"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” - French philosopher, author, and journalist Albert Camus.
Color Wonder, illustrated photo by Gabby Orcutt
For those who live in the four-season area, you might wonder why you would have to travel any further than just stepping outside of your house and see the Fall foliage right at your door step and in the backyard with piles of Fall leaves for the kids to have fun and for you to clean up. Well, not all of us are lucky enough to have that nature beauty as the canvas of our backyards. Plus, travel is relatively less expensive in the Fall season compared to the summer travel season. Being away from your familiar surroundings will relax your mind and open up your eyes to see the autumn beauty in a different angle. To immerse in the phenomenon of fall foliage you don’t have to travel far. A weekend-getaway road trip or a short flight across America, you will find these stunning vibrant colors in the liveliest cities in US with the season to kick of Oktoberfest to add extra fun for all.
It might come to a surprise to you to learn that California is actually one of the top places in US with breathtaking view of fall foliage. You just have to know where to go to find this jaw-dropping awe of this natural canvas of beauty. Autumn is a spectacular season at this Eastern Sierra mountain side. The color change can be seen in the early September and peak time is the first week or second week of October. The Bishop area offers a remarkable contrast of fall color thanks to the dense thickets of birches, willows, cottonwoods and aspens with its varied elevations from around 5,000 feet to 10,000 feet. You will be at awed at the striking color display from majestic cottonwood trees, to fiery red and golden aspens draping the high altitude area. Trees are ablaze in hues of bright yellow, orange, gold and crimson. You can take a hike to enjoy the beauty of nature in warm, sunny California weather. To get to the start of the trails for hiking, if you are coming from Los Angeles, take Highway 14 north to Highway 395 to the town of Big Pine. Turn left onto Big Pine Creek Road/Glacier Lodge Road and follow until the roads end.In 2015, from the 8th spot in the ranking of the top earning richest celebrities.
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres, running from the mouth of the Sandy River to the mouth of the Deschutes River and spanning southern Washington and northern Oregon and is the largest national scenic area in the United States. The major waterfall of Wahkeena Creek may just be the most scenic waterfall along the historic Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. Maple trees line along the cascading creek below the falls, framing the picturesque scene to its perfection. In the fall, maple trees, twisted pines, Oregon ash, cottonwoods and big firs add stunning touches of warm and vibrant colors to draw many visitors and photographers to capture its breath-taking beauty. Peak color season is between the mid of September to the end of October. You can enjoy the eighty mile drive along the Columbia River Gorge scenic route, or hiking, rafting, kayaking down the river.
Aspen is the world-renown ski resort but it is also one of the top family travel destinations all year round. In the fall, the Aspen grove gives spectacular display of stunning vibrant gold or fiery red colors. The town is named after the Aspen tree species Populus. The aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. They are all medium-sized deciduous trees reaching 15–30 m (49–98 ft) tall. Each individual tree can live for 40–150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived. Due to its fast growing rate, Aspen trees are a popular choice in forestry. Aspen trees are not just giving us beautiful fall foliage colors to feed our eyes but also very useful in our daily lives. Do you know the most common use of Aspen trees is making matches and papers? The fall foliage season in Aspen is short. The leaf colors start changing in September. The peak time is beginning of October and by the end of the month most of the leaves are on the ground.
Michigan’s 19 million acres of woods crescendo into vibrant crimsons, oranges and golds explodes her best color display in the fall. Everywhere you go in Michigan, you’ll see an impressive blaze of colors. Of the four seasons, many people feel that fall is the best time to visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you enjoy fall color, no place else comes close. An explosion of vibrant red, orange and gold adds a whole new dimension to all there is to do and see here. Peak fall color season in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan typically occurs the last two weeks of September into the first two weeks of October.
