Wiggle out of your sleeping bag, toss back the tent flap and take in the morning view. Sounds like a great fall morning in Oregon. The Smith River forms in the Coast Range and flows about 50 miles west, emptying into the Pacific Ocean just north of Reedsport, Oregon. With 10 campsites operated by the Bureau of Land Management, this peaceful, old-growth forest setting provides an ideal place to picnic, wade, fish and watch for bald eagles. Photo by Michael Campbell, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Hey, Texas! Get out to Guadalupe Mountains National Park before you miss the fall colors. McKittrick Canyon is one of the best places in the state to enjoy autumn’s brilliance as the leaves shift from green to spectacular shades of yellow and orange. Under a gorgeous blue sky, breathing in the fresh air, you’ll never want your walk in the woods to end. Photo by M. Haynie, National Park Service.
The paths are calling and you must go.
Share your hiking stories with us, visit a trail or plan your next adventure because it’s National Take a Hike Day!
Photo at Glacier National Park in Montana along the Highline Trail by Alyssa Herren (www.sharetheexperience.org).
You’ll need to make more than one visit if you really want to enjoy fall colors at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. Different trees peak at different times, so each journey into this gorgeous forest offers a unique experience. Throughout October and November, maples, oaks, gums and dogwoods put on a splendid show you don’t want to miss. Photo at Blue Hen Falls by Craig Walton (www.sharetheexperience.org).
October is a busy time at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Campgrounds fill up and Skyline Drive sees an increase in traffic. Everyone wants to marvel at the fall beauty of the mountains and forests. The park is over 100 miles long and spans a wide elevation range. Fall color conditions can vary dramatically from area to area. Weather affects the color from day to day and even hour to hour. If this feels frantic to you, don’t worry. Shenandoah has many trails and overlooks where you can settle down and find a peaceful moment, looking up at the streaming sunlight and the fluttering autumn leaves. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.
Fall weather frolic, anyone? Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colorado offers 10 miles of trails, golden fall colors and views of wildlife– such as leaping mule deer, bison, prairie dogs, migrating birds and coyotes. Chilly weather means it’s the time of year to dress warmly and take a stroll down your favorite path, listen to the rustling leaves and enjoy those fleeting moments of autumn. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is a place to let your spirit and feet run wild. From the hub of Rainier’s snow-capped peak, miles of trails spread out across the backcountry, offering endless adventures and stunning views. Like walking through rooms in nature’s mansion, you can stroll through an alpine meadow past a shimmering blue lake before hiking over a mountain pass into a deep evergreen forest. Every turn is a surprise and every moment is a treasure. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.
Fall is putting on a colorful show at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. The red leaves of the maple, the gold leaves of the aspen, and the green needles of the Jack and White pines, create a colorfully painted landscape. Autumn is a time of renewal and preparation for the cold days of winter to follow. Take a hike through the woods, or a ride along the shoreline to experience the beauty of the season, but don’t delay. Soon the leaves will fall and crackle below your feet, waiting to be covered with the coming snow. Photo by National Park Service.
Located in northern Arkansas, Buffalo National River has some of the most breathtaking scenery of the Ozark highlands. Rich forests, grassy meadows, tall cliffs and a clear, meandering river are all easily explored. A stunning variety of wildlife, trees that have weathered centuries and a complex cultural history all encourage visitors to reflect on their place in this landscape. Photographer Travis Coan is particularly drawn to Big Bluff. He said, “At over 550 feet tall, it is the tallest, sheer bluff face between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. On this late summer day, I arrived at the bluff a little before sunset and decided to take a 10 shot panorama framing the Buffalo River in the overhang of Big Bluff. I stayed till the sun set over the mountains and enjoyed every minute.” Photo courtesy of Travis Coan.
For waterfall lovers, there’s no better place than Yosemite National Park in California. The roar of the water, the feel of the mist and a glimpse of a rainbow give us a thrill and a sense of romance. The 317-foot tall Vernal Fall is a popular destination in the park, with views from the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail. Please use caution when hiking. The trails are steep and slippery. A safe visit is a fun visit. Photo courtesy of Mark Bouldoukian.