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12 Top Drives To Admire Fall Foliage

Lake in Fall

As the leaves begin to change, change up your weekend routine by planning a road trip to see some of America’s most beautiful autumn landscapes. From weekend trips to afternoon drives, we’ve researched the entire United States and have come up with our top 12 list of fall foliage routes you won’t want to miss.

Skyline Drive

Stretching throughout Virginia’s gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, this famous drive has been touted as one of America’s greatest. A 105 mile drive from Front Royal, VA to Charlottesville, VA, you’ll circle the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley that are rich with deep blues and vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds.  

Lake Superior Route


The
Lake Superior Route is a 1,300 mile road that stretches all the way around Lake Superior—crossing through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario, CA. Peak leaf season usually falls in the last week in September through the first week in October and can be admired every mile. There are also many historic lighthouses, quaint towns, and tons of wildlife to enjoy during your drive.

Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway Loop

This 83 mile loop through New Mexico might surprise you with the golden and orange hues and mountainous views. With black bear, eagles, and elk roaming about, you’ll have a lot to look out for.

Connecticut River Blueway Driving Tour

If you have more of a road trip in mind instead of a weekend drive, this 600 mile stretch of road will keep you busy with stunning vistas and vibrant fall foliage. You’ll travel through different parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. This tour is set to start and end in Boston, so don’t forget to stop by for some of their famous food and beer when you’re finished or before you get going!

Olympic Penninsula

Start in Seattle and travel this 350 mile trail to glimpse wildlife, lakes, snowy mountain peaks, and changing leaves. This is one gorgeous west coast ride that is worth the gas money.

Moosehead Lake

This is a rather quick trip around Maine’s biggest lake. At just a little over 70 miles, you can put the windows down, take in the picturesque lake, and admire the bright red, orange, and yellow autumn leaves. The view along the Canadian border is nothing short of stunning.

Lake Placid

Don’t leave New York out of your leaf peeping adventure this fall. Tucked into the Adirondacks, you’ll be awestruck as you drive down highway 86 through the pristine wilderness. With misty mornings on the lake, abundant wildlife, and bright foliage, you will hardly believe your eyes with all of the beauty on this 45 mile drive.

The Driftless Region

In Wisconsin, 158 miles of gorgeous leaves and landscape await. With maple, hickory, and sumac trees at their peak, you’ll want to pull over every mile or so to snap some photos. And with the bucolic backdrop of farm houses and silos, it’s truly a peaceful and beautiful drive. You’ll see a wide range of beauty waiting for you no matter the time of year.

Sierras

Enjoy fall in California by exploring June Lake Loop, Lundy Canyon, Rock Creek, and Mammoth Lakes. This region of the United States features high Sierra mountain peaks dusted in snow and fiery fall foliage that reflects off the water in serene blue lakes.

West Elk Loop Scenic & Historic Byway

Spanning several national parks, this Colorado route is brimming with the bright yellow leaves of aspen trees and thriving wildlife. At 205 miles, you can do the whole thing in five or six hours or plan to stop and camp over the weekend to extend your fall fling.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This 49 mile drive will take you from the Tennessee/North Carolina border around the Cades Cove loop and Newfound Gap. Along with the bright trees, you can enjoy waterfalls, mountain views, and much more.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Our last pick takes us back to Virginia and North Carolina for a 500 mile drive of pure heaven. On this route, you’ll be travel through the country and Appalachia—giving you the opportunity to stop for farm fresh food and scenic photoshoots. You’ll enjoy hiking opportunities, historic sites, and much more.

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