Something is amazing about witnessing nature change from one season to the next, and the transition from summer greens to brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds in the fall is particularly beautiful. Autumn serves as a reminder that change is inevitable — and healthy. And, while it may be fleeting, no other season is as vibrant.
Leaf peepers make their yearly trek to catch and wander among the lovely maple, aspen, hickory, birch, and beech trees, to mention a few, each year as the colors of fall drive them. While New England is recognized for its autumn colors, there are little villages all around the United States that are put on a display every year.
We’ve compiled a list of little communities around the country that sparkle as the weather turns cooler, from New Mexico and Indiana to New York and Vermont.
1. Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is a small town with a large reputation, not just for its ski slopes, which entice powder seekers each year, and for its sugar maple groves, which come to the surface in the fall. Stowe makes it straightforward to hike, bike, or drive across the expanse of fall foliage from early September and late October when the colors are at their greatest. You might be able to attend the annual Trapp Family Lodge Oktoberfest if you time it right, which generally takes place in mid-September.
2. Oakland, Maryland
In Oakland, the annual Autumn Glory Festival — a five-day festival that has been ongoing for more than five decades — is a thing to be celebrated. And after you’ve arrived in this small village, you’ll see why fall is so special. Swallow Falls State Park, home to thundering waterfalls and plenty of hiking paths where you may wander beneath a canopy of fall colors, is just south of Oakland’s gorgeous downtown.
3. Snowmass Village, Colorado
Snowmass Village, located west of Aspen, Colorado is a breathtakingly gorgeous hamlet. The community, which sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains, is famed for its year-round leisure and abundant aspen trees, which change color from shimmering green to bright yellow and orange with touches of red in a magnificent (although brief) transition. Take a backpacking trip to Snowmass Lake or spend the day on the Crater Lake trek, which takes you past two magnificent (and colorful) high-alpine lakes in the fall.
4. Taos, New Mexico
New Mexico may not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about fall foliage, but the little hamlet in the high desert does, along with old adobe houses and a rich Native American past. When the weather cools and the leaves begin to change, get in your car and drive the 84-mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, which circles New Mexico’s highest peak and offers a spectacular display of fall color.
5. Nashville, Indiana
Nashville, Indiana may be unknown to you (which is part of what makes it so special), but this small town has a big fall reputation. The leaves change color every autumn, between late September and early November. Visit Brown County State Park while you’re in town, which has approximately 20 miles of colorful, tree-lined roadways and a network of hiking and bike paths.
6. Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid, New York a lakeside village nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, would be tough to leave off our list. Begin your adventure on the Olympic Trail beautiful byway, which runs around Lake Placid and is lined with maple, birch, aspen, oak, and beech trees that provide a splash of color to tourists.
7. Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is known for its charming streets and waterfront position as well as its proximity to Acadia National Park. Many people overlook the fact that the town is also one of the best leaf-peeping spots in the country. The foliage changes color every fall between mid-September and early October, attracting visitors from all across the country. Hike Cadillac Mountain, visit the Cranberry Islands or stroll through the beautiful flora along the Shore Path from the town pier.
8. Munising, Michigan
Munising, with its eye-catching sandstone cliffs that loom over Lake Superior, is a stunning destination all year. Visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to see the views, but the multicolored cliffs are especially beautiful in the fall when the shoreline is coated with reds, oranges, and yellows. Take a walk along with one of the many trails along the lakefront, take a boat to Grand Island, or trek to Munising Falls for a burst of cool water and beautiful colors.