Highway landscape in autumn. Image credit ozkan ulucam via Shutterstock

6 Incredibly Scenic Fall Drives in the US

With the first days of fall come cool, crisp air and the warm-toned autumn leaves you've been dreaming of all year. It's no secret many travelers are willing to search for the most picturesque hikes and breathtaking views.

With that said, you may also want to drive along the countryside and enjoy the fall color palette. You can also explore the food and lodgings each town has to offer. 

Fortunately, there are several incredibly scenic fall drives and locations with stunning autumnal foliage scattered across the US. These drives are perfect for road trips, exploring, camping, and weekend getaways.

Fort Mountain, Northwest Georgia

Fall color on curvy road over Fort Mountain in Northwest Georgia. Image credit Jeff Kinsey via Shutterstock

Located in Northwest Georgia, Fort Mountain National Park is a popular destination favored by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.

Drive along Highway 52 through the Cohutta Wilderness and admire the beauty of the Chattahoochee National Forest and a number of charming small towns. The road also goes through the town of Chatsworth, where you'll find Fort Mountain State Park and access to numerous campsites, hiking trails, and even a stunning stone fire tower.

Fall is also the perfect time for apple-picking, so stop by Georgia's apple capital, Ellijay. You'll find plenty of jams and jellies, as well as pies and sweet treats to bring home from your journey.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

Autumn day on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Linn Cove Viaduct. Image credit Craig Zerbe via Shutterstock

Blue Ridge Parkway, beginning in Virginia and ending in North Carolina, is the perfect location for an autumn road trip. Along the road, you'll make your way through a number of forests which are home to all different kinds of trees. This makes for an incredibly colorful scene during fall, with shades ranging from bright yellows to deep purples. 

The Parkway is America's longest linear park and runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountains. It also goes through 29 counties within Virginia and North Carolina, and you can stop for anything from hiking trails, history and culture visits, and campgrounds.

Also, the astonishing scenes and animal life are perfect if you're interested in photography. 

Lake Placid, New York

Mountain Village in Autumn. Lake Placid, New York. Image credit Albert Pego via Shutterstock

Lake Placid is a charming small town in New York and is located directly next to a lake of the same name. Driving along the roads of this tiny village, you'll enjoy the fresh mountain air and the majestic view of rolling hills and glistening water.

The fall colors make this location even more attractive as the warm-toned foliage reflects off the surface of the water for a breathtaking sight. Stroll through the town to enjoy biking and hiking trails, go for a paddle on the lake, or visit local restaurants and shops for a fun weekend getaway.

Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, California

Fall Foliage at the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Image credit Sekar B via Shutterstock

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway begins near North Fork, California and goes on for nearly a hundred miles through the Sierra National Forest. The ride also reveals some of the most beautiful sights of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The drive itself takes about five hours and ends near Oakhurst, California. You can stop through several small towns and stay a while, enjoying the views, hikes, and recreation events. Or, pay a visit to Yosemite National Park and hike along remarkable trails with astonishing views of cliffs, glaciers, valleys, and waterfalls.

Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway, Maine

Rangeley Lake Scenic Byway, West Maine, USA. Image credit Sean Xu via Shutterstock

Rangeley Lake is the tenth largest lake in Maine, and you'll get a perfect view of it driving along the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway. 52 miles long, you can enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour journey, or spend a day visiting the small towns in Maine. Enjoy a day of bicycling, boating, kayaking, hiking through richly wooded forests, and simply taking in all the striking fall foliage.

The route of the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway begins at the top of the Appalachian Mountains and then drops below the rolling mountains and hills. You'll observe the show-stopping views of lakes and islands on the same day you'll experience the curvy roads and vivid orange, yellow, and red mountainsides.

Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

Scenic Million dollar highway in San Juan mountains. Image credit SNEHIT PHOTO via Shutterstock

As the name would suggest, the Million Dollar Highway boats a million-dollar view. In fact, you'll appreciate the sight of three mountain passes: Coal Bank, Molas, and Red Mountain. The highway itself is about 25 miles long, but Colorado is one of the top cities to visit in the fall because of its festivals and weekend activities.

The road, part of the San Juan Skyway, stretches from Silverton and Ouray and takes about 40 minutes to drive. The winding roads will take you from view to view. You can also make your way to the various natural hot springs scattered throughout the route and visit a few hiking trails.

As a side note, remember to use caution when making your way along this highway. The roads have narrow lanes, lack guardrails, and stretch above steep cliffs. Plus, the weather can be unpredictable and make the ride more dangerous. On a good day, the scenery and drive are magnificent.

Fallin' For Scenic Drives

Just like the leaves, these scenic drives will have you falling for the autumn weather. So, grab a cozy jacket, and hop in the car. Don't forget to bring your camera to snap a pic or two!

And if you're on the road on the hunt for some scenery, consider stopping off at one of the top seven national parks in the US for fall colors.

Have you driven by any of these scenic views in the US? Share in the comments below!


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