The 8 Best Places to See Fall Colors

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Guides in Canada reckon they’ve got the best fall colors. And guides in America (specifically, the East coast), England, and France think similarly. With guides worldwide advocating their countries as the homes of the best fall colors, we’ve come up with a list of the best places to see those vibrant oranges, rich reds and honey-roasted yellows that grace our planet during one small (and very precious) window of time yearly. Read on to learn where to get your Fall on, but be warned: have pumpkin soup and roasted squash nearby; these pictures will get you craving everything Fall-esque.

Utah

Besides being a blast of fun year-round, Utah in the Fall is a blast of color. Local tour guides in Utah like Joe French, a member of the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) who has  been climbing and canyoneering professionally for more than a decade, Mark Engibous, a Registered Nurse who leads epic canyoneering trips when he’s not working in the Intensive Care Unit, and Zach Lee, a veteran climbing and canyoning guide who has rappelled most every hidden canyon, ascended the major high-altitude walls, and personally put up multiple climbing routes in and around Zion, will show you the state’s most stunning rocks, but if you join them between early September and mid-October you will also be treated to the blazing orange and brilliant yellow leaves of the maples, oaks and aspens, colors that pop when juxtaposed against the area’s steep quartzite and sandstone cliffs.

Alaska

You could admire Alaska’s killer Fall colors from the comfort of a warm car, but to truly experience the area’s Fall magnificence, join local Alaskan adventure guides like Jane Atkinson (she leads a one-of-a-kind reindeer walk in the woods that includes petting and playing with friendly, frolicking reindeer as they explore the Boreal forest, as well as tasting the most delicious cookies in the far north!) for a trip into the thick of it all. In addition to Jane, Fall-time hikes alongside Alaska’s hiking guides like Sudevi Burich (she leads one memorable Challenging Hike through the breath-taking Rabbit Creek Valley and Ptarmigan Pass) and Natalie Morawietz (her Alaskan Adventure trip will take you into the heart of several world-famous National Parks) will not only show you the state’s impressive wildlife, but striking Fall foliage too.

Upstate New York

While Central Park in New York City does offer some stellar Fall colors, to experience New York’s most striking orange, red, and yellow Fall foliage, head to Lake Placid, the home of the longest-lasting fall colors on the East Coast. Skilled tour guides in New York City will treat you to thrilling experiences in everywhere from the Bronx to Brooklyn, and including everything from theater trips to hot dog tasting, but to get your Fall fix, it’s best to venture upstate to the Lake Placid region (and nearby Adirondack Park) where the rolling hills and major elevation changes boost the changing colors of the Oak, Maple, Beech, Poplar, and Birch trees. If you’re visiting New York, definitely don’t miss out on Rich Garr’s tour of the Lower East Side’s renowned street art, or Pilot Brett’s sunset helicopter tour over the city, but after a few fun days in The Big Apple, be sure to check out the natural beauty of Lake Placid’s Fall colors.

Quebec

As guides in Canada attest, the country has a whole laundry list of places boasting fantastic Fall colors, but one location that stands out is Mont Tremblant in Québec. While visiting Québec, it’s highly recommended to join local fishing guide Andy for a day of catching large Northern Pike and Brook Trout on Lac Perdu, Marie Legroulx for her trip, Bury Your Dead, that visits the likes of the Notre-Dame Basilica (and gives guests the opportunity to try a slice of sugar pie, a local favorite), and Neil Schomaker for The Grand Tour of Quebec that entails the likes of visiting the Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, the Place d’Armes, and exploring Old Quebec’s streets, but after enjoying their trips, don’t forget to check out Mont Tremblant; the Fall colors are almost unreal in their vibrancy.

Loire Valley, France

As if France weren’t delightful enough, wait until you see the charming country ablaze with Fall colors, and wait until you learn that Fall is also grape harvest season. Double win! From Strasbourg’s fiery parks and gardens to the southern wine city of Limoux’s golds and burnt oranges, France has a lot to boast in terms of epic locations to marvel at Fall foliage, but for the prime Fall experience, head to the Loire Valley. In the Loire Valley, not only will you see Fall colors come to life in the most energetic way possible, you’ll see them against a backdrop of one of the country’s most elegant chateaux. Year round, sightseeing guides in France offer magnificent tours of their stunning country, but if you want to see the republic at its most beautiful, book your trip for the Fall season; there really is nothing better than sipping wine and nibbling creamy brie under a canopy of trees whose leaves are all shades of red and yellow, a canopy of trees that was also once the stomping grounds of kings and nobles.

Germany

There are many wonderful places across Europe where September and October usher in shades of red, yellow and orange, but Germany is one of the best. Sightseeing guides all over Germany like Sven Marx and Ference Friedenberger who lead biking tours around Berlin, and Susanne Fiek who holds a Culinary Ramble through Heidelberg´s Old Town, expose you to the country’s rich culture, heritage and history, but to see Germany’s stunning Autumnal colors, be sure to head into the countryside, as well as the forests galore. Bonus: in the Fall, Germany also hosts some unique and top-of-the-line festivals, the Oktoberfest being one.

South Island, New Zealand

Few know that New Zealand is home to some of the world’s best wines, and few also know that the island country also boasts some of the most striking Autumnal colors. Guides in New Zealand excitedly spill the beans on their country’s hidden gems (to name just one, John Barry shares where to enjoy the best Merlot), and while you’re touring the islands alongside them in the Fall, you’ll also discover just how striking the country’s Fall is. Tip: to see New Zealand’s most stunning Fall colors, head South; as a general rule, you can expect the color of autumn leaves on trees to be more vibrant and plentiful on the South Island than they are on the North Island.

California

Believe it or not, California is not all about eternally-green palm trees: if you drive down the renowned Big Sur Highway (Highway 1) during the Fall, you will see your fair share of striking reds and oranges, not just weak yellow-greens. After spending a day in the water searching for sharks with Andy Murch, we can suggest nothing better than a drive down Highway 1, marveling at California’s Fall colors (without the chill factor!).

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