The autumn is the perfect time of year to find new places to hike. It’s not too hot or too cold, and you can smell apple cider on the air as the leaves are turning. There’s nothing like wearing a comfy long-sleeved sweater and wrapping your hands around a warm, steaming mug. Pumpkin spice flavored everything is available at every coffee shop you visit, and the shop windows all display decorations for Thanksgiving and Halloween. The time of year can also be breathtakingly beautiful, and there are places to see all over the United States during the change of the seasons.
There are some hidden and little-known places you may not have heard about, scattered across the country and just waiting to surprise you with their scenery, delicious food and other special attributes. Here are 5 unbelievably beautiful places in the U.S. to go for a hike in the fall.
1. Iron & Big Ravine Trails, Bayfield, Wisconsin
Ask anyone in Wisconsin or the surrounding states about the place to be in the fall, and they will all tell you Bayfield, Wisconsin. Not only are there gorgeous hikes to be had in the region, you’ll really need the exercise, because the Bayfield Apple Festival happens there every year. Ever had a caramel-and-chocolate dipped apple covered in sprinkles? Well, this is your chance! You can fill up on all kinds of autumn-related sweets as you take in the beautiful fall colors while hiking on the nearby Iron Ridge or Big Ravine trail.
2. Superior Hiking Trail, North Shore, Minnesota
The gorgeous North Shore of Lake Superior could put any coastline in the world to shame. Its jagged cliffs, secluded beaches and clear blue water make it appealing throughout the year, but the fall colors really make the area stand out. The Superior Hiking Trail is one of Minnesota’s most famous, and you’ll even be able to stop at world-famous Betty’s Pies along the way for a slice of their caramel apple pie a la mode, which was invented in Duluth, Minnesota. Remember to try some of the locally brewed beer from places with quirky names like Castle Danger.
3. Mt. Agamenticus, York, Maine
This idyllic little town has some of the most jaw-dropping autumn colors in the entire country. A hike up Mt. Agamenticus may be on the more difficult side, but the view from the top is worth it. The town itself is a jewel in Maine’s coast, and you can finish your day with delicious lobster or clam chowder that’s second to none in the nation. Stephen King’s residence and the subject of many of his novels, Maine can also offer the kind of spooky, bone-chilling fun that will appeal to any Halloween aficionado.
4. Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
There is an old word that evokes the dark, brooding highlands of Scotland. That word is sublime, and Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park has this quality in spades. Autumn in Oregon is a bright exclamation against the dark, misty background of the pine-weary mountains. Like in Scotland, you will find the hiking trails punctuated with waterfalls and mysterious caves. The sense of reconnecting with nature is one of the most incredible you will experience in the U.S. Brave folks may even want to get in a little surfing down at Cannon Beach on the incredible Oregon coast.
5. Waimea, Big Island, Hawai’i
Hawai’i may not be the first thought in peoples’ minds when they are considering a fall vacation, but there is much to be said for the island even though it does not experience fall colors in the traditional sense. For those of you really looking to challenge your concept of autumn, consider hiking in Hawai’i during this time of year. You’ll find an incredible amount of variety on the Big Island in regards to climate, and in Waimea itself a kind of old-fashioned cowboy culture that hearkens back to earlier days. The Big Island is gorgeous and offers 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones, so you’ll be able to see all kinds of different colors during the fall on one of the most beautiful islands in the United States. Hungry? Head for a malasada at Tex’s once you’re all hiked out.
The United States is blessed with a cornucopia of wonderful vistas, hiking trails, and new kinds of mouth-watering cuisine that will make your autumn memorable. We are lucky enough to have all kinds of different climates in our country and as many different autumn experiences to go along with it. Whether your ideal hike is a peaceful mosey along a quiet trail in the wilderness to see the changing leaves or a challenging climb to the top of a waterfall for the perfect coastal view, this country really does have something for everyone.