Autumn Trips with Smallish Crowds
The enchantment of fall is best experienced amidst its vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange and where you can kick up the fallen leaves before they become mulch.
For those seeking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in the tranquility of autumn, there are places where the fall foliage is as breathtaking as it is serene. Here are a few destinations for viewing fall colors, emphasizing lesser-known parks and scenic routes, and recommending quaint accommodations to enhance your experience.
1. Letchworth State Park, New York: Often overshadowed by the famous Adirondacks, Letchworth State Park is a treasure trove of autumn colors. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” its deep gorges and lush forests offer a spectacular palette of reds, oranges, and yellows. The best views are along the Gorge Trail, which offers stunning vistas without the throngs of tourists. Stay: The charming Letchworth Farm Bed & Breakfast offers cozy accommodations and picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia: This scenic drive is famous for its fall foliage, but there are still stretches where peace and solitude can be found, especially on weekdays. The section near Asheville, NC, is particularly stunning. Pull-offs like Glassmine Falls Overlook provide secluded spots for leaf-peeping. Stay: The quaint Applewood Manor in Asheville combines comfort with easy access to the parkway.
3. Door County, Wisconsin: Door County’s peninsula, surrounded by Lake Michigan, is a haven for autumn colors. The area's state parks, like Peninsula State Park, are less crowded and offer a blend of golden hues and waterfront views. Stay: Stay at the White Gull Inn for a historic and intimate setting, complete with homemade breakfasts.
4. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico: This lesser-known route near Taos loops through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The drive is lined with aspens turning brilliant yellow, offering a unique southwestern fall experience. Stay: The Adobe & Stars Bed and Breakfast in Taos provides a comfortable base with stunning mountain views.
5. Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada: This vast park is a mosaic of maple, oak, and aspen trees. The Western Uplands Trail offers solitude and an unspoiled autumn spectacle. Stay: The cozy Arowhon Pines inside the park offers rustic yet elegant cabins nestled in the wilderness.
Experiencing fall’s colors in these lesser-known locales not only provides a respite from crowds but also offers a more intimate connection with nature’s autumn display. By choosing the roads less traveled and staying in charming, local accommodations, you can fully immerse yourself in the season's beauty and tranquility. Remember, the best fall experiences are often found off the beaten path.