American Link | October 2, 2015
America's Most Scenic Fall Drives
October is a great time to look forward to all that fall has to offer. From the brisk air to the beauty of changing leaves, there’s no better way to experience the season then hitting the road to find the best of Mother Nature’s fiery displays.
Route 6, Pennsylvania
US Route 6, near the north edge of Pennsylvania, is scenic in any seasons however fall is almost unreal. The route is highly rural and mountainous, consisting of the prized Allegheny National Forest and Reservoir. Revel in the spectacular hardwood foliage and abundance of wildlife, including beers and bobcats.
Stop at Jakes Rock Overlook (Forest Road 492 via the Longhouse National Scenic Byway) for hiking, rock climbing and photo perfect panoramic views of the Allegheny Reservoir and Kinzua Dam.
Note: Visit the string of small communities, such as Warren or Coudersport, along the way for unique shops, studios, museums and galleries. Color usually peaks in early/mid October.
Copper Harbor, Michigan
The autumn grandeur of the Copper Harbor area rivals all others in the country. The stunning color comes from an array of deciduous trees blended with a large number of coniferous species. The famous “Tree Tunnel” coming into Copper Harbor, (US-41) is literally a rich canopy of unbelievable tones.
Take the Brockway Mountain Drive, 735 feet above Copper Harbor where the mountains meet Lake Superior. Simply astonishing! Snap photos while sitting on top of the world to know you weren’t dreaming! Catch a sunset while the fall leaves are painted their brightest.
Located on the Keweenaw Peninsula colors will peak later, usually by two weeks or more. Find updated fall foliage information online.
Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
Take Interstate 90 toward Snoqualmie Pass through the Cascade Mountain Range for gorgeous color! Then follow the radiant route at the Preston exit which winds along the river to Fall City. Here find one of the states most magnificent waterfalls - Snoqualmie Falls.
Afterwards get back on interstate 90 and continue east a few miles at Snoqualmie Pass West. Here, if you are up for it, an eight-mile Granite Mountain hike awaits you. This trek features panoramic spectacular views of the colorful landscape, a beautiful alpine lake with an almost 4,000 foot elevation gain. Color peaks in October.
Meander your way through windy, picturesque roads to the heart of Litchfield County. Here you will find a junction with the rural community of New Preston, at the edge of a 40-foot waterfall on the Aspetuck River.
Then, just north of New Preston, you’ll find Lake Waramaug and Mount Tom State Park, both ablaze with double color as reflected by the water.
Foliage peaks in October or November. Check the state’s website, daily updates as the season nears.
Maple and Mountains Tour, Maine
Here is one for all the true leaf-seeking aficionados. The trek begins in Naples, passing through many towns before ending in Fryeburg. Along the way, guests can visit Sebago Lake State Park in Casco, ascend Pleasant Mountain, and explore Grafton Notch State Park in Newry.
The road passes through the White Mountain National Forest to Evans Notch for spectacular mountain views and the offsetting of pine and spruce by beech and maples bursting with deep color. Foliage expected to peak early to mid October. Find foliage information at maine.gov
Note: Stop in Naples for turn-of-the-century architecture and West Paris where visitors can see locally mined amethyst, tourmaline, and topaz.
Coastal Byway, Wisconsin
The Coastal Byway moves like ribbon back and forth for a glorious 66 miles! Start your adventure with a stunning 50 foot view above the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal overlooking the Lake Michigan and Green Bay coastlines.
Continue your drive on state highway 57 to meet colorful vineyards, quaint villages and waterfront towns, antique shops, culinary treats and park retreats. The final stretch, highway 42, zigzags through a majestic woodlands filled with maple and beech trees and ends at the Northport Ferry dock. Color estimated to peak mid October, but check Wisconsin’s travel site before you hit the road!
Note: Hop on a ferry ride to Washington Island to view a mirror of optimal color from the water.
Feather River Scenic Byway, California
The Golden State shows off its true color this time of year. To take in the most color eruption in the valley, drive along the Feather River Scenic Byway for 130 miles. Begin in the Sacramento Valley, traveling through the Sierra Nevadas and end your journey in the Great Basin. Leaves peak mid to late October.
Note: Stop off at Plumas-Eureka State Park for great photos and to learn about the early days of gold mining.
Columbia River Highway, Oregon
The first scenic drive in America to earn a National Historic Landmark title was built in 1913. The emphasis here is on the natural beauty by winding the road to the top of 900-foot cliffs overlooking the river and valley below. Your cruise will allow you blissful hues matched in beauty by deep gorges, waterfalls and colorful wildflowers. Color may peak mid to late October.
Note: Grab your camera and hike the 620-foot-tall Multnomah Falls, found along the route, 35 minutes outside of Portland.
Credits // Author: Wendi Wendt