When the leaves begin to turn and the temperatures begin to fall, America’s hiking trails are ripe for exploring.These seven trails throughout the U.S. feature beautiful fall colors, breathtaking vistas and some lung-busting climbs perfect for working off those pumpkin-spice lattes.
7 Best Fall Hikes for Colorful Foliage
Maple Pass Loop, North Cascades Regional Park, Wash.Moderate, 6.7 miles 1 of 8
Marble Pass Loop (Photo submitted by agd23 on WTA.org)
Getting there: Take Highway 20 past Marblemount to Rainy Pass and turn right into the parking lot. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park. The trailhead (#740 to Lake Ann) is located at the beginning of the parking lot.
Only accessible from July through October, the Maple Pass Trail is at its most magnificent once the leaves begin to turn (and the mosquitos die down). It's best hiked counter-clockwise starting at the Lake Ann Trailhead so you can enjoy a more moderate ascent. Look for huckleberries and bright red, orange and yellow hues from alpine larch that seem to coat the ground when they peak in early to mid-October.
Cascade Mountain Summit, Keene, N.Y.Moderate, 4.8 miles round trip 2 of 8
View of Cascade Mountain Summit (Photo by SummitPost.org)
Getting there: From Lake Placid, take Route 73 toward Keene and look for the trailhead on the right shortly before you reach Cascade Lakes.
If you're lucky enough to spend autumn in the Adirondacks, you can't miss a trip up Cascade Summit. This popular trail offers a moderate hike with only a few steep pitches (expect the last .2 miles to include a lot of rock scrambling), and at the top you'll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the Cascade Lakes region in all its fall splendor.
This summit can be very windy so make sure you bring a windbreaker and layers for the unpredictable fall weather.
Mount Eisenhower Summit, Chandlers Purchase, N.H.Moderate to difficult, 6.7 miles round trip 3 of 8
View of Mt. Eisenhower Summit (Photo by SummitPost.org)
Getting there: Take Route 302 North to Mount Clinton Road and look for the Edmunds Path trailhead on the right side of the road.
The domed summit of Mount Eisenhower in New Hampshire's Presidential Range is the perfect way to see fall foliage from a unique angle. At more than 1,450 meters high, this three-mile hike is no picnic. Be prepared for lots of rocky terrain and a quick elevation gain.
As you hike up Edmunds Path to the Eisenhower Summit trail, you can watch the low alpine vegetation go from brilliant green at the base to vibrant reds and purples. Pack a picnic and enjoy the sights and sounds of fall before you make your way back down.
Maroon Lake Loop Trail, Aspen, Colo.Moderate, 11.3 miles 4 of 8
Maroon Lake Loop (Photo Submitted by Justplanatrip on TripAdvisor.com)
Getting there: From Aspen, drive .5 miles west on Highway 82 and turn left onto Maroon Creek Road. Keep right and continue 9.5 miles to the Maroon Lake parking Area. There is a fee to enter the park area. Be advised that Maroon Creek Road is restricted to vehicles from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so you'll need to take the shuttle from Aspen Highlands Ski Area, which leaves every 20 minutes.
While this gem of a hike is open only through the end of September, it's worth the trip (and the insane crowds). The Maroon Peak Trail offers everything Colorado is known for in one go: Snow-capped mountains, mountain lakes, pine forests and bright yellow and red fall foliage. Give yourself an entire day to explore this 11-mile long trail as it winds around Maroon Lake (there is a shorter, 1.5-mile long trail that heads directly from the parking area, around the loop and back) and along the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
Parker Lake Trail, June Lake, Calif.Easy, 3.6 miles round trip 5 of 8
Parker Lake (Photo by Alicia Vennos on CaliforniaFallColor.com)
Getting there: Take Highway 158 North to Parker Lake Road. Head left on Parker Lake Road and follow it until you reach the junction of Parker Lake Road and Forest Road 1S25. Head south on Forest Road 1S25 for .6 miles and the look for the trailhead on your right.
If you've never headed north of Mammoth to June Lake, then you've been missing out. This picturesque lake and ski town south of Mono Lake is idyllic, and full of trails to explore and crystal-clear water to paddle. The Parker Lake Trail is an easy loop perfect for the whole family. It features great views of several mountain lakes including Grant and Mono Lakes, as well as snowcapped mountains and pine forests. In the fall, the colors of the trees and their upside reflections in the water are beyond words.
Mount Hunger, Waterbury, Vt.Moderate to difficult, 4.4 miles round trip 6 of 8
Mount Hunger (Photo by Mike Bolio on AllTrails.com)
Getting there: Take Sweet Road north 1.4 miles and look for the Waterbury trailhead just north of the junction with Loomis Hill Road.
Just east of Stowe's famous ski resort lies Mount Hunger, which at more than 3,500 feet showcases some of the best views in the green mountain state. At just a little over 2 miles to the top via the Waterbury Trail, this trail is a lung buster to be sure, but the views of rainbow-hued farmland and forested mountains are quintessential New England.
Sandrock Cliffs Trail, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Wis.Easy, 5 miles (with other options for longer or shorter routes) 7 of 8
Sandrock Cliffs (Photo Submitted by Philip Sites on AllTrails.com)
Getting there: Take Route 70 toward Grantsburg and make a left on Soderbeck Road and then another left on Benson Road, which turns sharply right and becomes Tennessee Road. Follow Tennessee Road to the parking lot at Sandrock Cliffs.
Straddling the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, the Sandrock Cliffs Trail is part of the more than 250 miles of open space in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Sandstone Cliffs Trail follows the St. Croix River and offers views of the stunning Governor Knowles State Forest and primitive river shoreline. It's mostly flat and a great choice for a trail run or family outing.
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