Ten Must Visit Fall Foliage Destinations around the Globe
A recent Trip Advisor survey revealed that viewing fall foliage is a favourite activity for 43 per cent of American travellers. “Leaf-peeping is an exciting and affordable way for travellers to enjoy the great outdoors and some of the spectacular scenery that is unique to the U.S.” said Karen Drake, Senior Director of Communications for TripAdvisor. Crunchy mornings cool evenings and crisp winds – yes, we are talking about the time of the year when the temperature is comfortable and the tourists are also largely gone from many of the most popular vacation destinations across the globe. It’s autumn (fall) in the northern hemisphere. What better way to welcome the fall than by being surrounded by beautiful foliage while sipping a glass of fine red wine! Autumn transforms forests, parks and wilderness areas around the world into a brilliant spectrum of colour. Each broadleaf tree has its own fall colours. Maples have the most extravagantly brilliant crimson red, glowing yellows and pumpkin oranges; oaks have dignified russets, reds and browns, beeches turn a light tan while dogwoods turn burgundy and purple. Aspens, cottonwoods, poplars, ashes and larches change from greens to golden yellows. From sizzling shades of red and orange to golden hues of yellow and gold, the display is astounding. Autumn means there are ample opportunities for leaf-peeping in many places around the world. and here’s presenting to you the ten “must visit” fall foliage destinations – it’s the leaf-peeping season.
New England, USA
In many countries, only a particular area, stretch of a driveway or a particular mountain offers you a picture perfect autumn foliage riot of colour. But New England is different. The all six states of New England region becomes a dreamscape during autumn. A visit to the East Coast states of New England (Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island) is highly recommended during late September to November for the best autumn foliage display in the world. During autumn, the foliage in these parts puts on a firework like display of colours that will mesmerize you for days. Another picture-perfect New England destination is Western Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills at the foot of the Berkshire Mountains. Here you’ll see some maple, oak, aspen, beech and birch trees exploding in warm reds, yellows and oranges. In The Berkshires the leaf-peeping season usually begins October 1. The two top-notch routes to take to witness the foliage colour are the Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway – a 35-mile stretch of Route 20 in the southern Berkshires and the popular Mohawk Trail – that runs across the northern stretch of the mountains.
Adirondacks, New York, USA
Starting from mid-September, the Adirondack Region boasts the longest fall foliage season in northeast USA. Autumn is the perfect time to visit this region to enjoy the rich shades of the season along the mountain ranges and tranquil lakes. Take a walk in the apple orchards and glowing forests with golden aspen, maple and birch. You may even enjoy an evening cruise on a scenic Adirondack lake. Blue Mountain Lake and Lake Placid are among the favourites in many travellers’ list.
Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Cradled in the foothill region of western North Carolina, Asheville is a fabulous location for leaf-peeping. They are called the Blue Ridge Mountains, but in fall, Asheville is truly awe-inspiring in shades of orange, red and yellow. The city with a cosy small-town feel has become an important fall foliage destination. This is not just for the leaves but also for the celebration of the area’s arts, culture, beer and bluegrass music that takes place around this time of the year. No matter when you plan an autumn visit, either in October or early November, take a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to find the best colours. Seeing the colour show from a raft on the river is also an option. Take a calm float trip down the French Broad River through the Biltmore Estate. The mix of things to see and do is very appealing. This is especially true for travellers looking for an alternative to New England.
Nova Scotia, Canada
Nova Scotia, the Eastern-most province of Canada, offers breath-taking shores, towering cliffs, long peaceful beaches, picturesque bays and rewards fall colour seekers in a remarkably well. Fiery reds, oranges, crimsons and gold blanket the highlands and reach their peak during the first or second week of October. From Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail to the southern tip of Nova Scotia along the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores, Mother Nature puts on quite a show everywhere. After the bright days of summer have faded, Nova Scotia becomes even more vibrant with the changing colours of the fall leaves. Once there, be sure to taste Nova Scotia wine. This place is even more fun if you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, whale and bird watching.
Lost Maples Natural Area, Texas
Fall foliage or the “changing of the leaves” is often related to the eastern region of the United States. Cacti are thought to be the main source of green in Texas. It should not be forgotten that Texas is in fact home to the Lost Maples State Natural Area, which welcomes a beautiful flush every autumn, courtesy the relatively uncommon Uvalde Bigtooth Maples, whose reddish blush is particularly spectacular from mid-October through mid-November. Lost Maples was opened to the public in 1979 and encompasses over 2,000 acres on the Sabinal River and draws over 200,000 visitors annually. The changing of the leaves generally lasts from three to four weeks. Visitors can enjoy camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, bird-watching and more amidst fall’s fiery colours.
Kyoto Imperial Park, Japan
In Japan, the hunt for nature’s vibrant colour ends in a visual feast during November and early December. Colourful leaves or ‘Koyo’, signal more than just the arrival of shorter days and colder nights in Japan. The dazzling shades of the radiant Japanese maple glaze the landscape with a glorious mixture of lush greens, burnt gold and fiery reds brighten up cities like Kyoto. Momijigari or red leaf hunting attracts innumerable visitors every year. Many tour packages are designed around this time of the year to give visitors a visual treat that magnifies the beauty of the Kyoto Imperial Park or Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. It is a National Garden that stretches 1.3 km from north to south and 0.7 km from east to west. Housing the Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) the garden contains thousands of gingko trees and other native trees that change colour during autumn.
Aspen, Colorado, USA
Starting from late September through mid-October this mountain town shines bright with its golden aspen trees. Visit the Maroon Bells to see the purple-and-white-streaked mountains and enjoy the vibrant yellow and bold oranges.
Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia, USA
This is a 105 mile scenic stretch through Shenandoah National Park in Northern Virginia. The entire stretch has around 75 watches with mountain views. October is the magic month to visit this region when the sumac, locust and sassafras trees transform to yellow and scarlet oak, red maple and sweet gum trees explode into flaming reds. Once you reach the end of the Skyline Drive, take the Blue Ridge Parkway that winds through Southern Virginia into North Carolina that would lead you to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The yellow poplar, hickory trees, orange sassafras, maples, dogwoods, sourwoods and black gums will treat you with a kaleidoscope of colours throughout October and November.
Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA
Michigan is a state located in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan with its seven million acres of forest gives amazing fall colours. The different species of trees change their colours from green to red, orange, gold and yellow trees and the riot of colours is complete with the contrasting landscape of deep blue waters of the three lakes.
Loire Valley, France
As if France wasn’t delightful enough, seeing this country’s cities and villages blazing with autumn colours is simply overwhelming. Once the stomping grounds of royalties and nobles, Loire valley presents a sea of beautiful golden, fiery reds and exciting oranges in the autumn months. No wonder that the Valley has been dubbed France’s Hudson Valley for its New England quality foliage. The winding Loire River, rolling hillsides and colourful landscape ensure that this area is one of the most beautiful places to experience foliage in the world. This is also the grape harvest season and there are numerous festivals and activities around the country. The famed regional white and red wines get harvested and crushed during these days of autumn. Late October is a sight to behold in this region.
During September, October and November — as the nights get longer and cooler — chlorophyll production slows down, unmasking the colours produced by other chemicals in the plants. Slowly and steadily the leafy trees surrender their green mantle to the bright yellows and crimsons that signal the end of summer and the start of leaf-peeping season.