By AFAR Editors, September, 2020
From national and state parks to small towns, these destinations are the best places to see fall foliage.
Temperature, rainfall, elevation, and yes, fire, all influence the timing and location of fall foliage displays; check national park and state websites for peak color alerts and the best times to visit.
With the glowing golds of aspens and hickories, the burnt orange of sumac, and the vermilions and plums of oaks and maples, the turning of the leaves every autumn is one of nature’s most spectacular displays. Here is a guide to spots in the United States that offer particularly brilliant fall colors.
North Adams, Massachusetts
A small city in the Berkshires near the Vermont state line, North Adams is home to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), a 19th-century factory mill complex turned modern center for world-class art. But given the lush fall foliage, you will want to spend most of your time outdoors: Head to nearby Mount Greylock for hiking trails that lead to the highest point in Massachusetts. The summit, which you can also reach by car, features a 12,500-acre preserve, plus the 1930s Bascom Lodge for lunch, drinks, and even overnights.
The paved, 11.2-mile Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, meanwhile, follows the path of an old train line from Lanesborough to North Adams, providing views of the mountains, the Cheshire Reservoir, and the Hoosic River. There’s also the Cascades Trail, which makes for a fairly gentle walk close to picturesque downtown North Adams—with the payoff of a refreshing waterfall.
Where to stay when visiting North Adams
Check into Tourists, which was opened in 2018 by John Stirratt—the bassist with the Chicago alt rock group Wilco.