Use the slide bar to see when peak will occur in your area! Map courtesy of smokymountain.com.
If you’re in the South… Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains live up to their name. Stretching over 500,000 acres into both North Carolina and Tennessee, these mountains are home to thousands of species of plants and wildlife that have been thriving and diversifying for millennia, as one of the world’s few International Biosphere Reserves. These hills provide stunning views and memorable moments in any season, but fall holds an extra special place in American Forests’ hearts. Don’t miss out! Take a drive along one of the scenic highways, or perhaps travel down one of the 800 miles of trails, to experience the profound life cycle of trees as they change their verdant summer canopy into a crazy quilt of flaming reds and coppery oranges.
If you’re in the Pacific Northwest… Palisades Creek Canyon, Idaho
Part of the expansive Caribou-Targhee National Forest, this easily traveled landscape in southeastern Idaho is a beautiful place to visit this fall. Either hiking along the accessible trails, fishing in the many lakes and rivers, or camping in one of the well maintained campsites, you and your family can take time to get back to nature this autumn. Take a break from your busy lives to stand in a glade of fir, aspen, or willow trees, breathing in the fresh air and releasing the stress from another eventful year. Palisades Creek has a little bit of fun for the whole family. If you are either a beginner or a seasoned hiker, you cannot go wrong with a visit to this beautiful location this fall.
If you’re in the Northeast… White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
There is a bite of snow in the air as you hike these mountain trails. The native elm, birch, cherry, and maple trees are a riot of gold, red, and orange as they turn their lush green leaves into their vibrant autumn colors. There is nothing better than spending a beautiful day out in nature, enjoying the calls of songbirds and the brilliant landscape of trees. If you are looking for something for the whole family this fall, take a trip up the White Mountains in New Hampshire, where there are limitless options of hiking trails, campgrounds, and scenic car rides, that will let you enjoy the Northeast’s glorious fall foliage.
If you’re in the Southwest… Coconino National Forest, Arizona
When you think of Arizona, you don’t think of acres and acres of uninterrupted pristine forests. But that is what you get in the Coconino National Forest, one of the most sprawling and diverse National Forests in the country. A walk in these woods any time of year is a sight to behold, but this fall, if you make a visit to one of northern Arizona’s enumerable parks or hidden side trails, you will see the blinding golden foliage of the quaking aspens, which only grow at elevations of 6,000 to 8,000 feet. These towering white-barked slender giants seem to dance in the slightest breeze and rain down their shiny golden leaves. It’s almost as if they are bathing you in sunshine on a brisk autumn day.
Future generations may not be able to experience a stunning fall forest. Climate change is wreaking havoc on our forests, and we see the impacts not only in wildfires, insect infestations, disease and extreme weather events—but even in autumn foliage. This year we are seeing unprecedented wildfires devastate over 4 million acres and wiping out trees and forests that are several centuries old. As our planet warms and we experience more hot days, the onset of autumn has gradually begun later. Extreme weather and elevated levels of air pollution can cause leaves to fall off faster and dulls the vibrant colors.
While our trees are threatened by the effects of climate change, they are also our best climate change solution. Donate now to help us plant more trees and keep this beautiful fall foliage around for generations to come.