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Lesser-known leaf-peeping spots you don’t want to miss on your travels

The Northeastern part of the U.S. is not the only place to enjoy fall colors! Yes, Maine, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and all the rest are great! Really great! Leaf peeping in the Northeast needs to be on your “bucket list.” No doubt about that! But if you can’t make that trip this year, consider lesser-known, but stunning places like these:

Pine Creek Gorge. Photo by kinglear55, Flickr

Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania

Also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, it offers views that live up to its “Grand” name. Take Route 660 along the eastern rim toward Leonard Harrison State Park and then Route 362 toward Colton Point State Park. Hiking and biking trails will allow you to stretch your legs along the way, and you’ll enjoy eye-catching fall colors at every turn!

Coopers Rock State Forest. Photo by Michael Matti, Flickr

Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia

All along the Cheat River Gorge you’ll find amazing, panoramic vistas of beautiful fall colors. There are many hiking trails to try, but don’t miss Virgin Hemlock Trail. It will take you through a 300-year-old grove of hemlock trees. Visit historic downtown Morgantown and then relax as you sample local wines or apple pie moonshine at the Forks of Cheat Wine and Distillery.

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Take Route 41 along the peninsula, through the “Tree Tunnel” that leads into Copper Harbor. This area offers everything from fishing and kayaking, to golfing and bird watching. Nearby Brockway Mountain Drive won’t disappoint, either – it’s the highest paved road between the Alleghenies and the Rockies. At the top you’ll get a stunning view of Lake Superior.

Fall in the Ozarks. Photo Credit: Arkansas.com

Ozark Mountains, Missouri

Take Scenic Highway 19 south from Salem to travel through the Ozark National Scenic Riverway to Eminence. There you can explore caves, natural springs, and historic sites along with the gorgeous colors of fall. The area also offers horseback riding, canoeing, and much more.

Heritage Highway. Photo by JeromeG111, Flickr

Heritage Highway, Nebraska

Highway 136 boasts one of the best scenic drives through the Cornhusker State. Begin your trip in Edison and as you travel west you’ll see rivers, forests, and prairies – all in the colors of fall. Plan to stop in some of the unique small towns along the way. The trip will eventually bring you to Brownville – small town America at its best. Take a short drive south to Indian Cave State Park to relax and revel in the wonderful colors of autumn.

Ridgway, Colorado

Take State Highway 62 southwest from Ridgway. You’ll cross the Dallas Divide (8970-ft. elevation) and find numerous hiking trails if you choose to see the colors up close. At Placerville, take Highway 145 south, past Telluride, to Lizard Head Pass (the mountain that inspired the familiar Coors logo). Continue to Rico, a former mining town with historical buildings and sites that will take you back in time. Enjoy the brilliant fall foliage all along the way.

Cascade Mountains, Oregon

Take the Aufderheide Scenic Byway through the foothills of the Cascades. You’re sure to see magnificent colors, waterfalls, and beautiful, old-growth forests along the route. You can book a rafting or fishing trip, or simply take one of the many trails in the area to see breathtaking scenery all around.

Your turn! Do you have a lesser-known place featuring all the colors of autumn? Tell us! We’ll keep your secret. Promise!

Related:

Fall colors state-by-state

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Roxann Kienzle
1 month ago

Our leaf-peeping place is Spearfish Canyon outside of Spearfish, SD. Beautiful colors and a nice bike (both motor and non-motor) ride.

Bill
1 month ago

The PA Grand Canyon is definitely a great place for the leaf lookers.

Beverley Fitch
1 month ago

Talimena drive in Okla and ends in Mena Ark.

Mary
1 month ago

Northern MN, WI and MI are also beautiful in the fall with many sugar maple trees.

Bill
1 month ago

The shawnee state forest in southern Ohio is a best kept secret

Joel F Murphy
1 month ago

I agree with the places you mentioned are good leaf-peeping spots but you failed to mention the #1 leaf-peeping State with fantastic color NEW HAMPSHIRE. Some of the best leaf-peeping in the northeast is right here in New Hampshire.

Bob Weinfurt
1 month ago
Reply to  Joel F Murphy

It mentioned in the very beginning that “all the rest are great, really great”. I live in northeastern NY but have also seen the fall foliage in NH and a few other parts of the country. It won’t be long now.