Early Fall Escapes: The Best US Hiking Trails to Embrace the Changing Season

As the summer heat gradually fades and leaves begin to change their colors, you can’t help but feel the need to go on a hike. But not just any hike. Ideally, it would be a hike where you can enjoy the vibrant fall hues while also exploring the great outdoors and breathing in the crisp air. That’s why we decided to guide you through some of the best US hiking trails where you can immerse yourself in fall’s magic and also experience the beauty of changing landscapes, creating unforgettable memories along the way.

Appalachian Trail


Stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail offers a vast network of hiking opportunities. In early fall, the Vermont section of the trail comes alive with a vibrant display of autumn colors. The trail takes you through picturesque valleys, alongside glistening rivers, and up to panoramic overlooks. Consider hiking a shorter section like the Stratton Mountain loop. Finally, you’ll be rewarded with stunning foliage and breathtaking views of the Green Mountains. The cool, crisp air and the sound of rustling leaves underfoot create a peaceful atmosphere. So you can’t help but feel a connection with nature and witness the enchantment of fall.

Maroon Bells’ US Hiking Trails

The Maroon Bells, located near Aspen, Colorado, are often dubbed the most photographed mountains in North America – and for a good reason. Early fall transforms the landscape into a masterpiece of golden aspens against the towering maroon-colored peaks. The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail offers an easy and accessible hike for all levels. All that while also giving you the chance to explore the picturesque fall foliage in Colorado. The trail leads you through alpine meadows, where the vibrant colors of autumn come to life against the backdrop of majestic mountains. As you hike, you’ll be captivated by the symphony of colors surrounding you, creating a visual feast for the senses.

Great Smoky Mountains


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling Tennessee and North Carolina, is a must-visit destination for fall hiking. With over 800 miles of trails, you’ll find endless opportunities to witness the magic of autumn. The Alum Cave Trail is known for its stunning views and rock formations. This is a popular choice for hikers seeking an early fall adventure amid the Appalachian wilderness. As you ascend, you’ll see some breathtaking sights of the colorful valley below. The cool mountain air and the fragrance of fall foliage create an invigorating and memorable hiking experience.

Acadia National Park’s US Hiking Trails

Acadia National Park, located along Maine’s rugged coastline, offers a diverse landscape with rocky shores, lush forests, and granite peaks. In early fall, the park’s trails become a canvas of warm autumn colors, making it an idyllic setting for a hiking getaway. The Jordan Pond Path is a family-friendly trail that leads you around the serene Jordan Pond, providing picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and fall foliage. The crisp air and the gentle rustling of leaves add to the tranquility of the hike, making it a perfect opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the changing season.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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