fall hike foliage

fall hike foliageAcross the coun­try, leaf peep­ers every­where live for that time of year when the temps cool off just enough to make the trees come to life with col­or. Here’s our picks of a few of the most stun­ning hikes to view fall foliage.

Geyser Val­ley, Olympic Nation­al Park, Washington
While there are no actu­al gey­sers, you will find the recent­ly undammed Elwha Riv­er lined in stun­ning red and gold dur­ing the fall. This 7.8 mile out and back low ele­va­tion stroll takes you through a bril­liant for­est of vine maple, cot­ton­wood and alder, back­dropped by the mut­ed ever­green hills. As a bonus, Roo­sevelt elk sight­ings are com­mon in fall on these pro­tect­ed lands.

Bell Moun­tain, Mark Twain Nation­al For­est, Mis­souri (and Arkansas)
Autumn col­ors on the Ozark Trail are wide­ly known as wild­ly gor­geous and the 8.4 mile Bell Moun­tain sec­tion is the must hike route. The climb up the forest­ed ridge among the blaz­ing orange, yel­lows and reds of oak, hick­o­ry and sumac is oth­er­world­ly. Once you reach the sum­mit you’ll be reward­ed with out­stand­ing views of the St. Fran­cois Moun­tains. This trek can be done as an out and back, but the shut­tle option is even better.

Red Pine Lake, Lone Peak Wilder­ness, Utah
Aspens—golden aspens—are why peo­ple flock to the Wasatch in fall, and Red Pine Lake is one of the best hikes to see them. Just shy of sev­en miles roundtrip to Low­er Red Pine Lake, gor­geous­ly set in a cirque, you’ll find broad stroke views of the gild­ed canyon below. Addi­tion­al trails lead to the upper lake and the off-trail excur­sion to 11,326 foot Pfeif­fer­horn is just 1.5 miles of seri­ous climb­ing away.

Camel’s Hump, Camel’s Hump State For­est, Vermont
There are sev­er­al routes avail­able to sum­mit Ver­mon­t’s high­est peak (with­out a struc­ture on top) and all will take you on a spec­tac­u­lar­ly col­ored path. The mod­er­ate 6.6 mile climb on the Mon­roe trail is straight­for­ward, while a detour on the Alpine Trail will take you by the wreck­age of a WWII plane. If you don’t mind scram­bling and expo­sure the Dean Trail is the adven­tur­ous route up. Regard­less of the path you choose, the real show is at the sum­mit where you’ll find a breath­tak­ing view of fiery red and burn­ing orange rem­i­nis­cent of embers in a campfire.

Chapel Loop, Pic­tured Rocks Nation­al Lakeshore, Michigan
Pos­si­bly Michi­gan’s most pic­turesque day hike peri­od, as Chapel Falls and Beach are wor­thy des­ti­na­tions any time of year. In autumn the crim­son and amber hues high­light the impres­sive sand­stone sculp­tures and pic­turesque beach­es of this 10.4 mile loop on Lake Supe­ri­or. For a longer trek, the 42.4 Lakeshore Trail from Grand Marais to Munis­ing is a fan­tas­tic fall back­pack­ing trip.