The Best Place to See the Fall Colors In Every State (Yes, Even Hawaii!)

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Prepare to be mesmerized as we unveil nature's most stunning fall displays across the nation.
Updated Feb. 7, 2024
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As soon as those first cool days settle in, fall fanatics dream of pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, and driving out into the country to catch a glimpse of glorious fall colors.

From the fiery red maples that dot the East Coast to the brilliant yellow Aspens throughout the Rocky Mountains, every region has its spin on leaf-peeping.

So step up your travel game and check out the most popular places in every state where you can marvel at the stunning fall colors.

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Alabama: Little River Canyon National Preserve (Fort Payne)

James Deitsch/Adobe canyon during fall season

Peaking late October to early November, Little River Canyon National Preserve in the Great Smoky Mountains is known for its brilliant range of colors, including the Woolly Sumac's early reds. 

There are over 100 species of native trees in the preserve, making a beautiful display for your enjoyment.

Alaska: Denali National Park (Denali Park)

Stan/Adobe bull moose in denali national park

Because of its high elevation, Alaska’s Denali National Park hits its color-changing season from early to mid-August.

If you’re looking to see fall foliage, visit before September, when the fall season gives way to cold and snow.

Arizona: Flagstaff (Flagstaff)

Christopher/Adobe fall colors in flagstaff arizona

Arizona isn’t a state known for leaf peeping, but the elevations in Flagstaff give way to gorgeous fall colors across their meadows and aspen groves.

If you brave the crowds, you’ll find cool, crisp weather and fall foliage from the end of September through October.

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Arkansas: Ozark National Forest (Russellville)

Glenn/Adobe waterfall in ozark national forest

Arkansas’ Ozark National Forest starts to put on its show in October, typically peaking by late October.

The best way to take in its rich oranges, rusts, and reds is through scenic fall drives throughout the forest. Hop on a motorcycle or grab a convertible for the full experience.

California: Bishop Creek Canyon

SNEHIT PHOTO/Adobe autumn reflection at bishop creek canyon

There’s something magical about seeing vibrant red and yellow leaves reflected in the glass-like water of California’s Bishop Creek.

Perhaps the only thing better is looking down on the area’s lakes, surrounded by a canopy of yellow from the aspen trees.

Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park)

haveseen/Adobe aspen grove in rocky mountains

The iconic golden yellow of the Rocky Mountains’ aspen trees brings visitors in from far and wide.

Watching the delicate, round leaves shake in the wind and listening to their calming sound is an experience everyone should have at least once.


Connecticut: Litchfield Hills (Litchfield)

alpegor/Adobe autumn trees besides lake during day

For the quintessential fall experience, drive through the quaint small towns of Litchfield Hills.

Not only will you enjoy the brilliant fall colors, but you’ll also get to explore New England’s most charming side.

Delaware: Brandywine Creek State Park (Wilmington)

K.A/Adobe folley pond with autumn trees reflection

This sprawling property, built by the du Pont family in the 1800s, has the Hidden Pond Trail, one of the best places to catch fall foliage in Delaware.

Jump on one of their 30-minute wagon rides for an autumnal tour of the grounds.

Florida: Torreya State Park and the Apalachicola National Forest (Tallahassee)

Leodidthis/Adobe afternoon in apalachicola national park

You may think of palm trees when you think of the Sunshine State, but Torreya State Park has maples, sourwood, and sweetgum trees that add color to Florida’s fall landscape.

However, you won’t see colors changing until late October — which is great if you missed them elsewhere.

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Georgia: Blue Ridge Mountains (Blue Ridge)

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe mountainous landscape at linn cove viaduct

The Blue Ridge Mountains run from Georgia to Pennsylvania, so you can follow the foliage as it makes its way south if you plan a road trip.

The leaves peak in late October in Georgia, bringing vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows to the Peach State.

Hawaii: Waimea Canyon (Waimea)

Patrick/Adobe kauai's waimea canyon

While you won’t get traditional fall foliage in Hawaii, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience fall colors.

With brilliant reds and oranges in the Bougainvillea and Hibiscus flowers and lush foliage throughout Waimea Canyon, you’ll get all the magic of autumn but in a tropical setting.

Idaho: Sun Valley (Sun Valley)

Rumorfy Media/Adobe beaver dam in sun valley idaho

In Sun Valley, the colors start popping in the Wood River Valley north before creeping South.

