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Fall Road Trip: Finding Autumnal Colors

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Fall Road Trip: Ready to fill a thermos with hot apple cider, don an Irish cable knit sweater, and head out, camera in tow, to find some spectacular fall color? It won’t be long. Here are some ideas for planning a spectacular road trip.

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Some of America’s finest fall peeping routes begin transforming into autumn wonderlands as early as September.

Do you have a favorite route?

No longer do you need to guess when the colors will peak. SmokeyMountain.com has a Fall Foliage Prediction Map. It’s amazing.

Or you can always check actual webcams along your favorite routes. See the foot of this post for links.

But one thing is sure…

From coast to coast and many places in-between, the byways and highways of North America can transport you in minutes to an incredible world of autumn’s finest colors of crimson and russet, burnished gold, and orange—a wonderland of hither and yon.

Life is busy, but autumn comes but once a year. Plan a day trip sometime this fall, buy some apples, snap some photos, wear your sweater — make some memories!

Some notable fall color locations.

Fall Road Trip: Northeast Region

Vermont

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Of course, those who want to get an early taste of foliage know to head north and to higher elevations first, where the colors can begin to show as early as the third week of September. A great choice early on is to follow the Connecticut River northward into the Northeast Kingdom. The Connecticut River hugs the Vermont/New Hampshire line and offers visitors amazing vistas. In the Northeast Kingdom, winding along Route 114 and Route 5A sends you deep into trees that are vibrant with color. They line ponds and lakes and dot mountain peaks. It’s a quiet and laid-back part of the state that lights up early with autumnal shades. In the following weeks, more routes come alive with color. Scenic Route 100 is always a wonderful choice, taking visitors past quintessential farms, through quaint

In the Northeast Kingdom, winding along Route 114 and Route 5A sends you deep into trees that are vibrant with color. They line ponds and lakes and dot mountain peaks. It’s a quiet and laid-back part of the state that lights up early with autumnal shades. In the following weeks, more routes come alive with color. Scenic Route 100 is always a wonderful choice, taking visitors past quintessential farms, through quaint

In the following weeks, more routes come alive with color. Scenic Route 100 is always a wonderful choice, taking visitors past quintessential farms, through quaint towns and by majestic mountains. U.S. 7 from Bennington to Burlington offers you a backwoods feel, with a more city vibe in Burlington. And later in the season, Route 100 and side roads around Brattleboro hold onto the color well into late October.

Boston Herald

Connecticut

The Heublein Tower in Simsbury, Connecticut, sits at the top of Talcott Mountain State Park overlooking Farmington River Valley.

Maine

Small town Turner, nestled in the Maine foothills.

Massachusettes

Cross over the Sagamore Bridge and take the first exit onto rural Route 6A, which winds and twists through Sandwich’s scenic and historic town. The Old King’s Highway, as it used to be known, hugs Cape Cod Bay and is lined with ancient stone walls, white picket fences, ponds and pastures.

The Berkshires – 117 acres in Lenox. More information here.

New Hampshire

Milan State Park – 125 miles north of Concord.

Sugar Hill

New York

Southern Adirondacks, the stony Sacandaga River and a series of forest-rimmed lakes reflect blazing orange and yellow leaves along a 50-mile stretch of Route 30 from Northville to Indian Lake.

The Catskills – 6,000 square miles in Northeast New York.

Rhode Island

Owl Head Mountain – off State Route 232.

Bristol

Fall Road Trip: Midwest Region

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Michigan

Michigan’s Gold Coast: Beginning in Traverse, Grand Traverse Bay

Lake Superior Circle Route – Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada

Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Central Missouri

Wisconsin

Driftless Region – beginning and ending at Mineral Point

Fall Road Trip: Southern Region

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Virginia

Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

Tennessee

Stradling the North Carolina border: Cades Cove in the Smokey Mountains, Gatlinburg

Pidgeon Forge – Smokey Mountains

Fall Road Trip: Rocky Mountains

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Colorado

West Elk Loop Scenic Byway – Hwy 135 – Gunnison to Crested Butte

Aspen – Maroon Bells in White River National Forest

Breckenridge – Boreas Pass Road

Montana

Glacier National Park – before the end of September (webcams)

Seeley-Swan Scenic Drive – Lolo National Forest Northeast of Missoula

Fall Road Trip: Western Region

McKenzie Pass, Oregon
McKenzie Pass, Oregon

Washington

Olympic Peninsula – Beginning in Seattle, driving west through the Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge.

Mt Rainier National Park – Skyline Trail

Leavenworth, Washington – Tumwater Canyon on Hwy 2 and Blewitt Pass

Oregon

Columbia River Gorge – Columbia Gorge Highway with a breathtaking view at Multnomah Falls.

McKenzie Pass, Oregon – Driving from the Willamette Valley to the eastern slopes of the Cascades—Belknap Springs to Sisters on Highway 242. Best view, Dee Wight Observatory

California

Eastern Sierras – Rock Creek Canyon

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