4 Scenic Fall Foliage Road Trips for Leaf Peepers

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Hit the open roads and see the best of nature’s autumn colors with these top fall foliage road trips in the United States

During the fall months, it may seem as if Mother Nature has brought out her paint box filled with lush shades of red, orange, yellow and gold and transformed the trees into an impressive canvas of autumn colors. If you can get away from the office for a few days, head to one of these parts of the country known for its amazing foliage. The following suggestions are just a sampling of the most scenic and memorable fall foliage road trips you’ll find throughout the United States:

Hudson Valley, New York

If green rolling hills, quaint red barns and leaves in a plethora of fall colors sound ideal, then a road trip to Hudson Valley, New York, is in order. Use Route 82 and Route 44 in Salt Point, New York as your beginning and end points and meander your way down the winding roads, admiring the incredible views. Other popular places to take in the autumn views in the Hudson Valley include the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, from the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston and at Innisfree Garden in Millbrook.

Southwest Colorado

When it comes to fall foliage, Colorado is chock full of road trip options. In the southwestern part of the state, start off in Ridgway and drive west on Colorado 62 over Dallas Divide. Along the way you will see amazing and wide-open views of the Sneffels Range, which has plenty of gorgeous aspens in rich fall colors. Once you get to Placerville, head toward Telluride on Colorado 145. Along the way to Lizard Head Pass you will see more aspens and breathtaking views of Wilson Peak.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

The 80-mile Columbia River Gorge features myriad of maples, Oregon ash, pines, firs, cottonwoods and more. While this is a stunning destination at any time of year, it’s especially popular for those considering fall foliage road trips. Starting in Portland, head east on I-84 and enjoy the views of both the trees and the Columbia River. Along the way, you might wish to stop at Multnomah Falls, a 620-foot cascading waterfall. Once you park in the nearby lot, a five-minute walk puts you up close and personal with the spray from the waterfall, and there are a variety of hikes you can choose from as well.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to more than 100 types of trees, including sweetgums, hickories, maples and scarlet oaks. These trees transform themselves into palettes of gold, red and even purple during the fall months. To access the park on the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, side, take exit 407 from I-40 to TN-66 South. Once you reach the Sevierville intersection, head onto US-441 South, and follow it through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge into the park. Once you are in the park, you can drive as much of the 800 miles of roads as you have time for; just be sure to stop often to get lots of photos of the amazing colors.

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