Pumpkin spice lattes, leaves changing colors, colder weather, and Thanksgiving aren’t the only things people should look forward to this fall. Hiking should be one of them, too! Although many people prefer trekking the trails while everything is in full bloom in the spring, or conquering the freezing peaks during winter, hiking during autumn is an experience unlike any other. Start checking off your fall trails with this ultimate hiking bucket list in the US for 2023.
Acadia National Park, Maine
One of the nation’s most notable and visited national parks in the Northeast US, Acadia National Park in Maine offers its visitors numerous worthwhile sights and experiences. But in the autumn, the scenery is more breathtaking as the trees around the park change their leaves from green to fiery red, yellow, and orange. In some parts of the trail, hikers can see the beautiful blend of foliage besides the usual scenic views Acadia and its footpaths offer.
In addition, visitors and hikers can also walk along the rock shoreline of the Atlantic with the park’s Ocean Path Trail. The pathway covers the entire shoreline, making it a breathtaking 2.2-mile nature walk with several access points for people to see the view. Acadia also has the South Bubble’s glacial erratic that people can reach by taking the near-vertical climbs of the park’s Champlain Mountain’s Precipice Trail.
Letchworth State Park, New York
Although a handful of notable nature parks offer beautiful sights and views all year round, some places turn into a gem once fall comes. Letchworth State Park in New York is one of them. The 17-mile-long park that follows the Genesee is at its best from early to mid-October, delighting visitors and hikers with a full-blown autumn magnificence.
The known Grand Canyon of the East boasts more than 23 hiking trails and several bird-watching spots, including nearby hotels, cabins, and campgrounds for those wanting to spend more than a day to experience Letchworth. Letchworth State Park has an entrance and parking fee of $10 per vehicle and additional payments for camping.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Fall hiking in Colorado could be a great outdoor trip for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts as the state’s famous aspen trees change colors from green to gold. One of the best places to see them in action during a hike is inside Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hikers and visitors can enjoy the scenic autumn views of the aspen trees surrounded by breathtaking snow-capped peaks. In addition, the park offers hiking trails that everyone can trek, a perfect outdoor adventure for the family this fall. But for those looking for a bit more challenge, doing the 10-mile round-trip hike to the top of Mt. Ida can do the trick.
Bushkill Falls, Pennsylvania
Bushkill Falls, a series of eight waterfalls in Pennsylvania, is a destination that more people should consider for a scenic autumn hike. It reaches through a two-mile stretch of well-maintained trail that offers a perfect view of red-yellow foliage. In addition, Bushkill Falls is less than two hours away from other parks and hiking trails near Philadelphia.
Although it has moderate hiking difficulty, amateur hikers and many outdoor lovers can still navigate the trek within three hours. There are also three shorter and easier trails that visitors can cover in less than half an hour.
Maroon Bells, Colorado
Fall hiking in Maroon Bells is one of the best places for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the autumn scenery of Aspen. Known as the most photographed mountains in the US, Maroon Bells are 14,000-foot bell-shaped peaks with a picturesque reflective lake ten miles west of Aspen. Due to its popularity, visitors and hikers crowd to its valleys and ranges all year round.
The Maroon Bells trails are the heaviest-used recreation areas and hiking trails in Colorado, making them difficult to access during busy seasons. Despite that, it’s still one of the best places to hike in the United States. Although there are always huge numbers of hikers visiting Maroon Bells, people can still enjoy the peaks and valleys by hiking either of the five trails within the area: Maroon Lake, The Scenic Loop, Maroon Creek, The Crater Lake, and The Willow Lake. They have different hiking difficulties, trail types, and additional recreational activities while trekking.
- The Maroon Lake Trail has iconic views of the Maroon Bells and is less than a mile long. Newbie hikers can finish the trail and even fish at the lake. Families can also bring picnic lunches and enjoy the scenery of Aspen groves and meadows.
- The Scenic Loop Trail, the most popular of the five Maroon Bells trails, has the most incredible views of the peaks and valleys in its three-mile lollipop loop trail. It takes hikers along the Maroon Creek cascades and ends at the west end of Maroon Lake.
- The Maroon Creek Trail is an easy one-way trail spanning two to three and a half miles. It’s the less crowded option and is nearer to the water.
- A moderate-difficulty hike, the Crater Lake Trail leads hikers up through meadows, aspen forests, and scree fields. Unlike the other three, the path can be extremely rocky.
- The Willow Lake Trail is the most difficult trail at Maroon Bells and is around 13 miles round trip. The path is demanding, with numerous forks, steep roads, and more thunderstorm exposure. Due to this, many hikers taking it spend a night at established campsites to finish the trail.
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