Fall is truly the most stunning time of year. With slightly cooler temperatures and nature bursting with fiery colors, fall is actually the best time to go hiking in the United States. You might think as soon as summer ends it’s time to pack up and get ready to hibernate for winter, but in reality, it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and explore! With countless great fall hiking spots in the U.S., all you need to do is find one in your backyard and plan your next fall hiking adventure.
Breakneck Ridge Loop: Putnam, New York
New York is a great fall hiking spot. Just a short drive from New York City, Breakneck Ridge Loop is the perfect escape from the bustling city that everyone is dying for in the fall. For those adventurous—and skilled—enough, after some rock scrambling, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Hudson River Valley. Plus, it’s located near the Metro-North railroad so you don’t even need a car to get there.
Acadia National Park: Maine
Acadia National Park shows up all over our fall getaway articles for good reason, it truly is one of the most breathtaking destinations in the country. Not only can you experience the vibrant fall foliage during your hike, but you will also get to see the glacial erratic at South Bubble and can even catch the nation’s first sunrise if you scale Cadillac Mountain early enough.
Mount Greylock: Adams, Massachusetts
Located in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock is an amazing fall hiking spot. Experience carriage roads and waterfalls on your hike up and when you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Catskills. Standing at 3,491 feet at its tallest point, hiking this spot will certainly be something to write home about.
Maroon Bells: Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is stunning year round, but it’s a particularly great spot for fall hiking. Maroon Bells is comprised of two 14,000 foot peaks that are a perfect escape from the luxury hotels and ski resorts in the area. Summiting either will reward you with stunning views of White River National Forest and a picturesque reflection of the changing aspen trees in Maroon Lake.
Mount Mansfield: Underhill, Vermont
Vermont is one of the most scenic of the states, which is why it’s no surprise that it’s home to one of the best fall hiking spots. Mount Mansfield is located in the northernmost part of Vermont forest. More commonly known as Stowe, Mount Mansfield can be summited via Sunset Ridge. With the trail mostly above the tree line, you’ll be rewarded with amazing fall views the whole way up. The bright side? You can take a chairlift down to rest your weary legs!
Aspen Vista: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Not to be confused with Aspen, Colorado, Aspen Vista in Santa Fe is actually a top skiing destination. Before the snow falls though, this is one of the top fall hiking destinations in the country. This trail is steeper, but after a short ascent, you will reach a chairlift that you can take up the rest of the way to catch views of the aspen trees and other scenic looks.
Niagara Gorge: Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls is one of the natural wonders of the world, but this top fall hiking spot lies slightly downriver. Both Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole State Park are just minutes from the falls, but it feels like you’re in a different world. Descend down the trial into the gorge to find yourself feet away from the whipping rapids but miles away from the hordes of tourists snapping pictures of the falls. While exploring the gorge and its stunning views, you’ll be serenaded by the roaring waters.
Silver Lake/Ontario Loop: Park City, Utah
This is a great spot for some peace and quiet as there’s no car or bike traffic allowed. The 0.9 mile loop up Bald Mountain is short enough for even the less-inclined hikers and the reward at the top is unparalleled. History lovers will enjoy glimpses of old mining equipment on the trek up and everyone will enjoy the views of Jordanelle Reservoir from the top.
Grand Teton National Park: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This 5.5 mile loop is for more avid hikers, but you’ll get glimpses of everything. From snow-capped mountain peaks to bubbling brooks and rushing creeks, Grand Teton National Park has a bit of something for everyone. The stunning yellow aspen trees are also a treat, as are the wildlife like moose and deer that you might see along the way.
Bryce Canyon, Fairyland Loop: Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is home to many trails, but Fairyland Loop is one of the best. Surprisingly this is one of the less busy routes, but that could be because it’s 8 miles long and takes the average hiker over 3 hours to complete. The hike is definitely worth it though as you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the canyon rim and “hoodoos,” which are thick layers of rock that were deposited over 60 million years ago.
Seriously, it’s not time to roll over and let winter win yet! Grab your significant other or best friend, pack the car and head to one of these top fall hiking spots. Not only will you be rewarded with stunning views and fresh air, but you’ll make memories that last a lifetime. Memories that will be perfect to reminisce about while hibernating under a blanket all winter!