It's unquestionable that fall is the most colorful season of the year. Autumn is particularly spectacular in the northern part of the United States and Canada, with rich tones of red, yellow, and orange sweeping across the landscape.
Here are 15 of our favorite cities to go leaf peeping this fall. These areas also have many B&Bs, making them the perfect place to stay when you go explore fall foliage. If you find time between leaf peeping, be sure to attend a fall festival too!
Time to go: Color starts in mid-October and peaks in late October, but you can still see it through early November.
Fall fact: The Asheville Tourism Office says, “The North Carolina Mountains are unique. Extreme elevation variations and more than 100 species of leaf-shedding trees offer the longest and most colorful foliage season in the nation. From late September into early November, travelers can easily locate sweeping views of fall colors.”
Bar Harbor, ME
Time to go: Peak leaf season is late September through October.
Fall fact: Be sure to drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to get a truly panoramic view of the fall foliage. According to AcadianNationalPark.com, “The changing of the seasons can be observed through the many hiking, biking and horse riding trails on Mount Desert Island.”
Time to go: Colors peak in mid-October, and you can even still see some colorful foliage in mid-November.
Fall fact: You can’t miss a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to explore the gorgeous colors. Additionally, Foliage.org offers the following advice: “A visit to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson and UNESCO world heritage site is located at the very top of a beautiful mountain where gorgeous colors can be seen in the fall. Very close to Monticello, visitors can drive (or hike!) up Carter’s Mountain Orchard and pick apples while admiring the breathtaking views of Charlottesville and Albemarle.”
Time to go: Fall foliage peaks in late September and early October.
Fall fact: The Colorado Tourism Office says that one of the best driving routes is taking Colorado 550 from Ridgeway south through Ouray and Silverton to Durango.
Time to go: In higher elevations in this area, leaves start turning in late September and peak around the second or third week of October. In the area’s middle and lower elevations, the peak is between mid-October and early November.
Fall fact: According to the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, “The kaleidoscope of fall colors in the Smoky Mountains is magnificent and varied because of the amazing diversity of trees. Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies, the vast majority of which are deciduous.”
Time to go: Leaves start turning in late September and peak around the second or third week of October, though it's still beautiful through the end of October.
Fall fact: The Berkshires Tourism Office, which includes Lenox, has a “Leaf Chief” who says, “We…have the great good fortune to observe the annual spectacle in Berkshire County where the coming together of forests dominated by oak in the south and sugar maple to the north gives us maximum variety. We are in a transition area between forest types. We get both.”
Time to go: Fall foliage peaks early- to mid-October.
Fall fact: Wisconsin’s tourism board has created a detailed fall foliage tracker that shows the status of fall colors by each county. It also provides up-to-date pictures of the foliage from each of these areas.
Time to go: Leaves start turning in mid-September, peak in early October, and fade away in early November. Fall fact: According to About.com, some of the best places in Montreal to see fall foliage are Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal Botanical Garden, Morgan Arboretum, Bois de l'Île Bizard park, and Parc Jean-Drapeau's Floralies Gardens.
Time to go: Leaves start turning in mid-October and peak at the end of October, with some color going into November.
Fall fact: The area surrounding the city, Willamette Valley, has more than 170 wineries. The leaves at the vineyards turn beautiful colors during the fall, so be sure to take a drive through the wine country.
North Conway, NH
Time to go: Leaves start turning in mid-September and peak early- to mid-October.
Fall fact: A great way to see the area's fall foliage is to take a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad. Experience an old-fashioned train ride while enjoying the area's stunning colors.
St. Louis, MO
Time to go: Fall foliage peaks in mid- to late-October.
Fall fact: According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, maples, ashes, oaks, and hickories are the trees that display the vivid fall colors there. The progression of color change starts earliest in northern Missouri and moves southward across the state.
Time to go: The best viewing goes from the end of September through the middle of October.
Fall fact: Stowe's tourism board explains which trees produce which colors there: "Leaves of the sugar maple, red maple, red oak, sweet gum, black gum, and sourwood typically turn hues of red. However, they can produce yellow leaves as well. Leaves of birch, elm, poplar, redbud, and hickory always turn hues of gold and yellow. Leaves of the Sumac tree produce a maroon color."
Time to go: The colors peak toward the end of September and early October.
Fall fact: While fall foliage here is lovely, hop in the car and head across the border to southern Colorado to see even more incredible fall colors in the Colorado Rockies.
Traverse City, MI
Time to go: Fall colors are the best from late September through early October.
Fall fact: The Traverse CVB has a great list of beautiful driving routes to take from the city to other nearby areas to view more fall foliage. Two highly recommended areas are Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula.
Time to go: You’ll get the best views from mid-September through the end of October.
Fall fact: Take a short drive and hop aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Relax in the vintage coaches as you ride through incredible fall foliage without the hassle of driving.