It’s that time of year again: break out the sweaters and scarves! Dust off the slow cooker! Enjoy ALL things pumpkin spice! And there’s no better way to spend a crisp fall day than road-tripping through some beautiful locales amid gorgeous changing leaves. Check out these 4 great spots for leaf-peeping around the country.

Pioneer Valley, MA

New England is renowned for being a place where people flock to take in the autumnal colors. But rather than hitting up the more popular (and thus touristy) sites in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, try the Pioneer Valley. Nestled in Western Massachusetts, the rich cultural and intellectual component of the 5 College Consortium draws visitors. And the colors this time of year are spectacular.

Drive a loop from Northampton to South Hadley to Amherst and back again. Route 116 winds straight past Skinner State Park. Hike or drive to the summit of Mt. Holyoke (942 feet). Pack some snacks and take in the foliage from above. If you need a pit stop, choose from any of the local colleges to stretch your legs. And don’t forget to stop by Atkins Farm for apple cider donuts!

The Ozarks

Want to see fall leaves without the tourists? Check out Ozark National Park in Arkansas and Missouri for an off-the-beaten-path locale. A unique element of this location is that they have 2 peak viewing times. For an easy guide to the local leaf-peeping experience, pop into the Branson Welcome Center in Branson, MO. Or simply download any of their 4 self-guided tours.

Salt Lake City, UT 

You may not think “fall colors” as part of Salt Lake City, but the temperate autumn weather and birch leaves fluttering in the breeze will wow you. Big blue skies, towering mountains in the distance, and vibrant changing leaves make this a prime spot for a fall road trip.

And if you’d rather get out of the car, Salt Lake City offers hiking, mountain biking, and trail running all within 30 minutes of the town center. Grab coffee at local favorite and head into Millcreek Canyon. For a short hike, go up the Pipeline Trail. Or for a longer trek, head toward Desolation Lake. Eat at Log Haven for a cozy meal on your way back.


Oregon offers some spectacular fall tableaus. Check out the Mt. Hood Scenic Route for a terrific autumn road trip. Make sure to pull off at Mt. View Orchards for some fresh, seasonal fruit and snacks. Pack a picnic and throw down your blanket at Mirror Pond in Drake Park to enjoy lunch with a view!

Want to visit a place in your own neck of the woods? Check out this fall foliage predictive map to create your own road trip!

Travel hacks


about Hannah

Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.