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The Best U.S. Places to See Fall Foliage

September 17, 2016 By: Samantha Reed


Fall Foliage
Photo by Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau and

With fall just around the corner and September well underway, people across the United States are preparing themselves for the arrival of some expected-to-be-beautiful fall foliage. The season, depending on the region of the country, typically runs from mid-September to mid-November. For those interested in seeing the leaves change color, here are some not-to-miss towns across America offering great views and activities to enjoy this fall.

Burke, Northeast Kingdom Byway – Vermont

Hardwood ridges and low-lying red maple swamps along Vermont Route 114, from Island Pond through Norton Canaan, are beginning to offer a show to those looking for foliage in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom Byway. The 51-mile corridor was formed millions of years ago by the collision of continents, glacial activity and natural erosion to form rolling hills, rising mountains and lakes. In 2006, the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations named the region a Geotourism destination; since then, the Byway has been named the number one Geotourism destination in the U.S. and among the top 10 in the world. The Byway offers travelers 16 different hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and campgrounds as places to stay while seeing the leaves change. The Inn at Mountain View Farm in East Burke is offering guests a “Sweet Indulgence Getaway Package” now through October for mid-week stays, starting at $650 for two nights, based on double occupancy. Included in the package is a country buffet breakfast, a bottle of champagne, fresh strawberries and a half-hour massage for each guest at the Inn’s spa. The town of Burke offers a “Colors of the Kingdom” festival on September 17 and the annual “Burke Fall Foliage Festival” September 24, both located in the heart of the Northeast Kingdom Byway, complete with a parade, BBQ, horse drawn wagon rides, a petting zoo, live music, games and races, a kids area with face painting and a bouncy house, a craft show, silent auction, beer and wine tent and more. 

Visit and for more.

Asheville, The Blue Ridge Mountains – North Carolina

According to biologists and climate scientists, Asheville, North Carolina, and the Blue Ridge Mountains could possibly experience an extended fall leaf season this year, thanks to the region’s mix of wet and dry, warm summer weather. Asheville is just a short ride from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering quick access to scenic fall drives and other national park adventures. Must-see stops and activities in Asheville include visiting Mount Mitchell, the highest peak on the East Coast, taking a hot air balloon ride above the mountains with Asheville Hot Air Balloons and zip lining from peak to peak through the foliage with Navitat Canopy Adventures’ Blue Ridge Experience. The Smoky Mountain Adventure Center offers experienced guides who help travelers chose their own adventure. Visit for more info. For those who can’t get to Asheville to experience the foliage for themselves, weekly up-to-date looks at fall color throughout the region will be available via Facebook Live color reports on

Mono County, Eastern Sierra – California

In California’s Eastern Sierra, particularly Mono County, higher elevations have already began reaching peak foliage season. At Upper Rock Creek, near the mountains' 10,000 foot peak, a suspected 50 to 75 percent of leaves have already turned. Rides from Rock Creek Pack Station are available to take travelers up to the broad area of yellow-toned leaves. Near the peak at Hilton Creek – also a 10,000 foot elevation – red, orange and golden aspen leaves have begun to emerge from the lime and green leaves of the Hilton Creek Trail. The rest of the trail is still just starting to turn, offering smaller patches of colorful leaves. For hikers, the 6.5 mile round-trip Leavitt Meadow Trail to Roosevelt Lake should be in peak bloom within the next 10-14 days. Hikers can visit for more recommendations of fall-inspired hikes. 

For more information on the foliage of Mono County, visit

The Ozark Mountains – Missouri

The Ozark Mountains in Missouri are known for the beautiful foliage of the area’s White and Red Oak, Sycamore, Blackgum, Hickory, Sweetgum, Dogwood and Sugar Maple trees. The diversity of trees complement each other every fall, as some offer oranges and reds while others turn yellow or purple. Situated in a prime viewing area to see the leaves of Ozark Mountains change is Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa, located atop an Ozark Mountain, overlooking Southwest Missouri’s Table Rock Lake. The AAA Four-Diamond resort is offering the Ozark Mountain Fall Foliage Package ideal for those in the area looking to witness the change of seasons. The package includes one night in a recently refurbished King room offering bedside plug-ins, Keurig coffee makers and new Serta Perfect Sleeper bedding. Amenities of the package include two All-American breakfasts delivered to the guestroom, use of the resorts 24/7 indoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, free indoor parking and year-round nature trail. The package, available now through November 10, 2016, starts at $169 per night in a standard king room, based on double occupancy. 

Visit or call 417-334-1161 for more info.

Whitefish – Montana

Located at the foot of Glacier National Park in the Flathead Valley, the mountains surrounding Whitefish, Montana offer a dramatic contrast against the area’s golden aspen and larch, which spend autumn popping from in front of a series of dark evergreens. Whitefish Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake of the west, offers kayaking and canoeing for the best views of Big Mountain and its surrounding forests. On land, Highway 35 along the east side of the lake offer similar views of the changing leaves. To see the foliage from within Glacier National Park, guests often bike the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road. The park also offers 734 miles of hiking trails, often with Glacier Guides available for assistance. For those staying in Whitefish, the Whitefish Farmers Market is open every Tuesday through September, offering local foods and goods. One of the larger events in the area, the annual Great Northwest Oktoberfest, offers drinkers a chance to unwind from a day outdoors from September 29 thru October 1, and then again from October 6 thru 8, 2016. The Whitefish Mountain Resort is offering a September Lodging Special for stays now through September 25, offering 25 percent off lodging and 25 percent on tickets and activities when booked with the lodging reservation. Reservations must be made by calling 800-858-4152. 

Visit for more.

Lake Placid and the Adirondack Mountains – New York

Named the number one place in the U.S. to see the best fall foliage by Travel + Leisure, Lake Placid (and other areas of the Adirondack Mountains) offers tons to do during the fall months and prime foliage times. On October 8 and 9, Lake Placid offers a weekend of “blues, brews and barbecues” during the Flaming Leaves Festival (cleverly named for the area's foliage) at the Olympic Jumping Complex. The festival offers two days of watching North America’s top ski jumpers compete, as well as live blues music, craft vendors, lawn games and scenic chair lift rides to the top of the 120 meter ski jump, displaying views of the Adirondack’s peak fall foliage. For families, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad offers a fall foliage tour from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake, running Wednesdays thru Sundays now through October 16. The handicap-accessible trip provides coaches and open-air cars designed to create optimal views of the foliage, rivers and streams along the railroad. The roundtrip journeys (with one way tickets also available for purchase) offer layovers in Saranac Lake for an hour and 45 minutes or a 4-and-a-half hours so passengers can explore the town and its surrounding natural areas.

For more on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and the foliage in Lake Placid, visit and

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About the Author

Samantha Reed

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By Samantha Reed | September 17, 2016
Fall is almost here, which means that the leaves across the country are beginning to turn. Check out the best places to kick off fall foliage season here.