By Lindsay Seventko, American Forests
Fall is a perfect time to get out and explore nature. So, what better time to enjoy some of your favorite outdoor recreation activities than now. For some ideas and destinations, check out our list of some of the country’s best spots for common recreation outings.
Hiking — Acadia National Park
New England is known around the world for iconic fall foliage views. Thus, it’s only natural that the ultimate fall hiking trip should take place in Acadia National Park. With tree-lined unpaved roads to approach your hike on and sweeping mountain views of blushing birch, maple and poplar fall foliage right up to the coastline, exploring Acadia during fall should be on everyone’s autumn bucket list. Trek up Cadillac Mountain in a crisp early morning to catch the first beams of light dancing across the colored treetops, or grab on to iron rungs out of the cliffs on the Beehive Trail for a mid-afternoon climb to the top of the coastline.
Fishing — Flaming Gorge, Ashley National Forest
For the angler who doesn’t want the hustle and bustle of fighting over a coastline rock in Montauk or wrestling a Marlin under the Caribbean sun for hours, Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Ashley National Forest offers the pristine calm of being within more than 1 million acres of protected forest, but also being known to hold giants within its waters. Flaming Gorge has been the site of previous world record holding brown trout, as well as state record lake and rainbow trout. Take in the fall foliage that lines the banks of the reservoir, from aspen to conifer and juniper, and you may even see the rare wildlife near the water including bear, moose, elk, antelope and mountain lion.
Camping — Havasu Canyon, Havasupai Indian Reservation
Looking for the perfect place to pitch your tent under a rainbow of foliage? Visit Havasupai campground on its namesake’s Indian Reservation. The Havasu Canyon is a large tributary river on the southern side of the Colorado River, offering a unique look at the Grand Canyon region and plenty of gem-colored waterfalls to hike to. While this destination will require more effort than your local campground, acquiring a permit, taking the roundabout roads, hiking down the path to this remote section of the Grand Canyon, and of course, pitching a tent in the breathtaking fall landscape will be well-worth the trip.
Paddling — Long Lake, New York
A fall paddling trip on Long Lake is an ideal option because of the flexibility and diversity it has to offer. As the fall foliage reflects on the clear water in front of you, take a moment to rest and let the gentle current carry you, get out to explore miles of coastline hikes and carrying trails or stop to picnic or camp at one of many breathtaking spots. With plenty of coves, coastlines and islands to explore, Long Lake will allow you to stop and experience fall foliage in countless ways, or simply allow you to take it all in as you paddle down the shoreline.
Road Trip — Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park
Skyline Drive winds along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains through Shenandoah National Park for more than 100 miles. Not a well-kept secret, many people have a drive through the scenic mountains on their bucket list; however, this road is best traversed during the height of fall foliage. With scenic overlooks nearly every mile exposing the bright array of fall colors and plenty of trails to stop and explore, this road is more of an experience than just a drive. Rent a sports car, bring a picnic and your favorite camera and get ready to experience fall foliage in a whole new light.
City Stroll — Central Park, New York City
While thousands of people flock to New York City in September for fashion week, the city’s real fall attraction is the foliage found in Central Park. Towering trees overshadow manicured pathways carpeted in red, yellow and orange leaves. Draping branches dripping in autumn foliage paint the foreground, while peaks of towering skyscrapers break above the skyline. NYC even publishes as guide to fall foliage viewing in the park to guide your quest for the most instagrammable view.