Destination SpotlightCategory|

It’s Peak Leaf Peeping Season at These North American Parks

lake mountains fall foliage Glacier National Park

Photo Credit: Krishna.Wu/Shutterstock

Fall is in full swing, making it the perfect time to head outdoors to enjoy crisp air, the subtle scents of the harvest season, and the beautiful array of foliage turning vibrant yellows, oranges and reds. Looking to make the most of leaf peeping season? Then head to one of these scenic North American parks to see Mother Nature at its finest.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Peak foliage: Mid-to-Late September

Aspen trees, lake, fall foliage, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado leaf peeping season
Photo Credit: Bob Pool/Shutterstock

The high elevation of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park makes it one of the first spots in North America to see color changes. The park’s Aspen trees begin to turn a golden hue in late August, and travelers to this region can enjoy a colorful array of foliage throughout September while driving and hiking along the stunning Trail Ridge Road.

Where to stay: Enjoy views of the Rocky Mountains from Hampton Inn by Hilton Longmont, located just a short distance from the park, as well as nearby hotspots like Boulder and Estes Park.

Glacier National Park, Montana & Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Peak foliage: Late September – Early October

Autumn view, Glacier National Park, Montana, United States leaf peeping season
Photo Credit: Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Glacier National Park boasts epic snow-capped mountains, crystal lakes brimming with colorful rocks, scenic drives, and more, all along Montana’s northern border. The park’s offerings are vast, with many of the breathtaking sights taking you north into Alberta, Canada, where the park becomes Waterton Lakes National Park. As the leaves begin to change colors the abundant wildlife in this area becomes more active, making it the perfect park to visit for those looking to take in unforgettable sights.

Where to stay: The gateway town of Kalispell allows easy access to parks in both the U.S. and Canada. Homewood Suites by Hilton Kalispell offers a complimentary breakfast, giving you all the fuel you need for a day full of adventure.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

Peak foliage: Mid-October

autumn colours on the winding roads of Cape Breton's Cabot Trail leaf peeping season
Photo Credit: cworthy/Shutterstock

Leaf peepers flock to New England come autumn, turning normally peaceful locales such as Maine’s Acadia National Park into tourist Meccas. But head a little farther north into Nova Scotia and you’ll find a bounty of harvest hues on display along the colorful, coastal curves of the Cabot Trail. From fishing villages to waterfalls, there’s so much to see on this epic drive through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Where to stay: The waterfront town of Sydney makes for an ideal home base. Stay within walking distance of many local attractions, such as the world’s largest fiddle, at Hampton Inn by Hilton Sydney.

New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia

Peak foliage: Mid-to-Late October

bridge, fall foliage, New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia leaf peeping season
Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

America’s newest national park is New River Gorge in West Virginia. Here you’ll find sweeping overlooks, historic bridges, and forested hills brimming with spectacular fall colors. Kayak along the namesake New River or test your bravery during the park’s Bridge Day, held on October 15, which allows thrill seekers to base jump into the massive gorge.

Where to stay: Unwind with your fellow travelers at the conveniently located Tru by Hilton Beckley, which boasts hip amenities, including a game area, pool table, fitness room, and a 24/7 market.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Peak foliage: Late October

fall foliage, overlook, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio leaf peeping season
Photo Credit: Kenneth Keifer/Shutterstock

When it comes to underrated locales for taking in vibrant fall colors, Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a technicolor array of shades throughout the park’s lush forest. Hike through dense woodlands to Brandywine Falls, take a bike ride along miles of trails, and hop aboard the historic Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to soak up the scenery.

Where to stay: Situated between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is just a short drive from big city offerings. After a day spent exploring the park, relax at Hilton Cleveland Downtown, located in the heart of the city with a top-floor bar featuring views of Lake Erie.