Even if it seems like summer is just over and life has just turned to normal, it’s time to plan that fall trip. One reason to plan the trip now is to avoid the mad rush and avail yourself of the great discounts that are sitting out there for the early birds. The other is to take your time in choosing the destination because there are hordes of tempting places, all of which promise a brilliant blend of colors from the foliage and the surrounding natural scenic beauty. While every state comes alive with the fall colors there are some that are so distinctive that they can easily lure in tourists from all over the country. Let's take a quick glimpse at the top autumn destinations.


The Aspen trees that the area is named after are almost aglow with the bright colors of leaves, turning the entire region into hues of gold and orange. Colorado is breathtaking any time of the year but the fall foliage gives the entire landscape a whole new identity. And yet, despite the bright rush of colors, there is a sense of serenity amidst the mountains. The bright orange and gold hues are propped up against a background of the evergreens making them shiner brighter, almost neon-like. Mid-to-late September is a great time to witness the foliage and because the ski season is yet some time away chances for great hotel deals are high.

Yellowstone National Park

This is one of the top draws any time of the year, but fall is special season because the camera-hugging and tent-pulling summer crowd is all gone, leaving one free to witness the change of seasons in this breathtakingly beautiful place. The transition from summer to fall is gorgeous and is duly reflected in the bright fall foliage all around. One thing to note here though is that with summer over tourists also slowly trickle down to fewer numbers. This means fewer park amenities and higher chances of bear coming out to stake their territories. Make sure you have taken all possible security measures for the same. The Mammoth Hot Springs make a nice backdrop for the foliage, and if you can get a permit you can even camp nearby.

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Mid-to-late October is the best time to visit the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The foliage is particularly spectacular here, with the gold and crimson hues spread all over the hillsides and the lakes. The incredible reflection of the oak-hickory forests, the dogwoods and the thong trees makes for a lasting memory. There are numerous unique hiking and aquatic activities which allow one to enjoy the various pleasures the area has to offer while soaking in the local scenic beauty on the way. You can go your own way for there are ample markers to guide, instruct and educate visitors about the importance of each location.

Talimena National Scenic Byway

Talimena stretches out from Talihina in eastern Oklahoma all the way to Mena, Arkansas to the very top of the Ouachita Mountains, hence the name Talimena. The scenic byway is 54 miles of incredible natural beauty which promise one visual delight after another for visitors. The fall foliage is particularly famous here and one can see an incredible range from colors starting from the green forests in the foreground to the distant blue haze of the mountain peaks. Between the two are brilliant bursts of color that range from red to orange to gold and bronze. The drive takes around 5 hours and can stretch to more if one feels inclined to stop en route to enjoy the spectacular views.

Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee

When it comes to breathtaking sights, America has lots of them to offer but perhaps none have such deep and constant beauty as the Great Smoky Mountains. It is beautiful all year, but more so during the fall when the foliage all over the mountains changes into bright shades of purple, orange, gold and red. The national park is home to over one hundred species of flora including hickory, sugar maple, sweetgum, scarlet oak and red maple. Most people go for the weekend and perhaps that is enough, but if you can spare a day or two book one of the forest lodges. This way you can enjoy the peace and solitude of the place amidst the brilliant colors, a truly incredible feeling.