Those changing leaves and that crisp, cooler air make autumn a top time for outdoor adventure. If you want to enjoy the colors of fall along with some fun activities, consider an escape to one of these ideal destinations.
Taos, New Mexico (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Taos truly exemplifies the state’s nickname, “The Land of Enchantment,” and autumn is one of the best times of the year to experience its beauty. To get out there and experience it, you can hit one or more of the miles and miles of hiking trails, like the Columbine Trail, which features an aspen grove that makes a perfect spot for a picnic along the way, and will eventually lead all the way to Lobo Peak, Gold Hill and the Taos Ski Valley. While gazing at the brilliant colors, be sure and keep an eye out for eagles, black bear and elk.
Custer State Park, South Dakota (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Custer State Park, located in the picturesque Black Hills of western South Dakota, is comprised of 71,000 acres of gorgeous terrain including unique rock formations, countless glistening lakes, dense forest, serene meadows, and an abundance of wildlife. The park hosts one of the world’s largest publicly-owned bison herds, with some 1,300 of the animals, and every fall, typically the last Friday in September, the dust flies and the ground starts to rumble, as park staff, cowboys and cowgirls hop in the saddle to bring in the thundering herd. The Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival is held around the same weekend on the grounds of the State Game Lodge, so you can enjoy plenty of food, entertainment, and art too.
Fogo Island, Newfoundland (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Fogo Island is a place that feels as if it’s at the edge of the world, accessible by ferry off the north-east coast of Newfoundland. Rocky and windswept, the best berry picking on Earth can be had in the early fall, though late autumn is often stormy and emotional. Early to mid-autumn is ideal for hiking the island’s trails, just be sure to dress in layers, and put on a pair of sturdy hiking boots. Cycling, fishing and kayaking may be possible too, depending on the weather. If you arrive the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving, over October 6th, 7th and 8th in 2017, you can attend the Partridgeberry Harvest Festival and meet up with the musicians, artisans, chefs, fishermen boat builders and the innkeepers that are working hard to preserve the island’s cultural traditions. You can also pick up handmade crafts, and enjoy lots of partridgeberry foods, like jelly and partridgeberry jam tarts.
Zion National Park, Utah (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Forget about crowds and the chaos of modern life and discover the hidden beauty of Zion National Park’s incomparable canyons, when daytime temperatures are typically in the 60s and 70s and the trees are ablaze with vibrant yellows against a backdrop of fiery red rock. The park offers some of the most stunning vistas and hiking opportunities in the southwest, with breathtaking rock formations, soaring cliffs, magnificent waterfalls, valleys and deserts all just waiting to be explored.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts are renowned for displaying some of the state’s most magnificent fall foliage. With its winding roads lined with reds, golds and sometimes deep scarlet hues, along with farms, lakes, meadows and an impressive backdrop of mountain summits. Whitewater rafting, hiking and mountain biking, fishing, and even aerial parks are just some of the many possible adventures that await for enjoying the incredibly scenic views and nature, as well as some fantastic thrills.
Colorado Rockies (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Colorado is famous for its stunning display of Aspens that blanket mountains across the state with remarkable hues of golden bronze and dazzling yellow, and there are few better places to experience its showcase of color, along with outdoor adventure, than in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. Fly fish the Taylor River in the Gunnison National Forest among the brilliant colors – late September is a fabulous time with few crowds and an abundance of Kokanee salmon. Hiking, mountain biking, four-wheeling and wildlife watching are just a few of the other possible activities.
Yellowstone National Park, Montana/Wyoming (Hotel Prices & Photos)
If you want awe-inspiring autumn scenery and lots of wildlife, Yellowstone is hard to beat. The “closest thing to a safari experience in the lower 48,” this park is home to 67 species of mammals, like moose, bears, wolves, bison, elk, and lots more. In September, the elk often have begun rutting and can be seen around Mammoth Hot Springs. Bears and other animals become more visible as fall goes on. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy hiking on the more than 1,000 miles of trails. The Yellowstone National Park Lodges often feature a number of excellent fall packages for those who want to stay in the park that including lodging, food and tours.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Grand Canyon National Park is gorgeous in autumn, with the turning aspen and pleasantly cooler days. You can descend into the canyon on foot or by mule, or simply walk the Rim Trail for spectacular views of the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. If you want to explore on two wheels, bicycle along the canyon rim via the Greenway Trail through tranquil forests. Late fall is a special time to visit, with the tourist crowds and the skies often cloud-free and a brilliant blue, while the trails are lightly trod and the canyon lies in peace. Though the deciduous trees at the rim have lost their leaves, the cottonwoods further down at Indian Garden will be covered with golden hues.
Bend, Oregon (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Bend is considered the ultimate adventure travel destination. Located in Central Oregon just east of the Cascades, the high desert climate is ideal, and you can be immersed in the mountain scenery, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, rafting or what have you, among gorgeous autumn foliage, in minutes. You’re sure to work up a big appetite, so fuel up by enjoying the town’s outstanding food and drink scene – Bend was named among America’s best beer cities, with its numerous award-winning breweries. You’ll find wide range of inventive and diverse cuisine that combines the region’s trademark adventurousness with down-home mentality, which means there’s no need to limit yourself to burgers and microbrews, unless you really want to.