Summer green becomes autumn orange in the blink of an eye at Denali National Park in Alaska. Termination dust – what Alaskans call the high altitude snow that signals the end of summer – coats mountains and sprinkles onto valleys. The red leaves of blueberry bushes carpet the landscape and offer bears a last dessert before hibernation. It’s a feast for the eyes. Photo from a previous fall by Tim Rains, National Park Service.
The first touches of fall are in the air at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. While most of the trees in this Colorado park are still green, snow showers dusted the Sangre de Cristo Mountains over the weekend, and the highest aspen groves are beginning to turn gold. This photo was taken south of the dunes looking toward California Peak at 13,855 feet. Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.
What a view! The blue-green waters of Lake Superior stretch out from the gray cliffs at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. Lake Superior is the largest, coldest and most pristine of the Great Lakes. It has the largest surface of any freshwater lake on earth and it is the third largest lake by volume. Storms, snow, fog, humidity, temperatures and wind generated from the lake impact every park ecosystem, causing dramatic seasonal changes. Photo by Gregory Lloyd (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee protects the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. The area boasts miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs, is rich with natural and historic features, and provides visitors with a wide range of outdoor recreational activities including hunting, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding and whitewater paddling. This time of year, you can also enjoy the stunning fall colors. Photo by National Park Service.
If you’re looking for fall colors on public lands, Blue Hen Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park has to be on the list. An easy drive from Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, the falls are one of the most popular spots in the park and a great place to #OptOutside. Decked in orange and yellow leaves, the forest around the picturesque falls is peaceful and welcoming. Photo by Jennifer Lhost (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Guadalupe Mountains National Park has the four highest peaks in Texas, an ancient fossil reef, desert, dunes, canyons, wildlife and a touch of fall color. In McKittrick Canyon, the maples are putting on quite a show this autumn. With lots of trails for hiking and horseback riding, you’ll find the perfect place for your fall pictures. Photo by National Park Service.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border is a wonderland of forested mountains, tumbling waterfalls, Native American and Colonial historic sites, bountiful wildlife and dynamic rivers and streams. Recreation opportunities include boating, biking, fishing, hunting, hiking and enjoying the views along scenic roadways. An easy drive from New York City and Philadelphia, the park is a popular year round getaway. Here, it’s showing a spectrum of lovely fall colors. Photo by National Park Service.
The fall colors are showing at Blue Lake in North Cascades National Park in Washington. Photographer Albert Yang described the scene he captured: “The lake was so still I almost felt like I had to hold my breath to embrace it. I was searching for fall colors and these larch trees were just gorgeous. It was my first time exploring this area and I know I will return many, many times in the future.” Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.
With snow already accumulating on the Sangre de Cristo mountains, fall is coming to an end at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. The cottonwoods along Medano Creek are losing their golden leaves and frost greets the morning. Soon, the tan dunes will put on their blanket of winter white. Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.
There’s a lot to do at Congaree National Park in South Carolina. Whether you prefer paddling Cedar Creek, roughing it on a backcountry camping trip, fishing in oxbow lake, having a picnic, joining a ranger-led “Owl Prowl” or just taking a short stroll on the boardwalk, the park is ready to welcome you. Photo by National Park Service.