By Doyle Irvin, American Forests
The Northeast is simply one of the most beautiful places to be during the fall season. Add a dash of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and our fall foliage guide will help you explore the best views the northern U.S. has to offer. Relish in the magnificent hues of crimson, amber and gold this fall in these special locations picked by American Forests.
Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
The Mohawk Trail is renowned as one of the premier destinations in the Northeast for nature-loving vacationers, and any traveler who finds themselves there during the fall season should count themselves lucky. Given that the trail accesses more than 50,000 acres of state parks, our guide will be very useful for those planning the perfect afternoon, day or weekend in this incredible scenery.
Places to stop along the trail:
- Greenfield, Mass.
The town of Greenfield is an ideal location to begin your journey, with a number of charming cafes to help fuel you up before you set off.
- Bridge of Flowers
From Greenfield, you will want to head east to the Bridge of Flowers, which during October will be blooming with dahlias, Montauk daisies, roses, Russian Sage and a whole variety of other foliage.
- “Hail to the Sunrise” statue
The next destination is the “Hail to the Sunrise” statue located in Charlemont, Mass. Honoring the five Mohawk Nations that lived in Massachusetts, the monument is an iconic stop on the trail.
- Williams College
Your final destination will be Williams College, in Williamstown, Mass., home of the Purple Cows and one of the most beautiful campuses in America. There you will find varieties of maple, beech, magnolia, birch, pine, ash and oak — and if you decide to venture indoors you can find original copies of the Four Founding Documents of the United States in the library of rare books.
Lake of the Clouds Overlook, Michigan
Easily reached by road, this boardwalk offers a phenomenal view of the marvelous Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains. Girdled by yellow birch, eastern hemlock, sugar maple and rarer stands of white pine, red oak, white cedar and green ash, arborists will find trees to admire in all shapes and sizes. It also serves as a good launching point for more than 80 miles of beautiful hikes in the region.
Great ideas for visiting the Lake of the Clouds:
- Hike nearby trails
Take the exquisite North Mirror Lake Trail down to Mirror Lake and then the Big Carp River Trail back. You will pass hidden lakes and crystal-clear waterfalls. Backpackers who want to go on multi-day hikes can make a large loop from the Lake of the Clouds, over Government Peak, down the Little Carp River Trail and then traverse along Lake Superior back to the Lake of the Clouds Overlook.
- Find the wildlife
You can spot up to 388 species of birds, including the rare peregrine falcon, in this area. Some will run into a friendly black bear, and, if you are especially lucky, you may even run into a moose!
- Explore the old-growth forest
The Porcupine Mountains are home to an old-growth hardwood forest that is the largest west of the Adirondacks.
Hemmed on both sides by the Mt. Mansfield State Forest and the CC Putnam State Forest, Stowe, Vt. clearly has plenty of fall foliage for the intrepid explorer. Located just beneath Vermont’s tallest peak and painted by thousands of vibrant trees, it has been a destination for fall travelers for more than 100 years.
Things to do in Stowe:
- Stowe Recreation Path
Hikers and bikers will want to coast along the Stowe Recreation Path, a graceful 5-mile paved path that takes you through woods, meadows, lodges and arched wooden bridges.
- Gondola Ride
Later that afternoon you will want to ride a gondola up to the top of Mt. Mansfield, where there are paths to hike, views to savor and a fine restaurant to finish off your evening.
Boston Public Garden, Massachusetts
Considered one of the must-see places in Boston, this stunning public garden spans across 24 acres in the center of the city. This park is a dream for artists and photographers, who will find a lush variety of wildlife, artistic installations and statues to capture. Whether you are casually strolling about the park or having a picnic, you will be surrounded by 40 magnificent varieties of trees in all their golden glory.
Activities in the Boston Public Garden:
- Salute the statues
The most prominent statue in the garden is the equestrian statue of George Washington, but there are many other monuments to be found within the garden. Those honored include abolitionist activists Charles Sumner and Wendell Phillips, clergymen William Ellery Channing and Edward Everett Hale and foreign-born heroes of the military Thomas Cass and Tadeusz Kosciuszko.
- Make Way for the Ducklings
The enormously popular children’s book has been memorialized in the garden by sculptor Nancy Schön.
- Swan boats
Ride on the iconic swan boats to the island in the center of the lagoon. A long-time destination for couples across the city, you may even find yourself floating by a wedding party.