At long last, the fall season has arrived! Now is the time to dig the winter coats out of the closet, pick up an RV rental, and head off into the wild to enjoy a little cool-weather camping.
If you’re anything like our tribe of RV lovers, you plan your autumn weekends around hunting down the best fall color views. In our humble opinion, there is no better place for leaf-peeping than in the many national parks scattered across the U.S. and Canada. Here are some of the best national parks to visit in the fall to see fall foliage.
The Best National Parks to Visit in the Fall
While any national park can be a great place to visit in the fall, if you’re looking to see fall colors, here are five parks we recommend.
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park is a kaleidoscope of color all year round. Various shades of red, brown, pink, salmon, gold, and white are on constant display due to the Navajo sandstone that makes up the park. The changing of the leaves gives the park an extra splash of color, especially during the first two weeks of October.
Things to Do at Zion National Park in the Fall
Zion is a magical place all year, but this is especially true in the fall season. Some top things to do in the park during autumn include:
Hike The Narrows
Watch the Fall Foliage
Explore Zion Canyon
Canyon Overlook Trail
Observation Point Trail
Camp Under the Stars
Remember to check for any seasonal closures or trail conditions before your visit, and always practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the park's natural beauty. Fall is a fantastic time to experience Zion National Park, with cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and stunning autumn scenery.
Insider Tip: While you can see tons of great color from the Valley floor, we recommend taking in the bird’s-eye view from the top of Angel’s landing.
Photo Credit: Zion National Park
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park in Maine is one of the best places in the country to catch fall colors and the state takes that honor very seriously. In fact, they come out with a weekly fall foliage report so you can know exactly when and where to catch the highlights.
Things to Do at Acadia National Park in the Fall
There is no shortage of things to do at Acadia National Park during autumn. Try some of these activities:
Hike the Trails
Drive the Park Loop Road
Climb Cadillac Mountain
Visit Jordan Pond
Explore Carriage Roads
Enjoy Fall Festivals
Visit the Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center
Campfires and Stargazing
Paddle the Lakes and Pond
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Be sure to check the weather conditions and park alerts, as some areas and facilities may close in the fall due to weather or seasonal changes. Acadia National Park in the fall offers a mix of outdoor adventure, scenic beauty, and cultural experiences that are sure to create lasting memories.
Insider Tip: For some of the best Autumn vistas, we recommend taking a drive along the 27-mile scenic loop in Acadia National Park that begins at Hulls Cove Visitors Center.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Autumn is pure magic in Grand Teton National Park with its large stands of cottonwoods, aspens, and willows. Be on the lookout for wildlife as well — It’s deer and elk mating season and they are en masse in the park, taking in the fall colors along with you!
Things to Do at Grand Teton National Park in the Fall
Grand Teton National Park is a site to behold, especially during fall! Check out these fun activities for your road trip to Grand Teton:
Remember to dress in layers, as the temperatures can vary greatly in the fall, and be prepared for cooler evenings. Whether you're seeking outdoor adventure, wildlife encounters, or simply a peaceful retreat in nature, Grand Teton National Park in the fall offers an array of activities to enjoy the beauty of this iconic destination.
Insider Tip: Head to Oxbow Bend – with the Snake River in the foreground and Mt. Moran behind, the yellow and oranges of fall sure pop!
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
In Banff National Park, spring and summer are dominated by the blues and greens of its crystalline lakes and evergreen trees, while winter is a whitewash of heavy snow. But for a brief, two-week period near the very end of September, Mother Nature sneaks in to crown the area with an unforgettable splash of color.
Things to Do in Banff National Park in the Fall
Banff National Park in Alberta is known for its beauty in all seasons. Fall is no exception. Here are several activities the whole family can do in Banff this autumn:
Make sure to check the weather and road conditions, as some areas may start experiencing snowfall in the fall. Dress warmly, and be prepared for changing weather conditions, as mountain weather can be unpredictable. Banff National Park in the fall offers a serene and colorful escape into the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Insider Tip: Fall trees dot the mountains behind Lake Louise like multi-colored sprinkles on a Pop-Tart. It’s our favorite place in the park for taking in the season.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an extraordinary variety of deciduous trees, including yellow birch, mountain maple, American beech, and pin cherry. At the height of Autumn – usually mid to late October – visitors will see the full gambit of reds, oranges, yellows, and even purples throughout the park.
Things to Do in Smoky Mountains National Park
The Smoky Mountains offer plenty for visitors to do while they explore the national park, including:
Before you visit, check the park's website for current conditions, road closures, and safety guidelines. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a wide range of activities for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and outdoor adventurers to enjoy throughout the year.
Insider Tip: The best fall color drives include the Foothills Parkway, Blue Ridge Parkway and Clingmans Dome Road (the highest point in Tennessee).
Wherever you’re heading to get your fall color fix at one of these best national parks to visit in the fall, let us take you there in a Cruise America RV rental. Tag @CruiseAmericaRV on Instagram with your best fall color pics for your chance to be featured on our social pages!