You’ll find everything from aspens to cottonwoods adding color to the Idaho mountains. The foliage season generally lasts two months, giving visitors plenty of time to catch a peek.


Illinois: Starved Rock State Park (Ogelsby)

bjphotographs/Adobe autumn in starved rock state park

Want to see fall colors in Idaho? Head over to Starved Rock State Park and time your visit with the peak foliage, typically sometime in the second or third week of October.

You can take one of the scenic drives or lace up your boots for a colorful hike.

Indiana: Brown County State Park (Nashville)

KengYang/Adobe fall in brown county state park

Thanks to their up-to-the-minute leaf cam, you won’t miss the fall foliage in Brown County State Park.

Keep an eye on the online camera and get in the car as soon as you see the colors hit their vibrant stride.

Iowa: Effigy Mounds National Monument (Harpers Ferry)

Ferrer Photography/Adobe mississippi river and woodlands during autumn

There are a variety of hikes for all ages and abilities to enjoy the brilliant color surrounding Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa.

Try the Little Bear Loop for a more leisurely walk, or advance to the Twin View and Third Scenic View. In addition to foliage, you’ll see 200 ancient mounds.

Kansas: Konza Prairie (Flint Hills Region)

Art/Adobe sunset in flint hills kansas

There’s a unique aspect to the fall colors in Konza Prairie. Here, the fall foliage colors come from the abundant prairie grass that covers the plains landscape.

The rolling hills are covered in tallgrass, which turns rich shades of gold, rust, and red.

Kentucky: Red River Gorge (Slade)

teebee1/Adobe hiker at red river gorge

Colors first start to appear in early September in the Red River Gorge, with fall foliage extending into October as it makes its way through the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Not only will you see vibrant fall colors, but you’ll also take in incredible natural cliff formations.

Louisiana: Kisatchie National Forest (Pineville)

William Dillingham/Adobe backbone trail kisatchie national forest louisiana

You can camp amidst the fall foliage colors in Kisatchie National Forest, which has miles of hiking trails.

You’ll find peak color later in the season here, with colors reaching their most vibrant in November.

Maine: Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor)

Jim Ekstrand/Adobe walking trail in acadia national park

You’ll find cool, crisp fall temperatures and striking fall foliage in this iconic leaf-peeping destination.

You can visit starting in mid-September to see the leaves, with the peek usually hitting around mid-October.

Maryland: Deep Creek Lake (McHenry)

Keith Allen/Adobe deep creek lake in western maryland

Visit the four-season destination of Deep Creek Lake in October to fully enjoy its leaf-peeping show, which boasts red, orange, and yellow colors.

With both the lake and mountains right there, it’s an area full of activities in addition to fall foliage.

Massachusetts: Mohawk Trail (Greenfield)

Mark Lotterhand/Adobe athol massachusetts during autumn

The Mohawk Trail travels across the entire state of Massachusetts, but it reaches its leaf-peeping pinnacle in the Berkshire Mountains.

In Greenfield, you can take leisurely walks along the Connecticut River and stop at Poet’s Seat Tower to take in the scenery.

Michigan: Upper Peninsula and Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Newberry)

Craig Zerbe/Adobe sunrise shining on upper tahquamenon falls

From mid-September through October, the hardwood forests in Tahquamenon Falls Park begin to show their crimson red, golden yellow, and warm orange colors. You can explore on foot, by car, or even by boat.

Minnesota: North Shore of Lake Superior (Duluth)

Daniel Thornberg/Adobe split rock lighthouse on lake superior

Fall colors will start to pop as early as Labor Day on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

The vibrant maples put on their show first, followed by the birch and poplar trees, which start to turn in early October and continue their color through early November.

Mississippi: Tishomingo State Park (Tishomingo)

Feng/Adobe autumn-leaves-at-downtown-oxford

The striking crimson reds of Tishomingo State Park will make their appearance later in the fall foliage season, peaking in early November.

This state park, located in the foothills of the Appalachian, is a stunning place to hike and take in the autumnal colors.

Missouri: Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Van Buren)

Matt/Adobe abandoned forest during autumn season

The fall foliage season is ushered in by Ozark National Scenic Riverways’ Fall Hiking Series.

It takes visitors on eight guided all-day tours designed to immerse hikers in all of the magic of the brilliant fall colors.

