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Top 10 drives to see fall colors in the U.S

50 shades of fall

Every year, nature welcomes us with a new season of change. As we unpack the coats and scarves for autumn and come together with family and friends to kick off the holiday months, we also take to the road to witness what this season has to offer: the phenomenal changing of leaves. Fall hard for the 10 drives throughout the country.

Aspen, Colorado

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: USDAgov via Flickr

Named after the tree, the city of Aspen comes to life with autumnal colors during the fall. It doesn’t matter which road you choose, for they are all equipped with washes of yellows and oranges, but if we must suggest one, take Maroon Creek Road toward the Maroon Bells for amazing photo ops.


Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: jasonb42882 via Flickr

Part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park unfurls its brightly clad foliage to reveal fall at its finest. Skyline Drive whisks you to the crest of the mountaintops so you can see the stunning backdrop of Virginia countryside.


Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: Alex G. via Flickr

Sprawled along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains set the stage for a dramatic show of foliage. Small towns dot the region, creating a picturesque scene. Meander through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via an 11-mile, one-way loop road around Cades Cove.


Highway 395, California

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: mikebaird via Flickr

Perhaps the longest drive on the list, with every mile revealing a new shade of autumn, Highway 395 in the Eastern Sierra in California includes well-known winter and spring destinations like Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain. But it’s the autumn season in Mono County that reveals the colors of the cottonwood, quaking aspen and willow trees.


Moosehead Lake, Maine

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: Dana Moos via Flickr

The largest lake in Maine also boasts one of the grandest displays of different-colored trees. Take a scenic drive along the lake shore, soaking in the warm colors of fall.


Leavenworth, Washington

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: jc.winkler via Flickr

Among 700 miles of trails and dozens of campgrounds, this is the perfect place to pitch a tent for a weekend getaway, and take a road trip through the luscious fall foliage. We recommend driving through the Okanagan-Wenatchee National Forest.


Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: McD22 via Flickr

Meander along the Columbia River Highway beneath plumes of golden leaves on one of Oregon’s most scenic drives. The historic road reveals a waterfall, scenic point or other ethereal autumn moment seemingly around every bend. Be sure to take a walk to Multnomah Falls during your trip for more photo-friendly moments.


Rushford Lake, New York

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: Freaktography via Flickr

Though Hillcrest Road along Rushford Lake in New York is a spectacular drive, seeing the area by boat is even more extravagant. Double up on changing colors as they reflect off the lake, in a romantic setting for two.


Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: Bosc d'Anjou via Flickr

Autumn in Stowe eclipses all other seasons for its dramatic change in scenery in a short time. Take a drive on Mountain Road when the trees are at their peak, but hurry: The leaves change in a matter of two weeks.


Sturbridge, Massachusetts

50 shades of fall
Photo credit: terryballard via Flickr

There’s nothing like a quaint, nostalgic town that completely changes its look in the fall. Sturbridge, Massachusetts, is one of those places. Located in the center of the state, where I-90 and I-84 meet, roll along historical points throughout the village full of vibrant foliage. It’s the perfect escape during the autumn months.

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