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National Scenic Trails to Trek This Fall
North Country Trail
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Stretching from New York to North Dakota, this scenic trail is perfect for a fall hiking adventure. As the longest National Scenic Trail in the United States, few people have tried hiking the entire thing. However, you can come in and out of it from various points. Try The Canal Path that weaves through Old Erie Canal State Park. The multipurpose path runs along the water, which reflects bright orange and yellow in autumn.
Continental Divide Trail
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This National Scenic Trail runs 3,100 miles, from Canada to Mexico, hitting Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. It follows the Rocky Mountains, moving through dozens of forests, with plenty of fall scenery. Hike through the Carson National Forest, in New Mexico, for your fall foliage viewing pleasure.
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Spanning Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is one of the most well-known hikes. As it winds through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Vermont, leaf peepers are treated to a collage of fall colors. Little Rock Pond trail, located in Vermont, is a 6-mile loop with easy to moderate terrain. Tranquil, hardwood forests offer a peaceful, yet colorful getaway for hikers of all levels.
Potomac Heritage Trail
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The mid-Atlantic section connects Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia with an 830-mile trail. While much of it is still in planning stages, there are a variety of paths to try that were already in place when it was declared a National Scenic Trail. Head to the historical town of Alexandria where you can take the short, scenic Canal Trail with an abundance of natural fall beauty.
Pacific Northwest Trail
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This picturesque trail runs from Montana to the pacific coast of Washington. It crosses three national parks and seven national forests, including Olympic National Park. Snow-capped mountains frame coastal and lowland forests, painting the ideal fall picture. With plenty of options, all ranging in levels of difficulty, the entire family can enjoy the seasonal beauty.
New England National Scenic Trail
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Running through Southern New England, this National Scenic Trail will put you in the heart of fall foliage. The Farley Ledge loop, in Erving, Massachusetts, is a hilly, 2-mile path that moves parallel to the ridges of Rattlesnake Mountain. This secluded trail provides plenty of opportunities to hike and rock climb, with a backdrop of fall colors.
Natchez Trace Trail
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Though Natchez Trace Trail is one of the shortest of all 11, it doesn't lack in autumn beauty. This scenic area spans from Alabama and Tennessee to Mississippi, with over 60 miles of hiking and biking trails. Take your leaf peeping to the Garrison Creek trailhead in Tennessee, which is known for its spectacular views this time of year.
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Believe it or not, Florida is home to fall foliage worth seeing. This section of the National Scenic Trails spans 1,400 miles, with plenty of hiking along the way. Head to Torreya State Park, a little off the main trail, to experience Florida foliage. With 12,000 acres to explore, and views overlooking Apalachicola River, you'll be pleasantly surprised.