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Montana: Glacier National Park (Columbia Falls)

Robert Paulus/Adobe lake mcdonald in glacier national park

The fall colors in Glacier National Park are dramatic, with the foliage change starting on the park's west side in mid-September and moving to the east by the end of September.

Eventually, the brilliant gold of the larch trees emerges, peaking in mid-October.

Nebraska: Indian Cave State Park (Shubert)

LaVerne/Adobe green leaves turning red in autumn

This hardwood forest state park has 22 miles of hiking trails that allow fall foliage fans to get up close with the brilliance of the bright red, golden yellow, and rich orange colors.

There’s even a scenic overlook to get a full view of the park’s color all at once.

Nevada: Lake Tahoe (Apple Hill)

Kevin/Adobe lake tahoe besides mountains

Apple Hill is a charming collection of wineries, farms, and ranches in South Lake Tahoe.

You’ll get the full autumnal experience while peeping all the fall colors through this gorgeous lakeside region.

New Hampshire: White Mountains (Conway)

Winston Tan/Adobe franconia notch state park

New Hampshire’s White Mountains are one of those regions you’ll recognize instantly from social media.

It’s one of the most iconic fall foliage destinations in the United States, with rich orange, crimson red, and deep golden yellow colors.

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New Jersey: Delaware Water Gap (Branchville)

Jorge Moro/Adobe autumn leaves on tree

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area spans several states, and its magnificent fall foliage is a highlight of New Jersey in the fall.

One of the most exciting ways to witness these captivating fall colors is by boat cruising along the Delaware River.

New Mexico: Santa Fe National Forest (Santa Fe)

PTZ Pictures/Adobe northern new mexico mountains during fall

Watching the golden yellow aspen leaves quake in the breeze is a magical fall experience you must witness firsthand.

In Santa Fe National Forest, you can hike, ride horseback, take a scenic drive, or view the sights by hot air balloon.

New York: Catskill Mountains (Roxbury)

Scott Heaney/Adobe sun rising over new york mountains

You’ll experience approachable mountains, winding roads, and forests out of a storybook in the Catskills.

Autumn is when this region shows off, with waves of vibrant orange and crimson red as the backdrop to charming small towns.

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway (Asheville)

Kevin Ruck/Adobe blue ridge parkway near asheville

Asheville is known for one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country, and exploring it from the Blue Ridge Parkway can’t be beaten.

Expect fall colors to debut in late September, perfect for mild days spent hiking through the mountains and seeing the colors up close.

North Dakota: Sheyenne National Grassland (Milnor)

Jorge Moro/Adobe autumn leaves on tree

In North Dakota, you can experience both the stunning red colors of sumac set against the vibrant hardwood forest and the sweeping golden plains.

It’s a unique take on fall foliage that can’t be found anywhere else in the country.

Ohio: Hocking Hills State Park (Logan)

Kenneth Keifer/Adobe southwestern-ohio-autumn-landscape

Ohio Department of Natural Resources makes it easy to follow prime leaf peeping season by posting updates on their website.

You can drive or hike along the Hocking River in Hocking Hills State Park to surround yourself with the fall's rich, vibrant colors.

Oklahoma: Talimena National Scenic Byway (Talihina)

pimmimemom/Adobe ouachita national forest during day time

Peaking the last week of October through the first week of November, the Talimena National Scenic Byway includes 15 vistas where you can take in the expansive views of colorful and stunning fall foliage.

Oregon: Columbia River Gorge (White Salmon)

Zack Frank/Adobe columbia-gorge-national-scenic-area

Fall in Oregon can be spent enjoying wineries and attending festivals, but there’s also the stunning fall foliage.

From waterfalls to the Pacific Crest Trail to the Columbia River, there are incredible hikes to enjoy the autumnal colors.

Pennsylvania: Pocono Mountains (Jim Thorpe)

dchintz/Adobe fall foliage surrounding poconos lake

Experience the colorful leaves of the Pocono Mountains from the charming town of Jim Thorpe.

The cobblestone streets set the stage for a perfect fall weekend with the backdrop of the mountains' stunning bright red and warm orange leaves.

Rhode Island: Blackstone Valley (Blackstone)

thomas/Adobe old slater mill national historic landmark

You can get a big dose of history with your fall foliage in Blackstone Valley.

