Best US Fall Hikes
Of all the four seasons, fall has to be one of the most visually stunning. This is the perfect time to head outdoors. It’s no longer steaming hot, the leaves are changing into the riotous colors of red, orange and gold and the falling leaves clear the view so you can take in twice as much scenery.
The US has some of the most stunning scenery on the planet, particularly in the mountains. Then too are the lakes, rivers, valleys and canyons. There is just so much to see. Hiking is one of the best ways to view the natural beauty of a particular region in a casual non-hurried way. There are too many hikes in the USA to look into, but if we had to choose just 10, we think these ones are definitely worth the trip.
1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s pretty much what’s left of millions of years of the Colorado River etching its way through the rock. There is so much to see here and you’ll have trouble deciding which one. The best time to hike anywhere in the Grand Canyon is in the fall because most of the summer tourists have gone and the weather is a lot milder. You’ll still get plenty of sunshine coming down on your though, so make sure you have your hiking sunglasses with you. Some of the hikes will literally take you days, but there are day hikes available. You don’t need a permit for day hiking, however, if you are hiking for several days, camping is essential and for this you will need a permit. Local tour guides are on hand to help you choose the best fall hike for your group.
2. Maroon Bells, Colorado
Maroon Bells is postcard perfection. This area is just gorgeous for hiking in the fall. The landscape screams Rocky Mountains and the rivers and lakes just set of this scenery to perfection. Scenic trails are available for those wanting a few blissful hours in this pristine part of the world, but there are also other trails for those who intend to see as much of this awe-inspiring area as possible. The fall is particularly stunning with the classic fall colors reflating off the waters giving this already gigantic peak mountain area the feeling that the world simply doesn’t exist beyond the mountains.
3. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
There is so much to see when you go hiking in White Mountain National Forest. The area is packed with rivers, waterfalls, rock formations and lush vegetation. The hiking trails will take you through a cathedral of tree-lined paths, right up to some incredibly stunning lookout points where you will feel like you have reached the top of the world. In the fall, it is doubly stunning thanks to the color changes in this magnificent forest. There are a large number of trails in White Mountain National Forest. Some are in flat areas, while others will take you over valleys and along streams before you trek back up again.
4. Niagara Gorge, Niagara Falls, New York
Situated between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario is Niagara Gorge. Niagara Gorge trails bring you to one of the world’s most popular waterfalls. The trails here are beyond beautiful and there is so much to take in. There are man-made trails and steps going in all manner of directions giving you hiking access to many different areas. In the fall, the experience is more amazing than any other season. This is the wilderness at its wildest and yet, set above the tree line of this majestic place, are tall buildings. Fall is the best time to visit as it’s not so touristy and if you really want the thrill of a lifetime you can hike to the subterranean caverns and experience the waterfall from inside the cliff.
5. Mount Leone, Tennessee
There are about 82 different hiking trails you can choose from when you decide to explore Mount Leone. There are ravines, gullies and so much more to explore. You can also hike to various caves, such as the Alum Cave where you can stop and sit for a while and view the forest beneath. Now imagine this stunning forest view in the fall when the leaves are doing their final flattery dance before the cold of winter sets in. Immerse yourself in a sea of leaves in all the warm, golden colors of fall.
6. Whiteside Mountain, North Carolina
Whiteside Mountain forms part of the Appalachian Mountains and form part of a stunning panorama in North Carolina. When you get to the top of the Asheville Trails, you will be greeted by a sea of gold that seems to go on forever. That is why the fall is the best time to visit. From some of the higher vantage points, all you can see below you are golden fall leaves. There are many trails to choose from so put on your hiking shoes and enjoy the scenery.
7. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
There’s a reason why most hiking expeditions take place in the mountains and Grand Teton National Park tells us that the reason is the sheer magnificence of those stone giants standing majestically in the background giving even more importance to the scenery below them. There are over a dozen fantastic trials to explore here and in the fall, the forest and the sky compete to show off the most vivid colors. The trails range from those that take you to dizzying heights, to some relatively tame ones that only require some comfortable walking shoes. Hike beside lakes that are so pristine and tranquil that you’ll think you’ve found your way to heaven- This stunning hiking destination has something for everyone.
8. June Lake, California
If you would like to test your limits than June Lake in California is the place for you. The serious hiker can explore the Crystal Lake trail for a clear overhead view of the Mammoth Lakes. This trail is not for the faint hearted as some sections of the trail are quite tricky. If stunning fall scenery is what you really want to see while you hike than you need to set out on the Lundy Canyon Trail. Of course, there are many more trails to explore in June Lake, but the fall is the season where nature stars in her own colorful show. With so many lakes, creeks and streams you will not want to leave this stunning place. If you’re taking a break from the hiking, the areas around the lakes are perfect places to put on your hiking sandals and check out the crystal clear waters, and perhaps a few curious fish.
9. Whitaker Point, Arkansas
There is one particular piece of rock in Whitaker Point that possibly has the most selfie traffic of any other hiking area in the world. Hawksbill Crag stands over the forest like a huge beak and people in all situations have had photographs taken there. Including wedding parties. In the fall, the view from any of the hiking trails are like viewing the world from a kaleidoscope. Every time you turn, the colors seem to magically change. The further you go into your hike, you’ll enjoy viewing waterfalls and streams that add to the beauty of Whitaker Point. Some of the best hiking trails here include; North Rim Trail, Goat Trail and the Yellow Rock Trails. You can forget about day trips because there are not enough hours in the day to soak in the beauty of this place.
10. White Pine Lake, Idaho
White Pine Lake resembles a land that has forgotten about time. The fast-paced world we live in simply doesn’t exist here. Some of the highest peaks here often have snow on them even during the summer. But it’s the fall that really brings White Pine Lake to life. You can enjoy a hike in the open areas to soak up the sun or disappear in the majestic canopy of the forest trails. If you want to see this place in all its magnificent glory, stick around until sunset. The sky puts on a show of brilliants reds, purples and blues that are the perfect backdrop to this little piece of heaven on earth.
Hiking in nature’s splendor is fantastic at any time of the year. But the color show she puts on in the fall brings out the best nature has to offer. Summer has abandoned us, making room for fall’s appearance, turning the forest from a lush green to dazzling reds and golds. The beauty of hiking in the fall is your ability to be more comfortable in the lack of summer’s searing heat. So enjoy the cooler weather of fall and explore the best hiking trails the USA has to offer. Don’t forget to take lots of photos so you can look back at your adventures and hope for many more in the future.