Are you looking to embark on a beautiful fall hike this autumn?
From the brilliant scenery to the cool breezy weather, autumn is the ideal time of year for a trek through the wilderness. The beautiful sweep of sparkling yellows, vibrant oranges, bright reds, and deep browns will surely take your breath away. Here are a few of the most beautiful autumn hikes to try across North America.
1. Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
The Pocono Mountains, or Poconos, in northeastern Pennsylvania are packed with shimmering waterfalls, rivers, and lakes. There are dozens of beautiful parks and trails to take a hike in. Here are some marvelous trails to view the beautiful autumn leaves!
If you would like to check out a waterfall while taking your fall hike, Bushkill Falls and Shohola Falls are some of the best.
2. Prince Edward Island, Canada
Take a trip to Prince Edward Island between mid-September and late-October to see autumn leaves at their brilliant best. From the blazing reds of cherry, sumac, and red maple to the dazzling yellows of poplar and birch contrasting with the glistening evergreens, the gorgeous foliage of Prince Edward Island is worth the visit alone.
The trails are incredible. The diversity of terrain — from woodlands and grassy plains to rivers and beaches — will keep you busy for days. The full island hike, which is around 270 miles in length, will let you experience the full beauty of Prince Edward Island (although it will take more than a week to complete.) Also, there are also dozens of lighthouses worth checking out!
3. Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
Located in western Vermont, the Green Mountain National Forest is the perfect location to see vibrant foliage this autumn. This national forest has hundreds of trails to choose from: some are relatively easy and ideal for beginners, while others — meant for full-length day hikes or backpacking trips — are better suited to more expert-level hikers. Check out some of the best hikes here.
4. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire is the right choice if you’re looking for a challenging New England hike. Although similar to the nearby Green Mountains in Vermont, the White Mountains are actually a lot steeper and more rugged. A trip to these mountains features day hikes, backpacking trips, and even mountain resorts!
Hit the trails beginning in September through mid-October to witness the peak vibrancy of autumn. The tallest mountains in this national forest reach an elevation of more than 6,000 feet — so look forward to stunning panoramic views.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, established in 1934, boasts the largest number of visitors of any national park in the entire country–with more than 11 million each year. The Great Smokies are a subrange of the Appalachians, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and have the largest spruce-fir forest and the largest population of black bears in the eastern United States.
Clearly, the Great Smokies are worth the visit. The trails and treks are beautiful, of course, and incredibly diverse. The Clingmans Dome Hike, the pinnacle of the mountain range, is one of the tallest peaks in the eastern United States.
6. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
This stunning national park may not be known for its fall foliage due to its large number of evergreens, but the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful nonetheless. There are still brilliant colors to enjoy, though — the vine maples are radiant in the early autumn and the fields of huckleberries glisten in crimson.
Don’t attempt to hike the volcano itself — its majestic peak reaches 14,410 feet above sea level, way too dangerous for the average hiker (it has killed more than 400 unsuspecting hikers since 1897.) There are plenty of superb treks where you can view the striking Mount Rainier from afar. Check out the trails options here–you can choose your level of difficulty.
7. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite is a gorgeous national park visited by more than four million travelers every year. The park is enormous — more than 800 miles of trails run through the 748,436 acres of land, 95% of which is classified wilderness.
Half Dome, which you can reach via the Mist Trail, is probably the most iconic destination in the park, with beautiful waterfalls galore. However, the hike is considered dangerous and a permit is required to complete the Half Dome trek. If you’re looking for something short and relatively safe, the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point Loop is recommended as a great autumn trek.
8. Acadia National Park, Maine
See gorgeous views of the ocean and forest as you hike through Acadia National Park in Maine. The Ocean Path and Gorham Mountain Loop Trail, in particular, has breathtaking scenery. Autumn is the best time to visit Acadia National Park: the weather is cool, the crowds of hikers have eased, and the vibrant foliage is a wondrous sight to behold.
9. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia
Located on the Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, this gorgeous Canadian national park has 26 marked trails to choose from. Stunning views of mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and the coastline greet hikers no matter which trek you choose.
The beautiful fall colors are on full display in early to mid-October. If you’re looking for an easier and relatively short hike, try the Le Buttereau, Benjie’s Lake, or Green Cove. There is also the beautiful Skyline Trail–a five-mile trail with a sublime coastal view. Check out the full list of hikes here.
10. Adirondack Mountains, New York
And finally, the Adirondack Mountains in New York also offer gorgeous autumn panoramic views. From the breathtaking Mount Arab to the wondrous Hanging Spear Falls, the Adirondacks have plenty of beautiful nature for fall hikers to enjoy. Visit the Adirondacks website to see how you can make your experience worthwhile.