There’s no bad time to visit a national park but in autumn, many of our 63 parks come to life in the air and on the ground. To see the finest fall colors, national parks offer a nature opportunity to bathe in the warm glow of yellow, or-ange, and red leaves. Here are the 5 best national parks to visit in the fall.
New River Gorge
America’s newest national park is a wonderland in fall and a bastion of outdoor activity, especially for anglers looking to go fishing in national parks! This chasm of autumnal color is one of the best national parks for fall foliage best enjoyed from the seat of a mountain bike, the comfort of a raft, or on foot in hiking boots.
Great Smokey Mountains
From foothills to mountaintops, the most visited park in America is also one of the best national parks for fall foliage thanks to cascading waves of amber red, golden yellow, majestic orange, and even some purple mountain majesties if you’re lucky!
Acadia National Park
This popular park is beautiful year round but if you want fall colors, fewer crowds, and fishing in national parks, it’s tough to beat Acadia in autumn. What makes this one of the best national parks to visit in the fall is how the colors on the trees strike a vibrant contrast to the ocean blue, natural tones of the rocks along the cliffs, and the red and white lighthouse.
National parks in the fall often conjure images of trees bursting with color above and crunchy leaves underfoot, but Arches offers something different. When it comes to fall colors and national parks, Arches delivers 365 days a year be-cause the sandstone and mudstone are permanently coated in hues of orange and red but on fall evening during golden hour before sunset, these iconic rock formations become saturated with the deep, evocative colors of autumn.
Grand Tetons & Yellowstone
These wondrous peaks serve as the perfect backdrop for photos of the best national parks for fall foliage. When paired with Yellowstone a short drive north, you have two of the best national parks to visit in the fall because the crowds are thinner, the trees more yellow than green, and the bison look gorgeous set against the fall color.
Here’s what you need to know about getting a fishing license in national parks this fall!
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion