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Blueridge North Carolina, fall foliage
Photograph: Shutterstock Blueridge North Carolina

The best places to see fall foliage in the United States

To see leaves turn yellow, orange and red this autumn head to these top spot for fall foliage in the USA.

By Sarah Medina
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It's hard to think that autumn is already here, but here it is, and some parts of the country are about to be awash in yellow, gold, orange, and red leaves. Thankfully, you don't have to be in New England to take part in the annual tradition of admiring autumn leaves. Our list of the best places to see fall foliage in the U.S. spans from the Southwest to the Northeast and from the Midwest to the South, with plenty of places inbetween. So pack up the car and add fall foliage to your list of reasons to get outside this year. 

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Best fall foliage in the U.S.

Santa Fe to Taos Loop
Santa Fe to Taos Loop
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Taos, NM

When to go: Late September to early October 

What you'll see: Located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in northern New Mexico, Taos makes an ideal starting point for seeing fall foliage in a desert landscape. The easiest way to see the colors is via the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, a 83-mile loop lined with bright yellow and orange aspen trees. 

Discover the bes things to do in New Mexico

Blueridge North Carolina, fall foliage
Blueridge North Carolina, fall foliage
Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

When to go: Late September through November 

What you'll see: Stretching 469 miles between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a scenic drive between North Carolina to Virginia. Once fall hits, the road is lined with yellow, red, and orange dogwood, sassafras and maple trees making for a gorgeous drive no matter how many miles you put in. 

Discover the best things to do in North Carolina

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Lake of the Ozarks, fall foliage
Lake of the Ozarks, fall foliage
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Ozark Mountains, MO

When to go: The second half of October 

What you'll see: The Ozarks offer so much more than summertime lake fun and a certain TV show. Missouri's centrally located mountains are also a great fall getaway, where you'll see the forest turn shades of gold and maroon in addition to enjoying less-crowded amenities and cooler temps. 

Discover the best things to do in Missouri

Aspen Colorado fall foliage
Aspen Colorado fall foliage
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Aspen, CO

When to go: Mid-September to late September 

What you'll see: If peeping autumn leaves in Aspen is on your bucket-list, don't hesitate. The Colorado city's colorful season is short, lasting from just mid-September to the end of the month. But if you do happen to go in that golden window, you'll be greeted with thousands of aspen trees in rich yellow hues. 

Discover the best things to do in Colorado

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Oregon fall foliage
Oregon fall foliage
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Columbia River Gorge, OR

When to go: Mid-September to mid-October

What you'll see: The Columbia River Gorge between Washington and Oregon is always a gorgeous sight, but throw in fir, cottonwood, maple, ash and pine trees ablaze in a wash of golden-hued leaves and you may never want to leave this gorgeous riverbank. 

Discover the best things to do in Oregon 

Green Mountain national forest, vermont
Green Mountain national forest, vermont
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Green Mountains, VT

When to go: Early September to early October 

What you'll see: The maple, birch, and beech trees that cover Vermont put on one of the most dazzling displays of fall foliage in the USA. Head to Green Mountain National Forest where you can take in the colorful foliage with a hike or plan an extended camping trip. 

Discover the best things to do in Vermont

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Road 23 into the Catskills
Road 23 into the Catskills
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Shawangunk Mountains, NY

When to go: Late September to late October 

What you'll see: Ninety miles north of Manhattan, the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway is an 88-mile loop between Kerhonkson and New Paltz, NY which offers drive-by gawkers some of the state’s most picturesque views. The prime leaf-spotting happens as you ascend into the Shawangunk Mountains, which rise more than 2,000 feet above sea level. 

Discover more places to see fall foliage in New York

Fall foliage Michigan
Fall foliage Michigan
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. Upper Peninsula, MI

When to go: Late September to mid-October

What you'll see: Michigan's Upper Peninsula borders three of the Great Lakes and includes more than 4 million acres of protected forest lands. Take your pick from the 20-plus state parks that mark the region to see ash, aspen, beech, birch, maple, oak, sycamore, and tamarack trees come alive with fall colors. 

Discover the best things to do in Michigan

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white mountain national forest new hampshire
white mountain national forest new hampshire
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. White Mountains, NH

When to go: Early September to early October 

What you'll see: Spanning more than 800,000 acres, White Mountain National Forest encompasses some of the most natural and beautiful wilderness in the Northeast. Come autumn, take a scenic drive along the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) to get your fill of colorful leaves. 

Discover the best things to do in New Hampshire 

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