12 Best U.S. Road Trips to See Fall Foliage

Autumn in the United States is a magical time of year

when the landscape transforms into a riot of colors.

The crisp air, golden leaves, and the gentle rustling

of trees make it the perfect season for a road trip.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of fall foliage,

here are 12 of the best U.S. road trips that will take

you through nature’s most vibrant masterpiece.

New England Charm: The Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

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New England is renowned for its spectacular fall foliage,

and the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire is the crown jewel of this region.

This winding 34.5-mile route offers breathtaking views

of the White Mountains, where the trees explode in shades of red,

orange, and gold. The trip is best enjoyed in late September through early October.

Autumn’s Golden Hues: The Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

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The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a mesmerizing journey through the Appalachian Highlands.

This 469-mile road takes you from Virginia to North Carolina, and in the fall,

it becomes a corridor of golden hues. Stop at overlooks, hike the trails,

and be prepared to be dazzled by the scenery.

Late October is the prime time to experience this route.

The Lakeside Marvel: Lake Superior Circle Tour, Michigan and Wisconsin

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The Lake Superior Circle Tour offers a unique blend of fall colors and stunning lakeside views.

This 1,300-mile loop around Lake Superior takes you through Michigan and Wisconsin.

The foliage is at its peak in early October,

and you’ll have opportunities for hiking, camping, and witnessing the Northern Lights.

Southern Delight: Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi to Tennessee

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If you prefer a slower-paced road trip, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a fantastic choice.

This historic route, stretching from Mississippi to Tennessee,

is adorned with vibrant foliage in late October.

Visit the iconic Windsor Ruins and enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the South.

Enchanting Serenity: The Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana

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The Great River Road follows the Mississippi River,

offering a journey through the heart of America.

Starting in Minnesota and ending in Louisiana, this 3,000-mile road trip is best taken in October.

You’ll witness a symphony of colors

as you drive past quaint river towns and historic landmarks.

Appalachian Majesty: Vermont Route 100, Vermont

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Vermont Route 100 is a local favorite for fall foliage enthusiasts.

This charming route showcases Vermont’s finest autumn colors.

Explore quaint villages, sip apple cider, and bask in the glorious scenery.

The best time to visit is in mid-October when the leaves are at their peak.

The Pacific Northwest Gem: Columbia River Highway, Oregon

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While the Pacific Northwest is not as famous for its fall foliage as the East Coast,

the Columbia River Highway in Oregon surprises with its autumn beauty.

Travel through the Columbia River Gorge in late October

and enjoy the contrast of fiery foliage against dramatic waterfalls.

Rustic Beauty: The Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway, Arkansas

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The Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway in Arkansas offers

a taste of rustic charm and stunning fall foliage.

This 35-mile route takes you through the Ozark National Forest,

where the colors of fall are on full display from mid to late October.

The Enchanted Circle: New Mexico State Road 38, New Mexico

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For a southwestern twist on fall foliage, head to New Mexico State Road 38.

This 84-mile loop showcases the vibrant hues

of aspens against the backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Visit in mid-October to catch nature’s display of color.

Coastal Splendor: Highway 1, California

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While California is known for its beaches, the coastal beauty takes on a new dimension in the fall.

Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast offers stunning views of cliffs,

the ocean, and unique foliage. Early November is the ideal time for this road trip.

The Wild West: Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, South Dakota

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Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway in South Dakota is a hidden gem for fall foliage seekers.

The vibrant colors of aspens and birches make this a must-visit in late September to early October.

Stop by Bridal Veil Falls and experience the serene beauty of the Black Hills.

Majestic Mountains: Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

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Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is a masterpiece of natural beauty.

As you traverse Glacier National Park,

you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas and colorful meadows.

Late September to early October is the time to go to witness the glory of fall in the Rockies.


Fall foliage road trips are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the beauty of autumn.

Whether you choose the classic New England charm

or venture into the wilds of Montana, each route offers a unique experience.

So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let nature’s grandeur unfold before your eyes.

FAQs About Fall Foliage Road Trips

Q1: When is the best time to plan a fall foliage road trip?

A1: The timing varies depending on the location,

but generally, late September to early October is prime time

for fall foliage road trips in the United States.

Q2: Are there any road trips suitable for families with young children?

A2: Yes, routes like the Natchez Trace Parkway

and New Mexico State Road 38 offer family-friendly experiences with scenic beauty.

Q3: What should I pack for a fall foliage road trip?

A3: Be sure to pack warm clothing, comfortable shoes for hiking,

a camera, and a good map or GPS device.

Q4: Are there any specific routes for avid photographers?

A4: Absolutely! The Great River Road and

Going-to-the-Sun Road are both excellent choices for photographers

looking to capture stunning fall landscapes.

Q5: Are these road trips pet-friendly?

A5: Many of these routes are pet-friendly,

but it’s advisable to check the specific regulations and accommodations

at each destination before bringing your pets.

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