As we kick off the new season, our fall routines are returning in full force. Whether that means enjoying warm spiced drinks, attending local festivals, or decorating for the upcoming holiday season, there is one activity that can be enjoyed by all: taking in the stunning fall foliage! The classic hues of burning oranges, deep reds, and pale yellows are a welcome addition to communities across the country.
Oftentimes the images associated with fall are filled with sweeping forests and small-town shops featuring seasonal trinkets twinkling in the windows, but the views of this season can truly be enjoyed in any environment – even your own backyard! The United States has an incredibly diverse range of landscapes and neighborhoods, and the change of seasons is uniquely beautiful in each one. Taking in these sights can offer a relaxing relief from a hectic work schedule, or simply provide an opportunity to connect with family and friends surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Whether you’re looking to stay local or are willing to travel to take in the sights, here are some of the best places to take in the naturally dazzling displays of fall foliage in each region of the country:
- Acadia National Park, Maine: This national treasure contains the highest peak on the East Coast, with an overlook sitting at 1,529 feet above sea level.1 If hiking 7 miles to this clifftop is not your ideal adventure, there are plenty of other ways to see the dense canopy of colorful trees lining the park’s mountains. You could enjoy a relaxing horse-drawn carriage ride, take a dip in the Jordan Pond, or hop on a boat ride out onto the Atlantic to see the coastline in its full glory from the sea.1
- Stowe, Vermont: The state of Vermont is 80% forested, so there is no shortage of trees churning over a mixture of orange, red, and yellow leaves.2 The fall is a perfect time to explore this beautiful northeastern state offering a true spectacle of fall foliage. In northern Vermont, the town of Stowe is set against a sprawling kaleidoscope of rolling hills making it a charming destination to visit during autumn months. The area offers local breweries and shops, but if you feel like climbing for the best views, you can check out Mount Mansfield peak just a short journey away from the village.2
- Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina: The vibrancy of this stretch of mountain ranges peaks during the fall season. To cover the most ground within this scenery, take a drive somewhere along the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway weaving between two national parks in North Carolina and Virginia respectively.3 And for an added bonus, the sunsets in the evenings cast an extra-special golden tint over the stunning landscapes here during the autumn months.
- Chattanooga, Tennessee: If you’re looking for picture-perfect fall foliage – look no further than Chattanooga! Seated in southeastern Tennessee, Chattanooga offers a plethora of scenic views and quintessential autumn color displays. Specifically given the nickname “The Scenic City,” it is no surprise that this town is bursting with miles of colorful forests.2 In addition to hikes along high-altitude paths, including the Rainbow Lake Trail, you can also take in the views from a riverboat cruise running through the Tennessee River or from the top of an incline railway on Lookout Mountain.2 So, whether you’re looking for an easy neighborhood stroll, a challenging hike through the trees, or a calm boat ride, you can explore all the different shades of the season in Chattanooga.
- Upper Peninsula, Michigan: This region of Michigan is composed of over 4 million acres of forest and is home to more than 20 state parks.3 With families of incredibly varied foliage including birch, sycamore, oak, and maple trees, all of your senses will be peaked during a visit here. A particularly attractive spot within these sprawling reserves is the massive waterfall in Tahquamenon Falls State Park.3 Here, visitors can watch the array of fiery leaves spread over the river and drift downstream to a section of smaller waterfalls and pools.
- Ozark Mountains, Missouri: High-altitude views of Missouri’s Ozark National Forest show blankets of golden treetops stretching for miles. But the real magic of this space is in exploring the more niche sections of the landscape.3 The intertwining rivers cutting through canyons and blunt ridges provide the perfect backdrop for broad views of changing colors.3 Exploring the wide array of trails throughout the forest allows you to immerse yourself in this visual fall masterpiece.
- Cheyenne, Wyoming: The prairie grasslands of Cheyenne offer a distinct palette of seasonal colors from September through November.2 With a flat landscape and vibrant flora, this region provides a calm setting fit for people of all ages to enjoy the cooler weather. Furthermore, the quaint town of Cheyenne has a few attractions of its own to make the visit well worth it, including the Frontier Days Old West Museum and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.2
- Breckenridge, Colorado: Nestled nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, Breckenridge overlooks a sea of treetops constantly rotating through seasonal colors.2 Because of the high altitude, sections of the mountaintop tend to have more sparsely scattered collections of trees, allowing for clear sightlines of individual plants cast in vibrant yellow and orange tones. In addition to enjoying these classic sights of the Rocky Mountains along walking trails, visitors can also participate in activities like fishing, mountain biking, or horseback riding. For a less physically demanding viewing option, you can even drive along a picturesque 22-mile stretch of open views called the Boreas Pass.2
- Taos, New Mexico: The apricot-colored clay structures of Taos, New Mexico, blend seamlessly into the dry landscape of the town while still popping out against the deep green and Rocky Mountains surrounding them.3 As autumn creeps in, the changing colors of the Sangre de Cristo mountains provide iconic scenes for months of enjoyment. One of the best ways to enjoy this time of the year is to take a drive along the 83-mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway where you can cut straight through some of the golden rocky ridges defining the space.3
- Sedona, Arizona: Traditionally known for the vast stretches of red rock formations, Sedona becomes a beautiful place to take in the sunset shades of the foliage during the fall months. There are multiple hikes along routes such as the Schnebly Hill Road, Boynton Canyon Trail, and Jordan Road that are lined with trees known to turn striking shades of orange and yellow.4
Whether you decide to take a journey to visit these vantages, or any other spectacular sights around the county, or simply enjoy your favorite local fall foliage destinations this season, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the changing colors. Grab a friend or loved one and take a walk along a nature-rich road to enjoy the shifting hues taking over the foliage. Taking advantage of the beautiful escape nature provides can allow you to relieve stress and improve your physical and mental well-being – after all, self-care is an essential responsibility to prioritize at every age.
Staying Ahead of the Changes
With the start of a new season approaching, it is a nice reminder to plan for the seasons of change in our own lives. For some, this may include changing locations or careers, and for others it means retiring from work altogether. Settling into this new phase can be an incredibly rewarding time, and opting to utilize a reverse mortgage while staying in your home for this period can allow you to maximize your comfort and financial security. Contact our Longbridge team today to learn more about how you can use the power of home to age in place and enjoy the changes each new season of life brings!