Home of the Slater Mill and sites including Smith-Appleby House and Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge, Blackstone Valley boasts fiery autumn colors and fascinating American history.

South Carolina: Table Rock State Park (Pickens)

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe table rock state park south carolina

A towering and impressive rocky mountain looks out over Table Rock State Park, where you can find vibrant leaf-peeping throughout the fall season.

The park features cabins for those who want to make a trip out of the fall foliage, but be aware that they book up to 13 months in advance.

South Dakota: Spearfish Canyon (Lead)

Drake Fleege/Adobe spearfish creek in south dakota

Outdoor lovers flock to Spearfish Canyon from September through early October to see its autumnal magnificence.

You’ll find an incredible diversity of color thanks to aspens and birches set against the evergreen spruces and Ponderosa pines.

Add the natural landscape of limestone cliffs and waterfalls, and you have an unforgettable fall experience.

Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gatlinburg)

Sean Board/Adobe great smoky mountains national park

The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee have been increasing in popularity with each passing year, and fall is one of the best times to visit.

Peak foliage will roll over the mountains starting in October, setting the region aflame in vibrant red, orange, and yellow.

Texas: Lost Maples State Natural Area (Vanderpool)

Camille Lamoureux/Adobe maple tree during autumn season

The brilliant colors of bigtooth maples draw visitors to Lost Maples State Natural Area from across the vast state of Texas.

Visit in late October to mid-November to see the peak foliage, but make sure to make a reservation to get into the park.

Utah: Wasatch Mountain State Park (Midway)

SNEHIT PHOTO/Adobe wasatch mountain state park in utah

In Wasatch Mountain State Park in Utah, you’ll experience the total contrast of fall colors.

From the golden yellow aspens to the dark green conifer evergreens to the crimson red oaks, you’ll enjoy the full blaze of fall against the rugged backdrop of the mountains.

Vermont: Green Mountains (Stowe)

Matt/Adobe green mountains in brandon during fall

The Green Mountains are so iconic in Vermont that the state is nicknamed for them, so it’s no surprise they’re also the best place to peep fall colors.

Here, charming New England towns, with their picturesque white steeples, exist in the shadow of the vibrantly colored autumnal mountains.

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Virginia: Shenandoah National Park (Charlottesville)

Cavan/Adobe shenandoah national park fall foliage

Hikes, including Ragged Mountain and Humpback Rocks, and near countless wineries and breweries, make Charlottesville and Shenandoah National Park a favorite of leaf peepers in the mid-Atlantic.

Washington: North Cascades National Park (Sedro-Woolley)

Jara/Adobe maple pass north cascades national park

The stunning lakes and mountains of the Pacific Northwest are arguably as spectacular as any New England fall foliage.

With fiery maples set against majestic mountains and a crisp blue sky, hiking through the North Cascades National Park in late September through mid-October is a breathtaking experience.

West Virginia: New River Gorge (Fayetteville)

Chuck Haney/Danita Delimont/Adobe hawks nest state park in ansted

Wild and wonderful, the Mountain State has fall foliage that brings visitors from throughout the mid-Atlantic looking for an autumnal respite from the city.

Hike up to Grandview Main Overlook for an awe-inspiring view of the burnt oranges, fiery reds, and golden yellows that dot the landscape.

Wisconsin: Door County (Washington Island)

nejdetduzen/Adobe A Wisconsin road in the fall

Enjoy the most stunning fall colors in Wisconsin from late September to mid-October.

Washington Island in Door County is a must-visit, and whether you decide to make it a multi-day camping trip or just a weekend drive, the rich, warm colors are unbeatable.

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park (Jackson Hole)

natureguy/Adobe Fall colors in Wyoming

Catch autumnal color in Grand Teton National Park from the beginning of September through mid-October, with the peak starting in late September.

You’ll catch vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange on cottonwoods, willows, and aspens. Oxbow Bend and Schwabacher’s Landing are both stunning spots to take in the views.

It's places like this that will get you in the spirit of traveling more with any extra time that you may have.

Bottom line

Mediteraneo/Adobe family having fun in autumn park

From the fiery flowers of Hawaii to the eyecatching grasslands of North Dakota, every state has something to offer when it comes to fall colors.

So grab your spiced drink and top travel credit card, hop in the car, and get outside to enjoy the season's beauty. You could potentially enjoy one of the country's most beautiful displays without much cost to you.

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Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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