Best National Parks to Visit in the Fall –

Must See Parks in Autumn

Many of us will likely start feeling the summertime blues soon as the season winds down and temperatures cool.  However, Fall is just around the corner and with it comes cozy sweater weather, pumpkin spiced lattes, apple cider and of course, the stunning shades of the foliage changing colors.  The lush greens of warmer temperatures will quickly fade into crimson reds, bright orange and golden yellows. It’s the perfect time to visit the national parks below as they come alive in vibrant autumnal colors.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is colloquially referred to as one of the top Fall destinations in the country.  Enjoy the salty coastal air while witnessing the gorgeous colors of autumn.  Spend the day kayaking, bird watching and hiking as the leaves put on their annual show which begins at the higher elevations in late September, peaking during the first few weeks of October.  Be sure to also visit its nearby harbors, charming seaside coves and quaint little towns like Bar Harbor full of restaurants and shops. 

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park’s pristine landscape turns into an endless expanse of yellow aspen over mountainous terrain in the Fall creating postcard views you won’t want to miss. The peak time for the changing colors is usually in late September when the crisp air blows the aspen leaves like glitter in the afternoon sun against skies of cerulean blue.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains come alive with color in the Fall as sugar maple and scarlet oak turn shades of deep red against the golden backdrop of the hickory trees. The peak foliage season hits between mid-October and early November. Some of the best places to view the spectacular show are Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Foothills Parkway.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Experience a longer than usual leaf-peeping season at Shenandoah National Park which typically encompasses all of September and October into mid-November.  The vibrant colors come to life as warm summer days are followed by cool, crisp nights.  The park is nestled between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains known for its natural beauty, Civil War history and Skyline Drive which winds 105 miles along the crest of its peaks.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

If you are looking for stunning Fall foliage and breathtaking views, set your sights on Grand Teton National Park where aspens, cottonwoods and willows turn burnt orange and golden yellow against a backdrop of snow-covered jagged peaks.  Local climate and rainfall determine when leaves change color but historically, the best time to witness the stunning seasonal change is the third week of September through early October.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Fall is the perfect time of year to visit Glacier National Park as the heat and crowds that plague the park in summer begin to dissipate.  Watch the park come alive in a symphony of colors, first in mid to late September with the transition of the cottonwoods and aspen into golden hues of yellow, followed by the deciduous western larch changing color in mid-October. The colors paint a dramatic landscape against the park’s endless glacier carved valleys and jagged mountain peaks, rivers and streams.