The Most Scenic Hiking Trails in the U.S. for Fall Foliage

Enjoy your walk and some gorgeous leaf peeping along the way.

Acadia National Park
Photo: Courtesy of National Park Service

There's nothing quite like taking to the Great Outdoors for a hike. Not only does it allow you to get exercise and fresh air, but it also exposes you to the most serene sights on foot. And that's especially true during the fall, when leaf peeping season is at its prime and trees are splashed with hues of red, orange, and yellow. Here are 10 must-see hiking trails across the country that are worth experiencing—or planning a trip for—this autumn.

01 of 10

Appalachian Trail

Connecticut section of the Appalachian trail
Courtesy of Appalachian Trail Conservancy

If you want to explore the longest and one of the most scenic sights in the world, then you'll want to plan a hike through the Appalachian Trail during the fall. This trail stretches from Maine to Georgia and is filled with 2,193 miles of foliage through October each year.

02 of 10

Summerland Trail

Summerland Trail of Mount Rainer
Courtesy of

One of the most scenic places to see foliage in Washington State is at Mount Rainer, especially the park's Summerland Trail. The first 2 miles of the path include the most stunning views of foliage before snowfall each year.

03 of 10

The Ledges

Ledges Overlook at Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Courtesy of National Park Service

The Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio is great to visit during the fall, as it not only is painted with autumnal hues, but it is also surrounded by a plateau of rock formations for a one-of-a-kind hike through the 1.8-mile loop.

04 of 10

Stewart Falls

Stewart Falls at Utah State Park
Courtesy of Sarah Stempniak/

Northern Utah is home to Stewart Falls, which has one of the most popular waterfalls that stands at over 200 feet tall and pours out of two tiers and expansive landscapes for fall foliage. It's recommended to walk the 3.5-mile trail in mid-fall to immerse yourself in all of the views of the changing leaves.

05 of 10

Yosemite Falls Trail

Yosemite Falls Trail
Courtesy of Andres Rodriguez/

Yosemite Falls Trail is a historic hiking path in California that takes up to eight hours in total and spans 7 miles roundtrip. If you reach the top in the fall, you'll be able to see the lush landscape at the peak of tallest waterfall in the United States, which is 2,425 feet above the valley floor, before icy conditions hit.

06 of 10

Black Rock Mountain Tennessee Rock Trail

Black Rock Mountain State Park: Tennessee Rock Trail
Courtesy of

Filled with wildflowers and fall-centric foliage, Black Rock Mountain is Georgia's highest elevation state park, which allows you to take in the sweeping terrain. The Tennessee Rock Trail is no different, as this path in the park spans over 2 miles and holds plenty of areas to stop and observe the changing landscape in the fall.

07 of 10

South Valley Trail

South Valley Trail
Courtesy of Ken Morgan/

Nearly 10 miles long, the South Valley Trail in Virginia's Prince William Forest is perfect to hike in the fall as the trees near Quantico Creek begin getting hits of orange and yellow colors.

08 of 10

Waterrock Knob Trail

Waterrock Knob Trail
Courtesy of Mary Brosch/

The peak time to visit Waterrock Knob Trail is in October, as you will see deciduous trees change hues at the 439-foot elevation in this near-mile trek.

09 of 10

Precipice Trail

Acadia National Park
Courtesy of National Park Service

Elevation rises about 1,000 feet as you hike through Maine's Acadia National Park's Precipice Trail. You can take in the sunset views over the autumnal landscape once you reach the top of Champlain Mountain, which takes over three miles to hike roundtrip.

10 of 10

Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake at Glacier National Park
Courtesy of Jena Hart/

Hiking Montana's Avalanche Lake begins at Trail of the Cedars Trailhead and includes an accessible path to view ferns and mosses growing around the forest floor in the fall season. It is 4.5 miles roundtrip and elevates about 730 feet.

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