From seeing the Fall leaves in Acadia National Park, to taking in the rugged vistas of the Smoky Mountains, these Autumnal drives will help you see some of America’s most enviable foliage.
The Big Q: What are you waiting for?
The Big A: Grab your hiking boots, your leather jacket, your camera, and jump in the car.
Gold Coast, Michigan
300 miles of Michigan coastline await you at the Gold Coast. As you wind your way along the scenic coast, do not skimp on the pit stops, as there is plenty to do along your route. Stop in Holland, an homage to Dutch culture and home to Windmill Island. Visit the DeZwaan windmill and enjoy the breweries and bakeries, most of which are run by Dutch immigrants. And there are plenty of breweries lining the Gold Coast, so once you are done driving for the day, consider indulging a local craft beer. The hikes along the Gold Coast are majestic.
Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Arguably the most classic fall foliage drive in New England, Kancamagus Highway winds through the White Mountains for 30 miles. You can get out of your car and hike on the trails accessible right from the road. The Kanc, as it is called likely because of leaf-peeping out-of-towners pronouncing “Kancamagus” incorrectly, is a jumping off point for hundreds of miles of great hiking.
The Newfound Gap, Tennessee
You will get views of the Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the Smoky Mountains as you cruise down Highway 441. The stretch of road that runs from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC is known as the Newfound Gap, but it is part of Highway 441. On your drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, stop off to hike some of the Appalachian Trail. You even take in the autumn leaves on horseback.
Park Loop Road, Maine
Park Loop Road is set in Acadia National Park, and unsurprisingly, fall is the perfect time to take in Acadia. The 27-mile Park Loop Road starts at Hulls Cove Visitor Center and delivers striking views of the park, the changing forest colors, and the Maine coastline. Majority of the road is 1-way, so be aware of that when you are planning your drive back. The road was constructed over the course of more than 30 yrs, from the 1920s to the 1950s.
North Shore Scenic Drive, Minnesota
Start at Canal Park in Duluth and work your way along the coast of Lake Superior to Grand Portage. Not only will you pass birch, pine, and towering aspen trees, but the hiking trails along North Shore Scenic Drive will lead you to waterfalls made from streams and rivers flooding into Lake Superior. The regal coastline is worth a visit in the Summer too, but seeing it create a colorful juxtaposition against the autumn leaves is a treat. Stop by Two Harbors Lighthouse, which is the only operating lighthouse in the state.
Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
Mohawk Trail is the pride of Western Mass in the fall because avid foliage fans come from all over the country to take in this Berkshires drive. Part of Route 2, the must-see part of the Mohawk Trail is the 37 miles from North Adams to Greenfield. This trail has been drawing carloads of sightseers since Y 1914. Perhaps the most famed parts of the drive are the Hairpin Turn and the view from the summit of Hoosac Mountain. While you are in Western Mass, spend a night or 2 relaxing at a rustic inn in the Berkshires.
“Perhaps an Inn’s and home’s interiors/ exteriors should not go unnoticed either. The smell of burning leaves or sitting in front of wood burning fireplaces which we all enjoyed as kids as our parents enjoyed their favorite drinks and evening chats. Or, just the changing of the weather, the brisk of the evening air and the darkening of the evening skies where the sweaters came out and the blankets at night were taken from the closets or dresser draws to keep warm as the weather began to become cooler and smuggling was the desire to capture the warmth of the bed.
“Yes, the memories of today and prior childhood are part of evening thoughts and our well- remembered family environments. Then homework was a family discipline as we prepared for our studies the next day. Today’s its our computers is what we toil over. So, perhaps the fresh air and scenery are part of one of our favorite settings but the interiors of our homes or the traveling Inns are also the real part of Fall as the heat of the Summer passes and we prepare ourselves of the colder, much shorter daylight days bringing forth the darkening nights of winter,” says editorial contributor Bruce WD Barren
Have a healthy weekend, enjoy the drive and Keep the Faith!