Every fall, deciduous trees throughout the northern hemisphere go through an incredible metamorphosis. As the leaves begin to die, they often change from their green summer color to vibrant golds, purples, reds, oranges, and yellows. It is one of our favorite times of year! You can see the leaves change just about anywhere from September through November, but there are some places that stand out.
Aspen trees themselves are beautiful in the fall, with their leaves turning a bright yellow color. So it goes without saying that a city named after this splendid tree is probably a great place to see the leaves fall. The leaf changing season in Aspen is brief due to its high altitude. The first week of October is the best time to visit to view the changing of the leaves.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
New England is a great place to see the leaves change, and The Berkshires in Massachusetts is no exception. It’s about a three hour drive from Boston and from the end of September through to the end of October, it’s one of the best places to see the leaves change. Maples, birches, oaks, and more provide beautiful splashes of fall colors. The Berkshires is an artistic hub as well, so while you’re in the area, visit some of the incredible local art galleries!
Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding area is another excellent place to see the leaves changing. This place is beautiful year round, but in the fall, you’ll see hickory, chestnut, buckeye, and magnolia trees fully displaying their changing leaves.
All the way across the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find some of the world’s most amazing fall leaf viewing spots in Japan. Outside of Kyoto, Arashiyama is one of the most scenic places for seeing the leaves change. Even better, you don’t have to drive to see it! You can take a train ride, lasting about 20 minutes, from the city of Kyoto to Arashiyama. Here you’ll see mountain views splashed with different colored trees. The best time to visit is late November and early December.
Alberta’s Rocky Mountains
In Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, fall tends to come pretty early due to being further north and higher in elevation. In Jasper National Park, leaves begin to change at the end of August, while in Banff, the changing leaves are in full swing by September and early October. Trees like aspens and larches create veins of red and yellow tucked into what are otherwise deep green mountainsides. Lake Louise and Johnston’s Canyon are also lovely places to visit in the fall. Want some more Canadian leaf viewing inspiration? Check out 10 Of The Best Places In Canada To See The Leaves Change.
Molly Stark Byway, Vermont
Maples are one of our favorite types of tree. Depending on the type of maple, you could see leaves that are red, gold, or yellow. The Molly Stark Byway in Vermont is the place to go to see maple trees changing. This byway runs between Brattleboro and Bennington and passes through numerous little towns. These towns often have fun places to visit too, like restaurants, museums, and shops.
Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
No matter how hard we try, we keep getting drawn back to the Northeast United States, and it’s really no wonder. It seems to be one of the world’s best places to see the leaves change. Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania is no exception. Not only is this a great place to see the leaves change during the latter two weeks of October, but it’s also the spot where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776. The whole area is great for people who love history and changing leaves.
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, Arizona
If you’re late to the leaf watching party, visiting Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness in Arizona is probably your best bet. It’s one of the latest leaf changing places in the United States. Peak foliage viewing time runs from the end of November through the middle of December. There are numerous hiking trails in the region. Be warned though, as with any wilderness area, the wildlife can be wild! Javelinas, which are essentially wild boars, can be especially dangerous if you cross paths.
So much of our list has been focused on Canada and the United States, but in Europe, the city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands is one of the best places to see the leaves change. About 21% of the city is covered by trees. Simply walking around the city in the autumn is all you have to do to enjoy the fall leaves here.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Capping off our list is one of the most amazing national parks on Earth: Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, USA. From September through the middle of OCtober, this park, which is near to but less busy than Yellowstone National Park, is one of the west’s best places to see the leaves changing. You’ll see snow capped mountains, evergreen forests, and changing aspens, willows, and cottonwood trees. Yellow is the most common leaf color here.