By Doyle Irvin, American Forests

Redwoods and other evergreens may get all of the media attention in the West, but incredible fall foliage also awaits those adventurers who are in-the-know! Travel a little off the beaten path this fall and you will find some of the most sublime groves in the United States. Just make sure not to get snowed in!

Kebler Pass, Colorado

You know it’s going to be a good day when you begin at an elevation of 8,909 feet! Located just west of Crested Butte, Colo., Kebler Pass is a well-maintained gravel road connecting the ski town to the state highway. This marvelous pass is nestled within one of the largest aspen groves in the world and has been a target destination for landscape photographers for decades.

Fun Ideas for Kebler Pass:

Kebler Pass.
Kebler Pass. Credit: John B. Kalla via Flickr.
  • Feeling athletic?
    Bicyclists frequently ride from Crested Butte to Lake Irwin. This is definitely not for road bikes! You can rent bikes for the day from a number of places in Crested Butte, and you will certainly break a sweat.
  • Hike the trails!
    If you would rather hike, the Horse Ranch Park Loop is an excellent option. This six-mile loop contains views of the entire Kebler aspen forest and its surrounding mountains. There are a number of quality turn around points if you wish to shorten the journey.
  • Take the West Elk Loop
    The West Elk Loop is an all-day drive that offers stunning alpine vistas and takes you through Gunnison, Crested Butte and many other small mountain towns. Visit galleries, farms, manors, historic sites and marble mines, all the while surrounded by nature at its fall best. If you decide to do the whole loop, you will want to begin your day in Carbondale, Colo.

Lundy Lake, California

Located only a few miles east of Yosemite National Park, this remarkable destination has somehow managed to stay uncrowded. Situated in a breathtaking canyon and surrounded by six peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, Lundy Lake is the place to go for fall foliage. Aspen trees cover the area and render it gold during the fall. You can camp, hike, fish and relax at Lundy Lake. The nearby town of Lee Vining has places to stay for those wishing to sleep in a bed.

Activities near Lundy Lake:

Lundy Lake
Lundy Lake. Credit: Steve Corey via Flickr.
  • The Lundy Canyon Trail
    The Lundy Canyon Trail is a hallmark of the area for a good reason: it takes you through everything the Sierra Nevadas has to offer. You will find yourself traversing through verdant meadows full of wildflowers, dense forests of golden aspen, freezing falls of glacial water and prominent cliffs of granite and metamorphic rock. This hike can be quite strenuous depending on how far you take it!
  • Have a full day?
    View the scenery at Lundy Lake in the morning and then drive the Tioga Pass Road in the afternoon. Known to be one of the best drives in the Sierra Nevadas, this back entrance to Yosemite affords you stunning views not commonly seen by the Yosemite visitor.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

More than 600 feet tall and enveloped by a wild variety of trees, there is a reason why legends surround these beautiful waterfalls. Only a 30-minute drive from Portland, Ore., the Multnomah Falls are one of the top destinations for nature lovers in Oregon’s quirkiest city. This is one of the premier places to view fall foliage in the Columbia Gorge.

Plan Your Day:

Multnomah Falls.
Multnomah Falls. Credit: Ilirjan Rrumbullaku via Flickr.
  • Hike to the top of falls
    If you are up for the climb, hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls is a quick two-and-a-half-mile journey. The views from the top are simply not to be missed. Consider yourself warned: it gets quite steep!
  • Be a little romantic
    Take your significant other for a romantic meal at the Lodge at the base of the Falls! The restaurant and lounge does breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. Overnight accommodations are also available. You can also relax while sipping award-winning wines after your hike up the Falls.
  • Visit Portland
    All of Portland is only a half hour away! Visit museums, lounge in parks, enjoy fine meals and craft beers: there is much to love in this outstanding city.