Best National Parks in Each Region During Fall

As the warm days of summer lead into the cool nights and brisk mornings of fall, there comes a time when that perfect combination of weather makes for spectacular scenery across many parts of the country.

Know what we’re talking about?

Fall leaves.

From late September through late November, you can take a trip to places from Maine to Minnesota and see the highways and byways dotted with brilliantly colored fall leaves in red, yellow, and orange.

But, if you really want to surround yourself with nature’s beauty, head off the highway and into the National Parks. There, you’ll be blown away with how incredible this season is.

Here are some of our favorites.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee and NC) 

Great Smoky Mountains

Covering the rolling hills and peaks of two states, you’ll find plenty of beautiful red and yellow hues exploring the backwoods trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia) 

fall leaves shenandoah national park

Leave the hustle and bustle of Washington DC behind and head out on the Skyline Drive in and around Shenandoah National Park to view the amazing foliage at it’s peak in late October.

Acadia National Park (Maine) 

fall leaves acadia national park

First, lots of people head to Maine’s Acadia National Park in the summer because of it’s miles of incredible shoreline. You’re not going to get more spectacular views there than in the fall.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio) 

Brandywine Falls - Cuyahoga Valley OH

How do pristine farmlands, views of beautiful fall colors for miles, and over 70 waterfalls sound to you? Like heaven? Then you do not want to miss Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Yosemite National Park (California) 

Yosemite in the Fall 12

Also, Yosemite National Park is one of the gems of the entire system and incredible all year round, but you really don’t want to miss the special treat of seeing it at the peak of its fall colors.

Crater Lake National Park (Oregon) 

Crater Lake Fall 2015 Car-Free Day

Already known for the brilliant blue of it’s famous lake, Crater Lake National Park really comes alive for a short window in September when the leaves quickly change.

Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming) 

fall leaves teton national park

Heading to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park in the fall is a special treat, the park is less crowded, full of wildlife, and absolutely glowing with bright yellow and orange leaves on the trees.

Mount Rainier National Park (Washington) 

Fall at Mount Rainier

Also, in Washington State, Mount Rainier National Park gives visitors a bold view of colors from crimson to golden yellow on everything from the leaves of trees to the huckleberry bushes on the ground.

Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

Rocky Mountain Autumn

Additionally, high up in the mountains of Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park provides an incredible view of the surrounding area which are filled with the beautiful yellow of the turning Aspen trees.

Denali National Park (Alaska)


 Finally, you might think that there’s no way fall colors can show up in Alaska’s Denali National Park, but think again. While the fall arrives earlier here, the tundra pops in an array of reds and oranges.

These are our top 10 picks for the best National Parks to see fall foliage. Of course, there are plenty of other national, state, and local parks that will have amazing colors too. Let us know some of your favorite spots for ‘leaf peeping!’


Edited on September 24, 2021. Originally posted on Sep 29, 2016. 

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