Why Leaf Peep when you can get a Full View?

By Tom Keer

Sep 11, 2014

Sometimes it’s great to do things up close and personal, and hiking through the mountain trails are a great way to see autumn’s changing leaves.

Sometimes it’s great to do things up close and personal, and hiking through the mountain trails are a great way to see autumn’s changing leaves.  But sometimes a close perspective means we lose our vision, sort of losing the ‘forest through the trees’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist).  Taking a few steps back gives that broader perspective, and looking at maples’ orange and reds, the yellows in the white birch, and the browns from the oaks might best been viewed from a boat.

Here are a handful of great places to take in the beautiful fall foliage by water:

Bar Harbor, Maine
The seaside town of Bar   Harbor is stunningly picturesque, with a rocky coastline and quaint harbor.  In the distance is AcadiaNational Park, and when the foliage is peak (from the end of September through mid October), the view is spectacular. Most of the gamefish have migrated, so sit back, relax, and take in the gorgeous view from your own boat. No worries if yours is in dry dock; there are a number of operations that offer organized cruises, charters, or rentals. And if you enjoy eating Maine lobster you’ll love Bar Harbor; as with many coastal communities the catch of the day is just that.

For More Information:  Maine.gov

Elk Lake, Torch Lake and the Rapid River, near Traverse City, Michigan
Just east of Traverse City are two popular lakes near the quaint town of Traverse City: ElkLake and TorchLake. There are numerous cottages dotting the banks and outstanding color. The little RapidRiver is nearby, too, and it’s an area where Ernest Hemingway camped as a boy. If you’re adventurous you’ll find that there are 14 lakes connected by rivers that are known as the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed. And that means there is no shortage of water to explore.

For More Information: Traversecity.com

Portland and Columbia River areas, Oregon
Two dominant areas to see the foliage are in the Portland and Columbia River areas. Here you’ll find a kayakers paradise of waterways and gorges all shrouded by colorful leaves. The WillametteValley is well known for its outstanding local vineyards, so dropping by for a glass of wine is always a good idea.

For More Information: Oregon Foliage

Columbia and Snake Rivers via paddlewheel cruise, Pacific Northwest
Here’s something a little different: a paddlewheeler cruise on the Columbia and SnakeRivers that stops at wineries, museums, and National Parks. The Queen of the West offers an eight-day cruise with staterooms, regional foods and wines, and outstanding views of autumns color from the top deck or even a stateroom.

What’s your favorite place to check out the colorful leaves?
Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.