The Lake of the Ozarks is a large reservoir created by impounding the Osage River in the northern part of the Ozarks in central Missouri. With more than 1,150 miles of shoreline, including a main channel that stretches 92 miles, the lake of Ozarks is Missouri’s most popular and largest lake destination. Ozark Mountains forests are comprised of tall hardwood species forming a thick canopy, with shorter understory trees growing beneath. Some 200 different tree species grow in the Ozarks, over 300 in all if counting the hybrids. There are 49 species of oak, 23 species of hickory, 16 of maple, and 12 of basswood. Common Ozark commercial timber species are pine, oaks, gums, elm, hickory, pecan, sycamore, hackberry, ash, beech, maple, cedar, and walnut. All these different types of mature trees have displayed such a breath-taking color stretches along the bends of both sides of the lakes. Peak color time is the last two weeks of October.
The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. The park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountain sides from high elevation to low. Each year the mountains puts on a beautiful show and with all the different elevations in the different mountain areas. Elevation profoundly affects when fall colors change in the park. At higher elevations, where the climate is similar to New England's, color displays start as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry. From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway.
Lake Placid is a village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York. The town was put on the Olympic map when it was chosen to host the Winter Olympics twice, first one in 1932 and 48 years later in 1980. It is a popular place to head to for winter but tourism of this place is all year-round. The fall colors can be spotted as early as late August in Adirondack when the weather is cool off. There are many different species of trees found in Adirondack mountain and the surrounding lakes to give the whole area a splash of all sorts of colors in the fall. Golden aspens, red oaks, red and golden maples, silver birches & beech trees, all showcase a spectacular autumn canvas. The best part is, Adirondack fall foliage can be seen from many scenic spots, which can be reached by cars or mountain trails. Here are a few suggestions for your trip:
- Whiteface Veteran Memorial Highway: this 4,867-foot Whiteface mountain offers a fantastic view of the fall foliage from above with easy access by cars.
- The 2,030-foot Prospect Mountain offers the view of Lake Gregory and Adirondack Mountain.
- Essex Chain of lakes is recently added to the Adirondack Forest Perseveration areas which offers great views of the fall from the eight lakes connecting by channels.
- Adirondak Loj Road: this place offers the best scenic view of the fall foliage from all the mountains around the area. There is a parking stop at Adirondack Mountain Club where High Peaks Information Center located. You can find out on different hiking trails and its levels and go from there.
Lake Placid Brewfest is also around the mid of October annually.
Swallow Falls, MD . Photo by Nicolas Raymond
Oakland - Maryland took one of the top honors as the best town in America for fall foliage display thanks primarily to Swallow Falls State Park. This mountain park is located nine miles north of Oakland, Maryland and contains some of Maryland's most breathtaking scenery. The Youghiogheny River flows along the park's borders, passing through shaded rocky gorges and creating rippling rapids. Muddy Creek Falls is a crashing 53-foot waterfall – a spectacular sight. Tall hemlocks dominate the silent woods. The 1 1/4 mile trail through Swallow Falls guides hikers to some of the most breath-taking scenery in Western Maryland. The scenery is even spectacular during the fall with the oldest stands of eastern hemlock and white pine, more than 360 years old forest, blanket the area in gold, orange, red, and that eternal green. Oakland residents embrace and celebrate nature beauty granted to the area with the annual Autumn Glory Festival with food, parades, concerts, band competitions. It is the glorious start of the holiday season when the whole town is decorated in the bright and warm colors of the fall.
If you want to experience with your own eyes the beauty of the famous New England fall foliage, you must visit the quaint town Stowe in Vermont. With rolling hills covered with sugar maples, the color intensifies starting from mid of September to mid of October with bright orange, gold, fiery red. The whole town is blanket with the breathtaking fall color canvas. It is also the time to celebrate the popular Stowe Oktoberfest hosted at the Trapp Family Lodge, an Austrian-inspired Alpine-style mountain resort owned by the original Von Trapp family (well-known fictionally from “The Sound of Music”).
The White Mountains are a mountain range covering about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of western Maine in the United States. They are part of the northern Appalachian Mountains and the most rugged mountains in New England. This national forest is one of the best places in the world to witness the brilliant crimsons and golds of fall as New England vicinities are known for their spectacular fall foliage. Peak season is the beginning of September till mid of October.