Visiting U.S. National Parks during the fall offers a magical experience. The vibrant autumn foliage transforms the landscapes into a stunning tapestry of reds, oranges, and golds. Cooler temperatures provide comfortable hiking conditions, and the reduced crowds allow for a more serene connection with nature. Wildlife is also active during this season, making it an ideal time for animal enthusiasts. Fall in National Parks offers a unique and tranquil escape into the beauty of the great outdoors.
10. Yosemite National Park
Thankfully, in the fall, the overwhelming crowds of summer have dissipated so that the park can be seen and enjoyed.
Yosemite should be on your itinerary this fall if you’re looking for a place with a surprising amount of fall color and consistently pleasant weather.
9. Zion National Park
In the summer, this southwestern gem is notorious for its crowds, but in the fall, the crowds thin out, and you’re left with a more beautiful and serene park to explore.
It’s a good thing that fall comes late to Zion because the leaves often don’t start turning colors until late October, giving you more time to wait for the crowds to clear. The scattered maple trees in the park turn deep red, while the cottonwoods turn bright yellow.
8. Glacier National Park
Other park overlooks pale in comparison to the breathtaking views in this mountain park. In autumn, the park is bathed in brilliant shades of yellow and gold thanks to the aspen and larch-covered forests.
7. Great Basin National Park
This alpine beauty lies hidden in the lonely desert of central Nevada. High above the parched desert floor, you’ll find green aspen and ponderosa pine forests filled with wildlife. Along the way, you’ll enter ancestral land, a rocky area that is home to prehistoric bristlecone pines that are still alive today.
6. Shenandoah National Park
The magnificent Appalachian Mountains are celebrated in Shenandoah National Park. Much like the Great Smoky Mountains, here you have the opportunity to see what this breathtakingly beautiful region of the country looked like before it was logged, developed, and perhaps even spoiled. No question, the park is home to some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the entire world.
5. Grand Teton National Park
The fall color on the Grand Teton is spectacular. On the shores of the park’s clear lakes and streams and on the mountainsides, aspens turn brilliant shades of yellow. You may also spot golden willows and bright yellow cottonwoods along the park’s many bodies of water.
4. Voyageurs National Park
This place is all about solitude and beauty, and there is never a shortage of either, especially in the fall. Autumn shows its friendly side in this northern Minnesota paradise. The hustle and bustle of summer fishing and houseboating has receded into the distance, and the park’s shoreline and trails glow with spectacular autumn reds, yellows, and oranges.
3. Acadia National Park
Walk through the dense deciduous trees nearby to escape the crowds and lose yourself in this park that looks like a picture from an autumn postcard. The intense hues here will blow you away and challenge your current fall color record holder.
2. Rocky Mountain National Park
There are many reasons to fall in love with the Rocky Mountains, right here in the center of North America’s most famous mountain range. The elk begin to honk in the valleys in the fall as they fight for control of their herds to begin the rutting season.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Which park is the most beautiful to visit in the fall has never really been up for debate. Of all 61 national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park undoubtedly offers the most stunning fall foliage. The park is home to some of the last old-growth forests in Appalachia.