8 National Parks to Visit to Enjoy the Fall Foliage

If you didn’t quite manage to visit all the national parks you wanted to see this year before summer came to an end, we have excellent news for you. Fall is actually one of the best times of year to see these iconic places in all their glory. Not only is the oppressive summer heat a thing of the past for now, but this is the ideal time to see the foliage of fall at its very best.

Of course, any national park would be a great place to visit this fall. However, the following are the parks we think do the most justice to the majesty and beauty of the season. Make sure you add one or more of them to your fall itinerary.
  1. Glacier National Park – Montana
Although it’s worth noting that visitors to Glacier during the fall will need to come prepared to be more self-sufficient, there are lots of perks to coming this time of year. To begin with, there are far fewer crowds. Plus, the indigenous wildlife is more active, giving you a better chance of being treated to a sighting. To see the foliage at its finest, visit the west side of the park starting in mid-September when the leaves first start to change. The east side follows suit in late September to early October.
  1. Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado
Wide open spaces, jewel-like blue skies, and very active wildlife make this park a stunner any time of the year. However, if you’re there to see the trees, the changes start at higher elevations in late August and work their way down to the lower elevations by the middle of October. October and November are also the ideal time to check out the bighorn sheep and their annual head-butting contests.
  1. Yosemite National Park – California
Much of Yosemite’s indigenous flora – including the black oaks and Pacific dogwoods – is at its fall best around the middle of October. However, you can visit through the season until the first frosts make an appearance in early December and still expect to see this park at its most majestic. Just be aware that snows may close the park intermittently throughout the season.

  1. Zion National Park – Utah
Not only is Zion Utah’s very first national park, but it features a wide range of elevations. This makes it a great place to see fall at its finest. Visit the highest elevations starting in September and see the lowlands through the season until November. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
  1. Acadia National Park – Maine
Not only is Acadia one of the best places in New England to see the area’s fall colors at their most beautiful, but Maine’s National Park Service maintains a fall color report to help you make visiting at the very best time a simple process. Acadia is also an excellent place to be if you’re a birdwatcher. Get ready to ooh and ahh over sea ducks, warblers, migrating birds of prey, and more.
  1. Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming
If you love the fiery oranges and eye-popping yellows the most, when it comes to fall, you won’t want to miss a chance to see Grand Teton in all its glory. It’s notoriously difficult to predict peak season in the Tetons. However, late September and early to middle October are historically good times to visit. These are great times to see the native elk population in action as well.
  1. Mt. Rainier National Park – Washington
The sight of one of the world’s most awe-inspiring volcanoes is not to be missed when it’s set off to perfection by a complete palette of fall colors. To see it at its very best, make sure you schedule your visit between the middle of October or during the month of November.

  1. Shenandoah National Park – Virginia
According to the National Park Service, late October is the best time to visit this fantastically peaceful park. Many visitors choose to do so via a jaunt down Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive will take you past a full 105 miles of the park, providing some truly spectacular vistas from more than 75 overlooks along the way. If driving isn’t your thing, you can also see this park in all its glory via a soothing hike or guided horseback ride. Explore the possibilities today!