is home to one of the most scenic drives in the United States, The Enchanted Circle. You will love the amazing views of the colorful aspen trees along this 83-mile stretch along the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Columbia River Gorge

The Pacific Northwest is the perfect destination to enjoy any time of year, and especially fall. The Columbia River Gorge is a gorgeous area between Washington and Oregon that boasts a collection of fir, cottonwood, maple, ash, and pine trees. In addition to driving the scenic route through the area, you can also opt for hiking, river cruising, or horseback riding while enjoying the views!

Fall Foliage in the Midwestern United States

Minnesota’s North Shore

The North Shore of Minnesota is situated along Lake Superior, traveled by a 150-mile stretch of beautiful, winding road offering a rainbow of fall colors along the way. This unforgettable scenic drive begins in Duluth and travels north to Grand Marais and Grand Portage. You will also find plenty of sights, restaurants, and other attractions along the way.

The Black Hills of South Dakota

Western South Dakota is home to the Black Hills, a beautiful area of rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grasslands, deep lakes, and unique caves. Visitors enjoy the area throughout the year, as it is also home to Mount Rushmore. Custer State Park is home to elk, deer, and 1,500 grazing bison. During the fall season, you will enjoy the dazzling display of changing leaves amid the rocks and mountains.

Fall Foliage in the Northeastern United States

Upstate New York

Visitors of Upstate New York flock to the Adirondack Mountains each fall to take in their stunning colorful views. You will find a variety of red, orange, and yellow leaves spread across over 5,000 square miles of mountains and lakes. Because it is such a large area, the peak color times can vary between September and October based on elevation.

Acadia National Park

This 47,000-acre national park is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. Views in Acadia National Park include woods, rocky beaches, and rock formations. Fall foliage is best viewed from the scenic Park Loop Road by car, or from atop Gorham Mountain if you are up for a hike. Bar Harbor is nearby for all of your lodging and dining needs.

Stowe, Vermont

Perhaps one of the best places in the United States to view fall colors is Stowe, Vermont. Home to the Green Mountains with the Green Mountain Byway passing right through town, Stowe offers many foliage viewing options. Visitors enjoy river and lake tours, carriage and wagon rides, gondola rides, and more. Route 100 is a popular scenic drive, and there are several beautiful hiking trails in the area. If you are up for it, hiking to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain, offers unmatched views. 

Fall Foliage in the Southern United States

Ozark National Forest

The Ozarks are a popular mountain region located in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Known for its beautiful forest of trees accompanied by a collection of serene lakes, fall is the ideal time to visit this area. For the best fall foliage views, you don’t want to miss a 54-mile stretch of road called Talimena Scenic Drive.

Shenandoah National Park

Virginia is home to Shenandoah National Park, which is well-known for its scenic 105-mile Skyline Drive. The fall season fills the region with colors of red, orange, yellow, and green. If you are up for more driving, the park’s eastern border runs into the Blue Ridge Parkway, which then travels through the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and into Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway, which begins in Virginia and ends in Tennessee. The entire stretch of scenic byway covers 469 beautiful miles, but choosing to explore a smaller section of it will offer plenty of fall foliage adventures. Types of trees that provide an abundance of fall color include dogwood, sassafras, and maple.

We Can Help You Get There

Wherever you choose as your destination to see fall colors this year, South Bend International Airport can get you there. With nonstop flights to 12 destinations and convenient connections worldwide, that beautiful fall foliage is easy to get to.

Learn more about flying with South Bend International Airport and book your fall travel today!

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