The majority of hiking trails are beautiful all year around, but some trails are truly breath-taking during fall. As the seasons change and the leaves start to turn yellow, orange, red and brown, some hiking trails explode with colour and wonderful views.
If you love fall, here are 5 hiking trails that are stunning during fall. Grab your sweater, make a thermos of coffee, and head out to check out one of these scenic trails!
The Appalachian Trail, Tennessee
The Appalachian Trail can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is one of the most popular national parks in America. The trail is truly stunning from start to finish during fall (although it’s 94 miles long, so you may want to break the trail down into shorter trips!) as it winds through the lush mountains. Hikers will see brightly colored foliage as they walk, as well as beautiful waterfalls and amazing valley viewpoints that offer 360 degree views of the park.
If you want to hike this trail but you can’t spare a week to do the whole thing in one, check out the smaller section between the Iron Mountain Gap and the Cross Mountain. This section is only 17 miles long, so it can easily be completed during a weekend, and you will see some of the best views that the trail has to offer. You will also have time to camp in the Cherokee National Forest, which is one of the most relaxing and beautiful spots in Tennessee to set up camp.
Noanet Woodlands, Massachusetts
The Noanet Woodlands are beautiful during every season, but the woodland really comes alive during fall. The woodland is very dense, with much of the trail being shaded due to the sheer amount of trees—and the trees explode with colour during fall, so you will be walking under a canopy of red, gold and orange! The park also offers beautiful views of the Massachusetts skyline.
The trail is 17 miles long and it isn’t too strenuous, so it’s ideal for beginner hikers as well as seasoned hikers. There’s also a shorter trail that’s just half a mile long that you may want to consider if you’re bringing along children.
Old Rag Mountain, Virginia
Old Rag Mountain can be found in the Shenandoah National Park, and the trail is very beautiful—but it’s also very tough, so you should pass on this one if you’re new to hiking. The breath-taking trail is 9 miles long, and the trail is mostly made up of rugged, steep paths and rocky areas.
The trail may be very tough, but if you make it to the end you will be rewarded with 360 degree views of the national park, including 200,000 protected acres of trees that are glowing with fall colors.
If you’re an experienced hiker and you want to try this trail, we recommend that you go during the week to avoid the big crowds that appear every weekend.
Beaver Lake Loop, Michigan
The Beaver Lake Loop can be found in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful trails in Michigan. The park covers around 73,000 acres of land, including scenic sandstone cliffs and lush forests that change color during fall.
The trek is 1.5 miles long so it can easily be completed in a day, and the trail ends at the coast of Lake Superior. This view is definitely worth the walk, as the icy blue of the lake contrasts perfectly with the orange and red forest!
The North Ridge Trail, Maine
The North Ridge Trail goes up the Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, and it offers some of the best views of the New England coastline. As you walk you will see birch, poplar and maple trees shedding their brightly colored leaves, as well as lots of beautiful rock formations.
The hike is slightly strenuous as it’s uphill, but it’s well worth the climb as you will be treated to some amazing views at the top! You can also ascend the Beehive Trail for more great views, but it’s important to note that this ascent shouldn’t be tried if you’re new to hiking as it’s very strenuous.