This blog post was updated on August 14, 2019.
The air carries a crispness that presents almost on cue once fall gets underway across the nation. With that crispness, many travelers want to get out and experience nature’s transition from summer to fall to winter. One of the best ways to do so is by going on a nature hike. If you don’t know where to begin for your autumnal hike, take your hiking shoes to these trails around the U.S. for fall-worthy beauty.
The Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Great Smoky Mountain National Park features countless trails, but perhaps the most historic is the Appalachian Trail. For one of the most beautiful stretches, join the Appalachian Trail beginning at Newfound Gap. Part of the National Scenic Trail, the hike meets the Clingman’s Dome Road. By taking the over 3-mile loop, hikers can wander through old growth forests, spotting the dazzling fall colors in the process.
Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore
For a California coastal style fall nature wall, Point Reyes National Seashore doesn’t disappoint. One of the most popular hikes in the park is the Tomales Point Trail. The 11-mile hike features the ocean on one side and a rocky landscape on the other. Fall hikers will delight once the trail leads through the Tule Elk Reserve, which not only offers views of the Pacific Ocean but is also a good spot to see wildlife like the many elk in the area. The trail is quite level, making it suitable for most ages.
Wildwood/Redwood Trail in Portland
While you might not want to cover all 30 miles of the Wildwood Trail in Portland’s Forest Park, there is a portion worth traversing in the fall. The section of Wildwood Trail that winds through the Hoyt Arboretum — a living laboratory of more than 6,000 trees and plants — warrants a gander. The path features the blanketing of Douglas fir trees, oddly enough, right above the Oregon Zoo. Hikers should be sure to also make stops at the Redwood Trail in the area; the sequoia grove is home to the very rare Japanese Larch. The conifer turns a brilliant shade of golden yellow during the fall months. If your feet aren’t hurting too much, you can take a number of trails throughout the Hoyt Arboretum, located just two miles west of downtown Portland.
Bear Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park
Set in Rocky Mountain National Park, Bear Lake Trail shows off Colorado’s autumnal beauty in a short 0.6-mile loop. The trail rings the sub-alpine lake right at the end of Bear Lake Road. A hike circling the lake gives you views of Hallett Peak, the summit that reflects in the glassy lake itself, while the fall months also showcase the glow of aspens embracing the area. The hike is easy enough for the whole family to appreciate.
Are you a fan of the outdoors? What are some of your favorite places to hike in the fall? Tell us in the comments below.