By Cele & Lynn Seldon
As temperatures start to lower and the humidity releases its grip, all thoughts turn to the approach of fall–and colorful fall foliage.
There’s no better place to capture the beauty of autumn than in the Northeast. With majestic mountains, huge hardwoods, and lovely lakes, the tapestry of colors presents a kaleidoscope of nature’s beauty. Enjoy the color explosion at these 10 top fall foliage hotspots.
Camden Hills State Park
Along Maine’s mid-coast just north of the town of Camden, this state park–the fifth largest in the country–features a backdrop of boats in Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay from the summits of Mount Battie and Mount Megunticook (accessible by car and foot trails), as well as a blaze of colors on the way up.
With a trifecta of stunning lakefront scenery, views of the White Mountains, and tons of migratory birds, the Lakes Region is magical in the fall. Whether kayaking or boating on Lake Winnipesaukee or Squam Lake, hiking the trails or stopping in the quaint towns of Sandwich or Meredith, visitors are surrounded by the colors of autumn.
Running the length of the state, Route 7 bisects the color explosion of the Green Mountains from Bennington to Burlington and beyond. From adventurous hiking trails to rural rambles, fertile river valleys to stunning views of the Green Mountains and charming New England towns to historic attractions, this 176-mile route is a fall cornucopia.
Situated in the northwest corner of the state, Mount Greylock offers some of the best fall foliage in Massachusetts. Take a forest hike, drive to the summit, or climb the 92-foot Veterans War Memorial Tower on the mountaintop to witness the impressive seasonal colors shining on 12,500-plus acres of forest below.
With such a small state, it’s no surprise that one of the best ways to enjoy the colors of the season is a scenic drive along Rhode Island’s popular Route 102. Running from Blackstone Valley in the north all the way to Wickford in South County, fall’s splendor will be alive in forests, parks, bikeways, gardens, and waterfalls.
Pachaug State Forest
With more than 26,000 acres and six towns within its borders, Pachaug State Forest gets visitors up close to fall with mountain trails, boardwalks over low-lying wetlands, natural rock mazes, and the Mount Misery overlook. Hike to the top (only 232 feet) for spectacular color and views that stretch for miles.
Whether it’s a raft trip down the Hudson River Gorge, hiking Mount Marcy (at 5,344 feet, the highest point in New York), driving some (or all) of the 170-mile Olympic Trail from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, or exploring the village of Lake Placid, the colors of the Adirondacks don’t disappoint.
Garrett Mountain Reservation
Part of the Watchung Mountains in northern New Jersey, this popular recreation area offers up lots of
lookout points from varied trails, including glimpses of the New York City skyline, and idyllic fall color reflections in Barbour Pond. Don’t miss the 19th-century Lambert Castle in the background.
Big Pocono State Park
Located at the top of Camelback Mountain, breathtaking views of the season’s bounty await at the summit, including panoramas of the popular Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. For something different, book a ride on the Pocono Express train excursion to take in all the beauty of
the northern Pocono Mountains.
State Parks North to South
Take a hayride at Lums Pond State Park to see leaves in a unique way. View stunning reflections of fall colors as you stroll along Pondside Trail at Killens Pond State Park. Or, be surrounded by the hues of the season as you paddle the bald cypress swamps at Trap Pond State Park.